The weather is a critical factor for any pilot. For today we were planning ILS and VOR approaches in a controlled airspace.
The forecast was pretty good and even improving: almost no wind, ceiling 4300, visibility 10 miles or more. After all preparations and a preflight check the wind became 190, 4 kt, but we planned runway 36 (the only one with ILS in that airport). It meant that we would have a tailwind, and more likely that all other traffic would use 18, and ILS would not be an option.
So, the only option for a precision approach (the one with a glideslope) could be a GPS approach with LPV, but the airplane we took does not have WAAS. It meant that we just cannot fly any precision approach.
Fortunately the airplane with WAAS was still available, and we decided to prepare a GPS approach. Instrument-wise there is almost no difference between ILS and GPS with a glideslope.
Meanwhile, the weather decided against us again, and the ceiling became 800. Definitely these were not proper conditions for a training flight, especially for the first precision approach ever for me. So we are waiting for appropriate conditions. Sometimes it just happens, and a proper decision is a part of good ADM.
Today it is not possible to fly. The weather radar shows dense clouds, and for me it means that I should wait for a better weather.
Basically the weather radar shows water droplets concentration. Red areas mean very high amount of water, which usually means that there is a thunderstorm in that area. Then from higher to lower is yellow, green, blue and violet.
Today we can see something like this:
I hope that it will be better by tomorrow morning.
I supposed to fly early in the morning, but it did not happen: the airplane did not have enough fuel, and the fuel service is usually available only in the afternoon. Anyway I needed some more sleep.
I took off in the afternoon. During the flight I noticed that the ground speed is way less that the airspeed. It means that I had a strong headwind, which means that I would fly faster on my way back. Today I chose a direct route from one point to another.
I found one more abandoned aerodrome on my way and made some photos.
The wind was strong, but there were not so much crosswind and no gusts as well, so the landing was smooth.
Today was really hot. I suppose that it was up to 40 degrees celsius in a sunny areas, so I experienced a longer takeoff run and a slower climb: hot air really affects the airplane performance.
On the way back I landed on some airfield where I owed a landing fee previous time, and finally paid it today. I felt some gusts, so it was safer to approach with a higher speed: the airplane was more stable.
When I returned to the home base the wind became almost calm, and the landing was very easy and smooth. Very nice flight!
I’m just a little white rain cloud Hovering under the honey tree I’m only a little black rain cloud Pay no attention to me…
Sometimes the weather does not want to cooperate at all. Today one of these rain clouds just did not allow me to not pay attention.
The clouds are gorgeous, but they can be scary. Particularly this one looks not so dangerous, but in reality it is huge and very turbulent. I was thinking about circumnavigating it, but it would require flying almost half of the country, so I decided to go back. Anyway now I am flying just for sightseeing and meeting necessary flight time minimums, so it does not matter a lot where to fly.
Today I had a chance to overfly a very beautiful landscape. Sometimes flights over that area are restricted, but today it was not a case, and I made some beautiful photos.
The clouds were forming very beautiful patterns. There were mainly cumulus clouds because of high thermal activity – usually cumulus are the most beautiful but the most dangerous clouds.
According to the weather forecast for today something huge, scary and dangerous was expected from the west in the afternoon, so I decided to return to the home base before it would come there.
In the sky the power of nature can be felt much better. It is something really powerful, real and beautiful, and sometimes you feel like a child facing these primeval, savage forces. And they are still charming and marvelous.
I always wanted to see the mountains and lakes near the Austrian border. It really worths to see them, they are incredible. The problem is that you should climb pretty high, up to 6000 feet, but today’s weather allowed to do it.
I bet that glider pilots would be jealous about my flight today. There were very wide and strong thermal flows, that weather is ideal for gliders. Even in Cessna I could turn a little bit and get +200 feet without any power change. I wonder whether it is possible to stay in that flow in Cessna, probably it is, but of course I did not check it 🙂
One more impression for me today. In the pattern at České Budějovice I was the second after a small jet. Actually it’s the first time when I see a jet flying out of a large international airport.
I saw incredible landscapes today. I cannot find proper words to describe them, so I am just attaching some photos. Sorry for my camera, some day I will replace it.
After about 2-months break I continue my practice. The school allowed me to fly only with a safety pilot. We made a normal take-off, standard pattern, and on a base leg we caught very strong downdraft. I started preparing to a go-around procedure, but on final everything was OK, and I made a normal full stop landing. Safety pilot did not want to take off again today, and so did I. It’s safer to wait for a better weather.
Finally I did it! To be honest, I was worrying that I would have to return to Moscow before finishing my PPL, because I did not have any possibility to stay here after the 1st of July. It is much easier to take an exam right after finishing the course because of fresh skills, and I highly desired to do it before leaving.
I got an unexpected route via Prague CTR, and I had never flown it before. During my training I was flying through another CTR in Karlovy Vary, and it happened only two times. Besides, today I had an airplane that I had flown only once on my long cross-country.
On practice everything was not so scary as it sounds. I flew as usual, I contacted a controller, and he approved my request for flying my route. After leaving a CTR I contacted an ATC one more time and reported leaving a controlled area.
I think that the most difficult part was the weather. Thermal activity was pretty strong causing a bumpy ride. I saw hanggliders on some aerodrome, and they were climbed very fast. In those conditions the approach was a little tricky: for example, I experienced altitude changing from about -5 to +5 and vise versa just in some seconds without any power adjustment. At least it was not boring 🙂
I am very happy that I made emergency landings without any stress, I was just calculating a new path and turning at a proper point. During engine-out procedures there is no more feeling that I fall like a rock.
Thus, now I have almost 60 hours and an EASA PPL. I am accepting congratulations 🙂
The summer is coming, and it means that we will see thunderstorms. I need two more hours to complete my training, and today these hours are going to fly by. I came to the aerodrome and saw a dark cloud accompanied by thunder. I have to be in Moscow soon, and extending my stay is not an option; therefore all I can do is just wait and hope for better weather…
Fortunately that front didn’t last long, and I could finish my flight lessons. There was one more cloud not too far from the aerodrome, but it was far enough to let me fly.
The sky was incredible, especially closer to sunset, and it was a pleasure to see.
I flew at LKMO today which has a much better runway compared to LKRO where I used to practice. The runway is shorter, but it is much flatter and wider, with much clearer borders, and I don’t have to cut my downwind turn due to the village below. The wind also helped today, thus my landings were better.
Today I completed all required flight hours for my PPL, so tomorrow I am going to CAA.
How I used to fly short cross-countries? Take off, climb through rollercoaster bumpiness, turn to the desired course, straight and level, adjust trim and RPM. Then suddenly see +5 on the VSI, correct, trim. Then -5 on the VSI. Adjust, straight and level again, then suddenly left wing goes up. Quickly wings level, trim. And near the forest behind again +5. During those flights I really did not totally understand what is the purpose of trim in C150. And the flight control is not the only task: I have to follow a chart, apply a wind correction and notice time. Spring in Europe can be challenging for a student pilot.
Today everything is totally different. Thermal activity is weak, and at least I can fly straight and level without applying flight controls all the time. An airplane can actually fly very stable without any pilot action. Relax. I even have plenty of time for observing pretty castles below: there are plenty of them in Czech. Early morning is a perfect time for training.
Today the weather is gloomy with wet, cold and misty precipitation. Yesterday it even snowed! There are heavy gray clouds. Everything is so dark and dull.
But there is an advantage though: absolutely no wind. Ceiling is higher than pattern altitude, and it is the perfect weather for practice landings! At least I feel a proper height for flare. The plane is not ballooning. The landings are smooth!
Possibly there is one more factor: recently I watched tons of movies about landing techniques. And I feel much more self confident and less nervous. I apply controls more smoothly. I even have time to communicate now. I suppose that those calm winds and stable air helps very much.
I will not fly in the next 3 days as the airplane is unavailable. At this stage I’ll try to remember those feelings as my skills are starting to develop and I have to practice as frequently as possible.