Thursday, 11 July 2013

New challenges

Last month has been really busy - I flew 16 times, and was scheduled another 17. Those extra times were cancelled due to the weather! The reason for being so busy is that my course has been pushing to reach an important milestone - we've just had the first official progress test, and having passed it we're done with single engine VFR training, and are moving on to IFR and multi-engine training.

I've got slightly mixed feelings about this. Last month was largely filled with doing solo navigation flights to places that I mostly got to choose myself. Unlike some of the guys I really enjoyed these flights, you get to see some beautiful countryside and the workload isn't too high. The others say they're too boring! I can certainly see why they'd say that. On the other hand, we're moving on to a type of flying that's much closer to what we'll be doing in our future jobs - flight based only on the instruments. It looks as though it'll be far more challenging, and we get to fly some far more well-equipped aircraft, which will be fun. So, I guess it's a shame to have reached the end of the time where someone says "here's an aeroplane, go flying", but cool to be picking up new things.

To be honest though, Hamilton hasn't been the nicest place to be in June. Apparently, it's the foggiest city in New Zealand, and I certainly believe it. This view has been pretty common recently:

Actually, this was a thin fog compared to some days.

When it has been nice though, it has been glorious. I've been to several nice places, such as around the Coromandel and most of the way to Waiheke island. I took a few photos, but mostly they're pretty much "oooh, some ground, from an aeroplane" kind of pictures - much like this one of the Coromandel peninsula:

Not shown - the large cloud over Cape Colville.

Sadly, I didn't get to make it as far as the volcanoes - whenever I tried (which I did about 6 times!), there was always lower cloud than forecast en route. I think this is the bit I'm most disappointed by - they've recently got snow on top and are supposed to look glorious!

The end-of-phase progress test wasn't too bad - a quick demo of nav techniques, some practice emergencies and a bit of basic instrument flight. A lot of people here seemed to be quite worried, but I think we're all in agreement that it wasn't too bad really. Next up I've got a few sessions in the DA42 simulator to practice flying IFR holds and approaches, before I go and fly them for real in a Cessna 172. Obviously.

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