The plan today was to either to solo-circuits or a trip to "Theux".
I had already prepared my navigation flight, and in general it was OK. I got some pointers on what is and is easy to use as landmarks for the navigation.
One of the tricky parts of the navigation is a corridor underneath controlled airspace for the Liege airport. The uncontroller airspace class G only goes up to 1500 ft AMSL (Above Mean Sea Level). But the ground goes up to 500 ft ASML. Furthermore there's only a few miles between the Liege CTR to the west and the border of the Netherlands, which cannot be crossed.
I was planning to use a railway bridge as a visual landmark, but my instructor advice me to instead use a more easily visible dock on the Maas river, which coincidentally points directly to where I need to go.
The railway bridge, just a little up north of that dock is visible, but the only later because it's in a valley.
So I will adjust my plan slightly to use that dock as a landmark.
Once again, the weather foiled our plans.
The clouds were low, literally just at 1200 ft AMSL. Overcast.
The visibility below the clouds was good, but the wind was relatively hard and coming from the south.
The wind was prohibiting solo flights, the clouds were prohibiting our flight to Theux.
So we ended up flying circuits while keeping a close eye on surrounding clouds and rain showers.
The air was very bumpy, the landings were cross wind, and the clouds were just above circuit height.
All in all, this made for some challenging flying and I was dissapointed with most of my landings. But my instructor assured me that the conditions were indeed difficult and it "was good practice". Afterwards, several people seemed a little surprised we'd actually flew - so that seems to confirm that it was challenging.
Some things I did wrong:
- My instructor asked me to slip, which means pushing the "stick in the wind" and giving rudder to the other side. Instead I pushed my stick the other side and the rudder the correct side, which wasn't great
- In the landings, because of the wind, I was moving the stick too much
- In the landings, I topped off a little too agressive so my flare wasn't smooth and we landed a bit harder than I like
What was challenging:
- In the weekend, we have glider activity too so there was more activity on the runway than I'm used to
- Part of the runway is currently out of use so we have to use the south side, which brings us closer to the taxi-way and hangars
- The weather! The sidewind with the light airplane and bumpy air made it hard
I was kind of happy when it was over, but on the other hand it's a great opportunity to fly in non-ideal weather when you have a trusted and well experience instructor with you. He explained it's not weather for solo flights or inexperienced pilots.
1 hour instructor: € 36
1 hour flight time: € 96