Hope everyone had a great Christmas and all the best in your endeavours for 2009!
All Exams finished ... well for the mean time anyway!
I could have heard a pin drop while waiting for the cyber exam system to click over and reveal the fate of the last result of my CPL exams... pass - you bloody beauty - now I had to go home and start on the KDR's and have them ready to submit to the CFI. I'd pulled out all stops to finish the exams, write up a submission for my KDR's so I could sit the PPL flight test prior to Christmas. I found myself on the wrong side of normal sleep for a couple of weeks flying on some mornings, working all day / some nights and then studying for OPP and grinding through the KDR's (but hey I'm sure a lot of you have done that and more in your pursuits - got to keep your eyes on the prize). Suffice to say - PPL flight test passed / paperwork with CASA - I was ready to go down the south coast of NSW to get away with my wife and our boys, have some family time and watch from the beach as aerial traffic made its way down to / up from Jervis Bay and beyond.
We'd got back for Christmas Eve and I couldn't resist a flight so found myself in the R44 on the R405 (Sydney Harbour run) out to South Head and down Victor 1 - just frigging awesome! I'm guessing you could fly that route almost everyday and not get sick of it (maybe some of you would say that's not the case). I'd never been down the coastal route before and kind of wished I'd flown with someone else before so I wouldn't be wanting to just admire the scenery. After orbiting at Jibbon Point my instructor asked if I would try and request a "Bondi 1" on the way back up. Yep, does Sydney Radar like tongue twisted trainee's clogging up the airways? I know, I've just got to get used to it, but whenever you mention CTA, it's like oh crap... I've got to say what and what did he just say? I guess practice makes perfect and apparently they are just people as well . If I remember back to my first calls to depart Bankstown for choppers south, they were pretty bloody average but now don't bother me. After tracking back up the coast and calling clear of Bondi, a left hand turn was made and back down the harbour for the run back to Ryde Bridge and then Bankstown. We headed over to the Olympic Stadium and called inbound and was asked to call at choppers west, to which the instructor just asked me to head to it. Now I've been to that reporting point many times before but it was from a very different aspect this time. He just smiled as I looked around and had a stab, not far off, so I was happy with myself (it was also probably a subtle reminder to myself that I hadn't flown that route previously and a quick study of the VTC prior to the flight may have helped. He tried to trip me up again on the run to join base with the "pull" the circuit breaker to see if the student is doing the downwind checks trick. I've heard of this ploy from other students and had it happen once before but I'll give it merit, the threat has made me adopt an instrument scan (cause you just don't know when it might be sprung on you). So he didn't catch me out - this time - I'm sure my grumpy instructor (seriously he asked me to call him that) will get me another time - what have I set myself up for!
After Christmas I flew another run down the harbour but this time we'd submitted a flight plan and headed over the CBD - very cool - I should have done it this week when the cricket was on. Last week, to start ticking all the boxes in the R44 endorsement, there were a few lessons which covered limited power, auto's, hover auto's, PFL's, hydraulics off (workout world), governor off and confined areas. I remember during the confined areas session, we'd made our way out to the normal area we used for training and performed a couple of approaches. They weren't too bad, it was more a case of not forgetting that extra bit of tail to get over the trees and being on the light side with 2 POB and half fuel, just trying to make the bastard get down to the ground as any aft cyclic might see you balloon around. We climbed up and the instructor said ok that was easy how about you aim for that area the size of a postage stamp to the south of it. Ok ok, I heard postage stamp but I'm sure it's more like 50 foot across. I said, turn it up, will we fit in there (yep one of those stupid student questions) - yes just approach so you'll be in a HOGE in the middle of the clearing then pick a reference point to use as you descend into the area (no fore/aft/sideways movement straight down). Once we landed we had a quick discussion on being able to get into places but after say pax got on board being heavier and not having the performance to be able to get out of the same area. Again picking a reference point in front and making sure we climbed vertically was practiced. I very much appreciate confined areas and the characteristics of the machine they highlight. I also wouldn't mind doing a session of low level in the 44 as well. I'm up to 8 hours in the 44 and very much enjoying the extra room, grunt and performance that comes with it.
So next week it's into Sydney Airport (alrighty then!)
About 82-83 hours now and looks like the CPL flight test in the first week of February .
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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