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One of my recent flights was a short one out to Lydd and back. This marked the first time that I landed away at an airfield solo. It was slightly nerve racking and I was thankful that I had completed the route once before with my instructor. The flying leg there certainly wasn’t the classiest flight that I have ever done. I made a number of mistakes, didn’t plan ahead enough inflight, and accidentally called Lydd Approach by the name of Biggin Approach by accident! Fair to say they were a little confused!

I landed and throughly debriefed myself on what I needed to improve on. I called my instructor to say I had landed safely and then after paying the landing fee I got back in the air. My flight returning to Biggin was substantially improved which put a smile on my face and I was chuffed to land back at Biggin after a relatively uneventful return flight.

Since this flight, I have been working up to my solo cross country qualifying flight. Yesterday, Christof my Instructor and I flew out to Manston Airport on the East coast which was a pretty awesome flight. There was a cold front lying over the Eastern part of the UK and it fascinating to slowly fly from good weather into worsening weather. Many characteristics of the front were evident.

Coming from my sailing background, one of the aspects of flying which I feel quite knowledgeable about is the weather having studied and working with it quite closely over the years. When I am sailing, I am always waiting for the weather to pounce on me, when flying it is very different as you are able to avoid and work around the weather by flying a different course. Simply put, this is possible as flying is 10x as fast as sailing!

I landed at the enormous 2700m runway at Manston Airport and unsurprisingly used less than a quarter of it’s length. I taxied over to the flying club, paid the landing fee and was soon back out in the air en-route to Shoreham Airport. Having checked the weather for Shoreham before we left and seen that it was not so great we didn’t have the highest hopes of being able to land. About halfway en-route we asked for a weather update and sure enough there were broken clouds at 600ft which meant our hopes were unfortunately dashed! We looked at another option of going to Goodwood but it wasn’t open late enough and so we diverted back to Biggin.

I learnt a lot during the course of the flight as I transited two ATZ’s, flew onto an enormous runway with a pretty serious crosswind at the time and generally improved my flying ability and airmanship. Now on the cards is a dual flight to Shoreham before I complete the qualifying cross country flight on my own! Exciting!

Mike

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