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Having gotten my first couple of flights in since achieving my license, I headed up in the air with the view to try a few different things and push myself a little.

After driving down to Biggin Hill and scratching my head as to where to fly to for a good half hour I settled on a route that would take me East over to Canterbury, South West to Hastings, then North back to Biggin Hill before commencing a few circuits. I’d hoped to fly north and explore a bit as I haven’t flown up there before but as the weather was marginal I decided to stay fairly close to home.

I took off soon after my power checks and as Biggin was fairly quiet was given a nice and quick departure. I flew East out to Leeds Castle and then made my way over to Canterbury. At first I was in radio contact with Farnborough Radar and then was passed over to Manston Radar.

Both these radar services were only able to give me a ‘basic service’ rather than a comprehensive ‘traffic service’. The difference is that when on a ‘traffic service’ you are provided with good information regarding most other aircraft in the vicinity, and when on a basic service you aren’t provided with much information as the controller can’t see you on radar.

After turning at Canterbury, I flew South West almost directly into the sun and found it quite difficult to see ahead. To combat this I changed my course slightly to the South so that the glare was slightly at an angle.

I always enjoy flying along the coast and today was no exception. It was also good fun doing a spot of cloud dodging along the coast! I turned back to the North at Hastings and was completely surprised to see a hot air ballon out to the West which can only have been in Gatwick airspace. I’m rather amazed that the ballon was there as they could have caused havoc with Gatwick!

I arrived back at Biggin Hill, joined from the dead side to Runway 21 Right and the I flew a few circuits before finally landing. I felt like my landings were a little rusty and I wanted to work on smoothing down the nose wheel touch down soon after the real wheels.

After a quick taxi and re-fuel, I parked up at EFG Flight School and then made my way home after a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable flight!

Mike

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