Thursday, June 04, 2009

Close to home

IMG_0729.JPG, originally uploaded by hangflyer.

About 80Nm from Jandakot the cloud came back, there was some lightening and thunder off in the distance. Cloud base dropped to 3500ft before the hills and then kept dropping as I got closer to the coast. By the time I got to mount dale I was at 3000ft and the cloud was just above me. I was flying with my map in my hand and keeping an exact track of my position, I know the area well and knew that mount dale was the highest point and so felt comfortable as I had at least 1000ft of terrain clearance. As I headed towards canning dam the cloud base lowered further and I ended up at 2300ft to remain out of cloud as I crossed over the last of the escarpment. The whole time I was prepared to do a 180 and either request airways clearance to go over it or divert somewhere else if required, but my luck held and I made it from one blue hole to another until finally it was time to descend at six south for a return to Jandakot. Inbound to Jandakot it was getting dark because of the cloud and I was worried that there was going to be low cloud and rain at the airfield, but other than having to dodge a few scattered clouds at around 1500ft on the way in I was lucky. I got a left base onto 24 and landed a few minutes before the heavens opened up and all the runway lights came on.

It was an amazing trip, I have learnt so much and my confidence in my abilities is much improved. I got to hone my navigation and airspace skills, put real operational planning into action. Learn to take forecasts with a pinch of salt, but also to know my limitations and operate within them for safe and relaxed flying. I am really glad that I did my night rating as that really does test your ability to navigate accurately and gives a whole new understanding of terrain elevations and the use of navigational instruments to give a much clearer, bigger picture resulting in amazing situational awareness.

I have a visit to the ophthalmologist on Monday as the final part of my class one medical. Then on Tuesday i start my final testing which should culminate in my commercial flight test in the next couple of weeks. I am almost at the end of a long but very rewarding road.

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