All About Diversions

My lesson on Sunday went well. Except for the take off.

Me: What kind of take off today?

FI: Lets to a short field take off

*taxi into position, start the take off roll and rotate*

FI: what happened to the ground effect part

Me: whoops! I forgot

Yeah, so I did a “short field takeoff” without using ground effect. My FI was not impressed!

In any case, we continued and I practiced a precautionary landing and did a “mini diversion”. This is a preview of what the “real” diversion lesson is all about.

Lets take this scenario: You’re heading back to your airport when a freak storm with lighting and rain and tornados is right over top of the airport. You need to head over to another airport about 30 miles away, but thats not in your flight plan! You bust out the map and figure out how to get there. That’s a diversion.

There are some tricks to figuring this out while in flight. Draw a line from your present position to your diversion point. It’s easier to do this if your line is drawn from the outside in (towards your body). Keep in mind not to keep your head down for too long! Every couple of seconds peer back up to make sure everything is dandy.

One of the hardest issues I’ve had is using pilotage to figure out where the hell we are. In some cases I *know* where we are but you have to prove it to the FI.

Me: Thats Mount Albert

FI: How do you know that?

Me: I just do

FI: Prove it

Me: uhmm.. uhhh.. *looks at map*.. Its east of highway 48

FI: and…

Me: err… hmmm.. it’s a small city on the map and it physically looks small

FI: sure.. but there could be a lot of small cities on the map.. what else

Me: uhhhmm.

FI: What about the railroad.

Me: ohh yeah, and there are railroad tracks going to the north of the city

When you are diverting you need to know which heading to use. After you draw your line on the map, take your pencil and line it up with the line. Find the nearest compass rose on the map (the Simcoe VOR works nicely) and figure out what heading you need to go to.

Pick a halfway point on the map (for me it was Goodwood – i’m diverting from Claremont to Mount Albert) and make sure that you fly over that point. All the while you are checking other landmarks to your track on the map to make sure that you aren’t drifting off course and explaining to your FI what you see and how you know you’re on course.

It’s hard juggling flying the plane and looking at your map at the same time.

My landing was the worst ever. My FI warned me that there might be wind shear when we land. Not sure if that was the cause but I was totally not set up properly. Speed was all over the place. I didn’t take into account the gust factor and I was bouncing all over the place (too high, then too low!). I was at my limit and was almost about to overshoot when I got things somewhat under control. Worst landing ever.

In order for me to go Solo local (right now I can only go Solo in the circuit) I need to have a review flight with my FI. This includes reviewing steep turns, stalls, spins, spirals, slow flight, climbing (best rate, best angle, en route), descending, flying for range and endurance, and slipping. My flight is booked for Saturday and the weather forecast looks good. I’m going to spend the next few days reviewing all of the above items and armchair flying a few of them. I want to go into the lesson feeling prepared. I want to nail this lesson down pat so that I can start going solo in the practice area and bring these exercises into flight test tolerances. I’ll leave the flight test details to another post.

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