This page contains notes to myself for my microlight lessons with Kernan Aviation.  The plan is to update this page with all my notes each week.  Would have been nice to start the blog from the outset, but never mind.

The main training aircraft is the Ikarus C42.

NO PART OF THIS WORK IS TO BE REPRODUCED.  These notes may be useful to others, but will almost certainly contain mistakes.  If you print anything off or use it in any way you MUST ask your instructor to check it.

31 August 2010 19.15

I've now had 3 hours' air experience in total, the last 2 hours were structured as hands-on lessons.  Last Friday I booked 10 complete lessons which include around 1 hour in the classroom and 1 hour in the air, give or take.  My next lesson is Friday 3rd September.  Since I now have a couple of books at last I can do some homework and set some goals.

For Friday I want to be able to go through the pre-start checks without needing the card.  Last night was the first time I sat down to learn it but managed to get 10 minutes in at lunchtime today.  Here is the checklist:

Great - managed to type that without looking at the checklist, although I've probably already gone down it 20 times already.

I'll expand this section after the next lesson, but in the meantime some questions that need to be answered:


5 September 2010 15:30

Had my lesson last friday at 17.30 to 19.30, which included one hour in the air.  Carried out excercise 7 (climbing) and 8 (descending).

This also was the first very thorough pre-flight check around the aircraft.  BEFORE going anywhere near the propeller we opened one of the doors to make absolutely sure the magneto switches were OFF.  It's vital to understand that a switch could be faulty so we should always consider the propeller to be 'live'.  Never attempt to turn it.

Propeller inspection: we are looking for cracks and chips-any damage at all.  If you loose part of a propeller blade you may be OK, but losing a large part can be catastrophic, the engine could be ripped from the aircraft.  Ensure nose cone is firmly attached.

Air vents:  ensure these are clear of debris.  Look for obvious signs of damage, check for any signs of leaking oil or water.

Body: any signs of damage.

Wings: check every single pin is present and the split pin is in place (actually these are more like "keyrings").  Ensure all bolts are present and not loose.  Look for any signs of metal fatigue.  Check struts too.  Look for any damage to the wing material.

Check wheel guards are tight.

Some of my last post's quesions answered

The lesson went pretty well.  I need to concentrate much more on take-off as the plane is still not going down the runway straight enough.  Coordination is my main problem; plane goes right, give some LEFT pedal.  Simple enough but it all happens so fast!

Before Climbing

Airspace - we must know where we are incase the airspace above has conditions of entry.

Traffic - lookout above and behind for other traffic

Initiate Climb

Power - open throttle fully

Attitude - raise nose to climbing attitude, then hold

Trim - to desired climbing airspeed

During climb: keep lookout for traffic, keep a lookout for cloud - vitally important we stay out of cloud as we loose our sight of the horizon, again know what airspace we're climbing to and monitor engine temperature & oil pressure.  We also need to check our blind spot (the nose).  We can do this by lowering the nose every 500 feet or so and taking a good look.

Levelling off

Attitude - lower nose to level attitude and hold

Power - reduce power back to cruise RPM (in our case 4000 RPM), balance with rudder

Trim - adjust attitude to maintain height

We cruise at around 70 knots



Like climbing we need to check our blindspots and look around.  Again, we need to know what airspace we may be descending into.

Attitude - lower nose

Power - reduce power (we closed down to idle), use the rudder to balance

Trim - adjust to suit desired airspeed and descent rate

During descent: check blindspot every 500 feet or so.  We have used the rudder to yaw right, then left again.

It's import to check engine temperatures and pressures.  The engine can cool very quickly.  It is quite often required to level out for a while to warm the engine before continuing to descend.

31 October 2010

Not had much time to update this stuff, but here are some links I've collected: British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) Kernan Aviation The National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) CAA - CAP 393 - Air Navigation: The Order and the Regulations CAA - CAP 413 - Radiotelephony Manual CAA - CAP 637 - Visual Aids Handbook CAA - Medical Form CAA - GASIL FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) FAA - Pilot Training FAA - Airplane Flying Handbook FAA - Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Met Office Met Office - Clouds Met Office - Factsheets Wikipedia Cloud Types NATS - Aeronautical Information Service Pooleys National Private Pilot's Licence NPPL Revalidation Summary International Civil Aviation Organisation European Aviation Safety Agency


03 December 2010

Not much to report; still taking weekly lessons.  I've been updating the links above fairly regularly.

Took the Air Law exam which is a multiple choice paper on 24 November 2010.  Got a score of 95% which I was pleased with.

Next exam is Human Performance Limitations so I'll be studying that over the next couple of weeks.  I believe that one is multiple choice as well.

We did one Navigation lesson a couple of weeks ago because the Low Field was too wet to do circuits, bought myself the CRP-1 computer and a book when I went to the Flying Show in Birmingham last weekend.

My flying is coming on quite well but I am still struggling to make consistent landings.  Grr!


22 January 2011

Well things have moved on since my last post.  Flying in December was a disaster due to the snow and general bad weather.  My landings went really well on the 10th December but no flying for the rest of the month.

2nd January was my next lesson, I was hoping my landings would be consistent as per the lesson on the 10th, especially since the length of time since my last lesson.  Sure enough they were really good again, hardly any wind around which made life easier.  Then something really unexpected; 45 minutes into the lesson the instructor asked me to stop after my next landing, at which point he got out and said, "You're ready to do a circuit on your own".

Everything felt perfect, he chose the perfect moment for my FIRST SOLO!  Great weather, field was good for landings, no planes at all in the circuit, and I was in the zone for sure.  And that was that.  Off I went for a circuit, took about 12 minutes, the C42 climbed like crazy minus my instructor.  Everything was pretty robotic and to be honest I did not really have to think much, it just came from training.  (Still lots going through the head though, balance, airspeed, height, keep turns nice and gentle, go around early if anything is not right, etc.)

The landing was pretty good, a very tiny bounce but all very controlled.  What can I say?  An experience I shall not forget in a hurry!

Today I took and passed my Human Performance Limitations exam.  100% - excellent.  It was nice and easy; there were a couple of questions that were not covered in the Brian Cosgrove book, but common sense.  No flying today, lesson cancelled due to thick fog here all day but at least I used the time to take the exam.

Next exam will be Principles of Flight, which I'm sure will be quite a large topic so I'll need to do some more reading.  Least favourite exam I think is going to be Meteorology.

The Radio Telephony course is also running some time this month too.

Everything is booked for Popham on 29th April, let's hope we get some good weather for it.


05 February 2011

Still no solo since the first one, but finally I think I've cracked the crosswind landings.  At long last!  Here's hoping next saturday has some good weather.

Took the airplanes general exam today, 50 questions in total; got three wrong but still a decent enough score of 94% so I'm happy enough with that.

Next exam then... Meteorology.  Next month for study and revision...  hope to take this one around the middle of March.


22 June 2011

Well what a delay since the last post!  Things have been slow since Popham with little flying due to bad weather and me being sick recently.

I have now done (just) 4 solo flights totalling 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Today I took the meteorology exam at last (3 months late).  25 questions, got two wrong, overall score 92%.