Ken Nicholas Photography Astronomy & DIY CNC

Gone Flying

Things never stand still and interests change but this is more like something that has always been there ever since I was a boy.

Most little boys and I guess a lot of little girls who at some stage have dreamed of flying and I was no  different to any of them. My farther had been in the R.A.A.F during WW11 and had also introduced us to model aircraft at an early age, that interest never went away and over a lot of years of flying with friends in both light powered aircraft and gliders I always found it very natural to take the controls.
It was so natural  that people I'd never flown with before would say things like,

"You seem to know what you're doing wake me up when you want to land"

While this could easily give you a swelled head full of confidence I was just grateful for the opportunity to be at the controls and having a ball.

This was to be an interest that led to working in the Aviation industry for about ten years when I applied for work at the Government Aircraft Factories at Avalon Air Field just North of Geelong Victoria after work in my trade as a mechanic was quiet and I found myself in the situation of last on first off and out of work.
That ten years saw me working on the Australian designed and built Nomad Twin Turboprop and trained on the Alison 250 Turboprop Engines and Propellers with L.A.M.E qualifications.

This lead onto Military Aircraft being serviced there and about seven years on Mirage 3 fighters and then FA18A the new multy roll fighter for Australia.
After leaving Avalon when a mass retrenchment took place where about five hundred of us were put off due to ending contracts I came very close to doing my Commercial Pilots License at the age of thirty two this would have been a good time but my wife talked me out of it, something she denied almost thirty years later when I said it was my biggest regret when looking back.

So this time it's on for real, at sixty two years young I've started Private Pilot training, I have time through the day as I work full time on afternoon shift so my days a free for the most of it.
I am also fortunate that the flying school is only fifteen minutes from home so this makes it very easy for me. Golden Plains Aviation, the training school has two very nice sport aviation planes for training and then hire once qualified.
The first being the Tecnam Eaglet, a high wing two seat plane powered by a Rotax engine and the second being a Pioneer 300 Kite, also a two seat but low wing and again powered by a Rotax engine, a very sexy looking little plane reserved for after you have your license and available for hire.

First Landing

After about four and a half hours of training my instructor David said, well that's enough Stall recovery practice lets go back and do a few circuits. So back to the strip we go and into circuit practicing the required radio calls and turning points as we go.

This is all fine and usually he says as we turn final, I have control but I'll get you to follow me through the landing.
This done by gently feeling the controls and what he is doing as we land.
This time though there was no hand over of controls and with a few verbal instructions as we descended I performed my first landing and it was pretty good even if I do say so myself. We did a touch and go and around we went again to do another two and they went equally as well so I'm very chuffed and David turned to me with a big smile on his face and said, well you're not going to have any trouble with this are you!

Anyway here is the first of what I hope to be many good landings.

Well things have progressed a bit since the video above.

I have since gone Solo and am about to start the advanced aircraft handling portion of the training.
Still enjoying it tremendously and not having any great difficulty with it. The following two video's are my First Solo flight followed by an EFIC, Engine Failure in Circuit forced landing practice. A lot of fun and something that doesn't seem to bother me when the instructor pulls the power off and says "you've just lost your engine", the aim being you must land without applying power so your powered aircraft has just become a glider.

Full screen HD versions of these videos can be seen by selecting settings during the video and quality level desired or on my YouTube Channel by clicking the Youtube icon.

Solo Flight 22/08/2016

Engine Failure in Circuit 29/08/2016