Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finally some action!

Since I got back from the ATALANTA mission in the Aden Gulf that one thing had to be done as soon as possible and that was to fly again.

It's to hard to be without flying so much time due to work so it was imperative that this flight was to be made as a checkride flight to evaluate my proficiency to the airplane. Adding one thing to another I thought in buying some hours in a Cessna 172 from Aeropiloto to take some friends and family to fly also and this was the perfect conditions soon get into the sky again.

Aircraft reserved and the flight instructor contacted and here we go... wai a minute no we won't go anywhere because of the weather. The thing is very simple, from Cascais to the South the weather wasn't so bad at all and the clouds were above 2000ft so it was possible to fly to the work areas without troubles at all, the REAL problem was to the North. North of Cascais Aerodrome is the mountain chain of Sintra wich it has a very special influence on weather over there from the Cabo da Roca the westernmost point of Europe Mainland to join in the west to another mountain chain the Montejunto, after Montejunto the mountains continue to be connected with Serra da Estrela the highest point of Portugal Mainland. This entire chain of Mountains aren't as high as you might think but really maque the difference between the south and the north when related to weather conditions. So there was my problem. Basically over Sintra hills the sky was completely overcast and the cloud ceiling was so low that even the top of the mountains was hard to be seen as result the flight had to be canceled.

The day after...

Friday had to be the day, almost no clouds and the winds were a bit calmer than the previous day so here we go.

All checks completed, engine run up, call outs, emergencies reviewed, take off briefing and we were ready. Right after departure we climbed to 1500ft instead of the normal 1000ft to pass without getting much turbulence from Sintra and headed on to Cabo da Roca for a shore line route, destination Santa Cruz, airfield, LPSC.

The trip was very pleasant and the aircraft only has the negative point of beeing to slow, slower than the Cessna 152 CS-AZB and than the other 3 Cessnas 172 from Leávia, one of them was the RG model, besides that the aircraft fills very good, responsive and comfortable I have no doubts that the 172 continue to be a very trustful aircraft passed all these years.

After reaching Santa Cruz we headed to the sea abeam of the airfield to train some maneuvers as slow flight, stalls and others, after that it was time to go to the traffic pattern for the first touch and go, this time a regular one with flaps 10º after that an simulated engine failure on the downwind forcing me to negotiate distance height and speed to get to the runway safely this one went very good but I do really hope to never use this kind of skills in other situations than training. After joining the pattern again I was on my way to my final touch and go at Santa Cruz this time with full flaps and after the completion of the third landing we headed to Delta point of Cascais a courtesy of the Sintra Air Force Base Approach controller witch saved me a good 10 minutes very important when it comes to pay to fly.

With Cascais airfield in sight and heading to join the traffic pattern here's the last challenge, climb to 1500ft and at the vertical of the runway perform a simulated engine failure and land. The maneuver went really well but at the runway threshold i was to high fo course that Cascais has a good runway length with lots of space to a C172 but managing the flaps and speed it was very easy to go do the ground without leaving plenty of runway behind.

Now wait until the next adventures in this fantastic little airplane...

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photo: Carlos Gomes APEA

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