Thursday 29th November 2012 – David and Steve go to Shenington

Steve Raine and I collected Don and drove to Shenington on Wednesday evening to carry out the Navigation and Field Landing Tests for their cross country endorsement on Thursday. After a fitful night we were woken at 7.00am by a bright and breezy Don who was keen to get the necessary Notams and Weather out of the way so the first candidate could be airborne by 9.30.

David, Don and Steve look pleased with themselves
Notams were down loaded only to find that part of our route was restricted due to parachute drops at Little Risington . This necessitated a call to ACT who fortunately confirmed that jumping on Thursday would be confined to nights at Hinton so we were cleared to use the restricted air space. Weather proved less of a problem we all ready knew that after a frosty start, we had a glorious bright morning with light winds from the N,which was confirmed by the aviation weather service.

The aircraft was prepared and ready to go by 0925. The altimeter reset to QNH which by coincidence was 1013 mb which, we felt, was a good omen. I was first to set off in a high state of trepidation. Don flew the take off from Shennington and, at 2000 feet, announced ”. You Have Control”. He then allowed a few local circuits to acclimatise to the area taking in Banbury etc., this also gave time to adjust to the aircraft. Then the dreaded you can set off when you are ready was announced

Scheibe Motorfalke - ready to propel our pilots towards their licences
284 degrees was the required course for the first leg to Bidford. By now I had started to enjoy myself, this was fine until I happily picked up what I decided was a major airfield on route. The stoic examiner then began to question where I thought I was. Confidently I defined my position only to be greeted with a big grin and “ok then”. Doubts crept in and I rapidly had to re-asses the situation only to find there were three airfields in a similar position fortunately a railway line came to my rescue. Eventually we arrived just east of Evesham and 5km north identified Bidford. More questions ensued to ascertain if I really did know where I was, in the end Don asked how I actually knew it was a gliding field. “There is an glider sitting in the middle of it” I replied.

The rest of the nav exercise proceeded satisfactorily except for the trend to drift to the west which meant that we had to fly east above the A40 to reach the N Leach turn point. Don then declared himself satisfied with the navigation. The field selection and landing approach tests were then carried out successfully. We finally arrived back at Shennington ready for Steve at 11.30.

Why does Don look worried?
Steve left at 12.00 round the same course with very similar results. It was interesting that both of us drifted to the right on the southerly leg. Whilst Steve did not have the same problem finding Bidford he was further right at the A40 and arrived at an Island further west and then re assessed his position to fly east along the A40 to arrive at the N Leach turn point.

Once again Don declared himself satisfied and Steve followed a similar activity in field selection and field approach. Finally Steve landed at 14.00 with a big happy grin all over his face. We all returned to the clubhouse for tea and medals

We had both passed and were very grateful to Don for the  instruction / examination and for the much needed bacon and egg sandwich after which we duly all climbed into the car to head south west again.

Trundling home, two certainly elated but very tired candidates.

David Rippon

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