On Saturday 8th June 2019 I passed my first flight test, which signifies the end of my Foundation Phase of training flying the Cessna 172. The test is designed to evaluate the skills we have been taught from the previous 52 lessons to ensure we can perform the basic flight manoeuvres, navigation skills and emergency procedures to a high standard in order to continue our training to the Wings Module, where we begin training under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). The test, known as PT1, is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our skills to the instructor in order for us to progress onto the Diamond DA42 for twin engine instrument flights. The test included:
- Stalls (clean, base to final, final approach)
- Practised Forced Landings (PFL’s)
- Slow Flight (clean, full flap)
- Steep Turns ( ≥45˚) and Medium Turns ( ≥30˚)
- Unusual Attitude Recovery (UPT)
- Basics: climbing, descending, lookout
- Navigation Techniques: Standard Correction Angle (SCA), feature identification, ETA amendments, groundspeed calculation
- Departure and approach
With over 45 hours of solo flight time practising these manoeuvres and skills, I was confident that I was able to reach the required standard to pass, and so I did! Although only a check of our progress, I was apprehensive as to how I would feel operating under increased pressure in an aircraft for the first time – I treated it as a normal flight and was pleased with my performance and ultimately, the outcome.
Up to this point, all my flights have been on the single engine Cessna 172 – an aircraft which I have thoroughly enjoyed learning to fly. Moving onto the twin also sees a change in aircraft build, the Diamond has a low wing compared to the Cessna’s high wing design as well as a high t-tail – a design prone to deep stalls which are difficult to recover from.
The past week has been busy, with preparation for PT1 as well as covering the required initial briefings for the Diamond DA42 and the specific IFR procedures we will begin to learn in the simulator. These include VOR and ILS approaches, hold procedures and the rules of the air when flying IFR. In total, we have had 16 hours of briefings, with more to come in the not so distant future that focus on the Diamond’s systems – such as the fuel and landing gear system. As this is the aircraft that I will complete both my CPL and IR skills test on, I want to ensure I have the required knowledge and confidence to answer all possible questions the examiner may throw at me. From what I have seen already, the aircraft bears some similar characteristics to the Cessna, however I am sure handling a twin engine aircraft with one engine inoperative (OEI) will increase the workload a little…
For now my attention turns to learning the flows and procedures associated with the Diamond DA42, something which I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and feel free to message me with any questions you may have! Thanks for reading.