First solo to the GF!
So, the past weekend, 29th of July 2012, I completed all my required circuit training and I was signed off as proficient. Great news!!
The next step was to complete 5 hours of Solo GF time. Now the GF (General Flying Area), is around the Brits area, past Hartebeespoort Dam. It takes about 20 mins to fly there. The GF can get quite congested with planes so a constant lookout is required as well as a keen ear to what is going on on the radios.
I took off from Grand Central’s runway 17 (Direction South) and obviously the GF is to the North so I executed a right crosswind turn, and then a base turn. I climbed to 7500 feet and on I went. I had to change frequencies soon after take off (from 122.8 to 125.8). 125.8 is the frequency for the Special Rules West area of Johannesburg. This is a general frequency and you report on this frequency from time to time with position reports. One more frequency change to 124.8 is needed once you reach the GF.
The morning was clear and gorgeous with very little VFR traffic so I was feeling good! I wondered what I sounded like over the radio because I spoke super fast! I decided to practice my techniques over ODI, ODI is an old abandoned airstrip right in the center of the GF. A perfect place to practice precautionary landings. I proceeded with all my checks while STILL admiring the perfect visibility. I performed two steep turns as well as two stalls (without flaps). Next was a stall with flaps (the flaps help in reducing the stall speed even more), I hit about 35-40 miles per hour and the little plane ZS-NXO shuddered a little bit. Perfect! This is what real flying is all about. The last procedure I performed was a precautionary landing. These types of landings take place when you are low on fuel or if the cloud base is too low. When we simulate this type of landing we define the ground to be at a certain level and aim to be a few hundred feet above this altitude. You circle the field, always keeping the field to the left of you and then do a low level pass to inspect the runway surface etc. Fun times. You then power up and climb to your safe altitude again and circle back to land.
I decided that was than and headed back to Grand Central. 1.2 hours later I was back on the ground. First solo GF complete another few hours remain. I am really trying to get the PPL exams under the belt, currently studying for air law.
Awesome, I am truly the luckiest guy alive. I kept on wanting to pinch myself to make sure I was actually doing this, truly AWESOME!!
The map below shows the approximate path that I flew..