Sunday, July 25, 2010

Duty Pilot - 17 July 2010

After soloing again in May, it's a long wait, because of work and family, until I have the chance of flying again. I am on the roster as Duty Pilot again and I'm so keen to get to the club that I turn out of bed at 6.00 am after getting back from overseas the night before.

Arrive at the club on a cold morning (5 degrees C) before 8am and, with the help of a couple of other members, start getting all the gear ready and off to the hangards to prep aircraft. It's a busy day - 4 Air Experience Flights, a visiting overseas pilot from South America and plenty of trainees and club pilots finishing their annual checks.

The weather is benign with gentle variable winds and the chance of some thermals around 1.30pm, once the ground heats up. The most frustrating thing is end changes by the control tower. We get two of these - shift everything down to 24 and then about an hour later, shift everything back to 06. Each end change kills about 30-45 minutes as the pie cart has to be closed up and laboriously towed by tractor to the other end of the strip; as well as the aircraft on the ground.

A total of 23 launches, all the two-seaters in use, lots of certificates presented and even arranged a few photos of the ASK-21 to be used as the background of first solo certificates (since it's a newish aircraft).

I finally get on the road home at about 5.15pm and I never even got to fly. One of the frustrations of Duty Pilot - I did all I could to make sure others flew (and some folk got in three flights - the longest flight was 1 hour 11 minutes - not bad for a winter day) - but I stayed on the ground.

At least I had the satisfaction of having my first real Duty Pilot experience go off well (with the welcome help of plenty of other club members).