PPL, the Norwegian way

Profile picture for user T J Johansen

Member for

15 years 2 months

Posts: 1,271

Moderator Blue Robin asked me to write something about my way towards the PPL license when I mentioned it (what's your plan for 2008 thread) on the historic forum just before xmas. Having had my first lesson on monday I guess it is time to start typing. I will continue to add posts as I progress through the program over the next months, or until I get boooed off the stage. Lesson 1. I arrived at Eggemoen airfield outside H√łnefoss, Norway on monday afternoon. Nice calm weather and the local aero club Cessna 172 LN-BDL was ready for flying. My instructor Sten Fossum guided me around the a/c doing the pre-flight inspection. Here I had to look carefully for loose rivets, movement in the flap actuator, leakage from brakes, dents and nicks in the propellor, wingtips, leading edges, checking oil and draining fuel. Another thing we had to do was check inside the cowl for signs of birds nesting. This is actually a problem as the field (ex- German maintenance base from WWII) is located in a forest. As we found no signs of small pieces of wood (or unwelcome tennants) in the engine compartment we proceeded to enter the cockpit. We spent a few minutes getting to know the layout of the cockpit, and all the gauges and switches. Then it was time for the checklist, and Sten explained as I tried to push, pull, and turn every item on the list as he read out loud. Eventually we started BDL and I was told to taxi to the run-up area. I tried my best to keep heels on the floor as I weaved left and right like a drunken sailor on his first night ashore. It got better as I started to visualize on a point in the distance. Mag check, carb heat, suction gage, friction lock. My hands were all over trying to switch lever, off, on ,off, and on again. Eventually the list was completed and I was told to line the Cessna up on the runway. At that point Sten looked at me and casually said, "you take off, and I will help out on the controls". I began to press right pedal as I "poured on the coal" and we started down the runway. On cue I pulled back on the stick and we climbed at 70kts with 10deg flaps. Flaps up and we leveled off and throttled back to 2300rpm. The lake Tyrifjorden is a mere 10 min away and that was to be our practise area. My first task was to get to know the controls. Stick forward, stick back, to the left and right, and then pedals to yaw the plane. Now it was time to try some turns at 10, 20, and 30deg while keeping altitude. Be a good boy and don't let the nose drop or rise, would you. Coordinating this is not as easy as it sounded. Next up is use of the flaps. Add 10deg while keeping your hands in your lap, see what the plane does. Hmmm, nose rises and speed drops before the Cessna decides to lower its nose. Go to 20deg and watch the same happen again. 30deg and same same. Now we'll pull the flaps up. Nose drops and we go down like a Stuka during the battle of Poland. Speed increases and nose rises again. Goes to show that the a/c really gives you a helping hand. We will now go back towards the airfield and find the points where we report in. On our way we overfly the house of a friend and greet him with a couple of turning passes. Then a wide circle around the field so I can get to know the lay-out of the area, as well as finding places to put the bird down should the engine give up the ghost. The forest surrounding the field is somewhat intimidating, and that runway looks so appealing. Which is exactly the way, not to think in an emergency. We now enter downwind doing our checks and start to drop flaps. Onto base, and more flaps. Turn to final and our good instructor takes over, dropping even more flaps. In over the fence, eyes peeled on the spot I think we'll touch down on. But no, this baby floats, then floats, and floats again. The original runway is 5400ft, but we can only use the 2400ft closest to us. Woaw, if we float anymore we'll be in the far end before we know it. Eventually the plane sets on the mains and we roll down towards the taxiway. My turn to manipulate the wheels again. To my surprise it seems to go a little better this time. Up to the ramp, park and pull the mixture. Engine noise dies down, we complete the checks and climb out. I've made it, my first lesson is quickly logged and the book is not so empty anymore. A quick debrief and another booking, four more hours to be flown this weekend if the weather forecast lives up to its promise. Given that we don't have any snag on the a/c of course. Until then... T J
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