A Spring of Aviating for Bristol Groundschool Pilot Richard Gale

After a wet March and April, May proved to be a lot drier, bringing some much settled weather suitable to ‘commit aviation’ in!

Since my last post, (which I appreciate was a long time ago) I have been checked out and have logged some flying hours in one of the flying school’s Cessna 172 aircraft which is having its engine ‘run in’. This procedure occurs after an engine overhaul or cylinder replacement; the purpose being to house the piston rings inside the cylinder walls effectively – created by expansion through high pressures by operating the engine at high power settings.

Flying this aeroplane for some hour building has been ideal for navigation flights of at least an hour airborne because the running in procedure avoids any activities using low power settings like stalling, circuits, or flights of less than 45 minutes airborne. However, an engine which is running in is absolutely fine for navigation exercises flown at 2450 rpm – and believe me, you get to your destination pretty quickly, covering some decent distance!


Over the South Downs, dodging a few snow showers, this was my first ‘engine running in’ trip in GNXOE 

Whilst I’ve been getting back into the swing of hour building I’ve been able to cover exercises like diversions, VOR tracking, navigation using a chart and stopwatch and creating CPL style  PLOGs for each flight. I try to fly accurately to CPL standards – +/- 100ft for altitude and keeping within 5 degrees of desired heading on the DI. If I can try and fly to these standards and cover exercises from the CPL course now, it hopefully should make the transition to this next stage a little easier!


                                            A FlightRadar24 track of one of my navigation/ diversion exercises! 

My navigation trips have included the following;

Goodwood – Washington Int VRP- Swanborough airstrip-Uckfield – various diversions – Plumpton- Goodwood ( It helped sharpen the navigation skills by choosing small villages or private farm strips which can be difficult to find!)

Goodwood-Dorking- Goodwood – tracking both the MID (Midhurst) and GWC (Goodwood) VORs.

Goodwood-Uckfield – Tunbridge Wells VRP – Bough Beech Resr- M25/M23 Junc VRP – Guildford- MID VOR- Goodwood ( an anticlockwise nav around the Gatwick zone).

As well as a few local flights and a few sessions of  circuits thrown in! More trips to follow, thanks for reading!


Amongst the hour building, I’ve had a few trips in the Super Cub too, great to get some tailwheel exposure again, I plan to do more flying in the Cub as part of the hour building.