The heat is on. It has been over 40 degrees for the last four days and up to 47 degrees for the last day or so. In weather like this we confine training flights to early mornings and evenings when conditions are cooler and usually smooth.
I recently had the pleasure of flying one of my former student's new aircraft, an RV12 and very nice it is too. The owner sensibly wants his wife to do a P.O.P (Partners of Pilots) course, which entails the partner/passenger learning enough skills to be able to land the aircraft safely in the event of the pilot becoming incapacitated whilst in flight. Consequently in this instance I will be instructing from the left hand seat.
This aircraft has a very nice glass panel but as it will be hard to read from the Right Hand passenger seat, climbing and approach attitudes together with appropriate power settings will need to be taught particularly well in order to achieve acceptable airspeed on approach and landing.
On the subject of different aircraft, we are using a Tecnam P92 for training at Broken Hill. Whilst I still prefer the Jabiru overall, the Tecnam is easier to land well and appears capable of handling cross winds better than the J170. Its worse fault, in my opinion, is that when taxying in a strong cross wind you really need 3 hands, as it is not possible to control the stick by hand whilst keeping a hand on both the throttle and brake lever. It is a great pity that neither aircraft are factory fitted with toe brakes, especially the Tecnam which is in a much higher price bracket. It doesn't even have a stall warning system which I found most surprising.
Never-the-less, it must be a good trainer as we recently sent our first Broken Hill Student Solo with less than 10 hours in his log book. Tate Banning won the flying scholarship run by the Broken Hill Aero Club which was sponsored by the Radford Family, and has certainly made the most of it.
In conjunction with Riverland Sport Aviation who these days also operate a Jabiru J170 for hire and fly, we recently conducted the first of what is hoped will be regular "Hangar Talk" gatherings at the Renmark Airport Club rooms. The RA-Aus film "Normalization of Deviance" was played and the gathering of about 25 pilots and student pilots were encouraged to comment and ask question of the CFI (yours truly).
This led to much discussion, covering such subjects as appropriate radio calls, inbound and outbound procedures, forced landing areas around the airport, circuit joining and go-round procedures plus many more. The consensus was that the evening was well worthwhile with several subjects suggested for the next one scheduled in two months' time (April 12).
We recently had an elderly gentleman present with a 3 hour T.I.F Voucher purchased for him by his kids for Christmas. Whilst he was keen to try his hand at the controls, he considered himself to be too old to go the full distance to a Pilot Certificate but asked if the "lesson" could be divided into two sessions with the first upstream and the second downstream along the Murray River.
This provided him with a memorable experience which he loved and made a nice break for yours truly from the usual grind of circuits and bumps, stalls, steep turns and simulated forced landings.