Saturday 14 October 2017

Number 74: Learn to Fly a Plane

Completed 11 August 2017
Archerfield Airport, Aeropro Eurofox-3K / Aerotrek A240

With my fear of heights, I had the idea of taking the easy way out with number 72. I was planning on learning in a large professional flight simulator however, my plan was highjacked when a few friends from work chipped in to buy me a “Learn to Fly” voucher from Groupon for my birthday. So instead of keeping my feet on the ground, in a comfortable 747 flight simulator, I was heading out to Archerfield Airport to actually fly with FlightScope Aviation.

Once I had the ticket, I had about three months until it expired… and because I had so much going on at the time I ended up leaving it until fairly last minute. But called and booked it in for a Friday afternoon and took the day off work.

When the day rolled around it was a matter of catching a train out to the area and then I just Uber’d to the airport. I met the guys, including my flight instructor, Rob. We went through some induction and informational briefings, few safety guides before heading out to do the flight inspection. We would be flying in a light-sport aircraft, Aeropro Eurofox-3K aka Aerotrek A240, so I dug up some specs for the aircraft:

Aeropro Eurofox-3K aka Aerotrek A240

Crew: 1
Capacity: 1 passenger

Length: 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 9.12 m (29 ft 11 in)
Height: 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 10.45 m2 (122.5 ft2)

Weight and fuel
Empty weight: 293 kg (644 lb)
Gross weight: 561 kg (1,235 lb)
Fuel capacity: 85Ltrs
Fuel Burn: 20 L/hr
Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912S, 100 hp (75 kW)

Maximum speed: 230 km/h (143 mph)
Cruise speed: 193 km/h (120 mph)
Stall speed: 64 km/h (40 mph)
Range: 966 km (600 miles)
Rate of climb: 5.1 m/s (1,000 ft/min)

Flight inspection, we walked around the aircraft, checking wings, bolts and all things large and small. Just to make sure we wouldn’t fall out of the sky during flight, a few minutes well worth the time. Then it was into the plane, getting our runway from the control tower and taxiing to the runway. I was then told by Rob to grab the control stick and take off, now I had played MS Flight Simulator before but it was quite different being there and being in control. But we accelerated, and I pulled up as we did angling us as at about 10-15 degrees incline. Initially, my brain was panicking during our first turn, but over time I started to get used to it and feeling a bit more comfortable.

We grabbed some photos as we flew out to Mount Cotton and then did an accelerated, banked corner around Mount Cotton which involved pulling up while banking and accelerating. After that, we headed back to the airport against a headwind, which made a noticeable difference with both how hard you had to fight to control the aircraft and the amount of turbulence we encountered. Which for the record, is something you can feel a lot more in a smaller plane, also doesn’t help your brain when you can see the ground clearly out of the door but we made it and landed safely. Had a short chat with the guys, before heading home and now marking Number 74 as done.


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