Aviation In Canada

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I recently read a post on another aviation related site that had a person speaking of circuits during his flight training. He mentioned how much he enjoyed them, and then how his instructor told him he would eat those words as time went on. I remember feeling similarly during my training, and eating my words later.

I sometimes found myself back then going up for circuits simply because I couldn't get a plane long enough or didn't have the money to take one for a longer time, all in the name of currency. I started to get discouraged, since circuits were boring. Then I met a member of my new extended family when my widowed mother married a widower. He was an instructor in years gone by, and he encouraged me to take advantage of such opportunities. Basically being forced into circuits was an opportunity? Then he explained it to me.

He asked where I trained. CFB Shearwater (CYAW). What's the shortest runway? 5,600 x 200 feet. Have you even landed on something shorter or narrower? No. Try it. Run with markings on your long runway and pretend the runway is shorter and narrower than you're used to. Set yourself some goals and try to fly the plane to them. Instead of looking at an 8,000 foot runway, see if you can think of it as a 1,500 foot runway by use of the right markings. Also, pretend the runway is only 40 feet wide or some other value, by landing on the centerline markings, or other markings, and considering it a failure if you don't track straight. I thought about it. Having a runway nearly 9,000 feet long and 200 feet wide as my usual piece of pavement, I had become very lax about tracking the centerline or "spot landings". That's a good idea, I thought. What if I had to use a shorter runway? Would I be prepared?

So now, the "forced circuits" are actually looked at as an opportunity, with a challenge in it that makes it kind of fun -- or at least proves an important point about my skill level. In fact, most flights I do now I include a couple of touch and goes for practice in these very issues before my final touchdown . I've made the circuits fun again, or at the very least, worthwhile again.