Saturday, December 19, 2015

Flying Lesson #30 - Stable Landings In Unstable Winds

Today we had winds gusting from 20-30 knots from 250 to 310 degrees. There was also a wind shear warning with a report of a 10 knot drop on final for runway 27.

So it was gonna be a very fun pattern flying kind of day.

Sean had thought we might take a break from patterns and do some unusual attitudes and other stuff, but there was reports of icing at regular flying altitudes and a lowish ceiling, so pattern work it was.

Right as we got clearance to take off we got a wind shear warning via the tower from another aircraft that had just landed and he had noted the wind had just dropped out 10 knots on short final.

The first time around it was kinda fun with a decent crosswind and a real fast downwind. I had a good pattern and kept the airspeed up 5 knots higher than usual on final to account for the potential 10 knot drop.

Sure enough, there it was, but I still landed ok.

Next time around I had a fun time with the wind really whipping us around, but I still got it on a stabilized approach and landed fine with an aileron into the wind and the rudder keeping the nose on the runway as I adjusted the throttle for the wind that was coming and going.

I said to Sean "That one was kinda sporty wasn't it?" He said "Yeah, but you handled it well."

Ah, now that was happy-making, At this point he's not touching the controls much if at all and only occasionally advising me to add or take out some power, and I progressed to figure out pretty much all of those adjustments on my own out on this hop today.

So we continued to do patterns and the wind shear started to ease up, but the shifting winds did not, and I kept on going.

I had one particularly crappy pattern but then made an excellent landing even so and then the subsequent patterns were pretty much on.

There were a few more planes coming by and in the pattern but traffic was pretty light for a Saturday morning. I guess the snow and icing from last night kept most people away.

Of the 10 landings, 2 were great, 6 were really good, one was good, and one was with a main wheel bounce. I still need to flare a bit more on average but it's really getting there.

That's 10 more landings, and one more hour in flight. It's also now me with a heckuva lot more confidence that I can really land, do a stable approach, and handle the plane even in some variable wind conditions.


OldAFSarge said...

Sounds like you're doing great Aaron!

Aaron said...

Thanks! It looks like it's finally coming together.