Thursday, May 05, 2016

Flying Lesson #49 - Crosswinds Blow, And They Really Suck

This morning it had evolved to pretty much clear skies by 9am and I decided to do some solo pattern work.

Winds were forecast and actually at 7 knots at 330, so not terrible for Runway 27 and I needed more crosswind practice.

Crosswind practice is like spinach or broccoli- you may not like it but you need to do it.

So I did a good preflight in N73455 and got clearance to taxi and then takeoff.

Winds while I was up doing the pattern quickly increased to 11 knots at 360 and then up to 12 knots which is right at my endorsed limit and its a full 12 knot crosswind factor which is my crosswind limit.

So I come in for a landing on 27R and it's not good at all, I'm not handling the crosswind right even as I think I'm properly cross-controlling it, but I'm just not lined up as I should be.

So instead of doing something stupid, I do a go round.

I then do a couple more go-rounds, one of which is just before I touchdown - could I have gone with it and landed at that point? Maybe, but it didn't feel right or look quite right, and when in doubt, go round. Basically, I'm really just not getting this today and not enjoying myself. On the other hand, my go-rounds are really frickin' excellent and safely executed.

Since this is not working, I ask to try Runway 36, and Tower nicely obliges. Tower is actually very solicitous at this point clearly seeing I'm not having the best time of it. They're good helpful folks.

Runway 36 at 2,582 feet is a lot smaller than 27R at 5,676 and 27L at 6,521. It's thinner too at 75 feet wide so it looks like you're landing on a very small spot indeed. First time landing on it solo and I have only landed on it once before. Oh, and the wind then shifts to 340 at 12 so I still get to practice a crosswind landing.

So I settle down, get in the pattern, come in final and then I bounce it nice and high, so I go to full power and do yet another go around as I'm not going to unsafely bounce the plane down the short runway trying to force it to stay down. Am I having fun yet? Why yes, yes I am.

I do another pattern and then get it down on 36 with a really nice flare and touchdown.

I thanked the Tower for their assistance as well as their patience and taxied the plane back to the Flight School.

One darn good landing, 5 go rounds, .7 hours of crosswind fun and lots of things learned with one solid landing.

On the upside, I can commend myself for the decent judgment in doing the go rounds and for requesting 36, not to mention settling down enough to land the plane. On the downside, I really need some higher crosswind landing work as while I'm ok with 4-7 knots the 12 knots was too much, so I'm going to book some instructor time pronto.

Interestingly enough, Will was up in another plane in the area and listening in and texted me to see if I was ok after I landed. He said I was making all the right calls to go around and he's happy I made safe decisions while flying.


Excelling in Mediocrity said...

Glad good judgement prevailed.
I head once that wisdom and good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement and lack of wisdom.

Flugelman said...

Something that worked for me in the wayback when were forward slips to a landing. You get the feel of the cross control without the nasty drift to be concerned with. I don't know if that technique is still taught as a way to lose altitude in an approach but it is effective and gives you another tool in your arsenal.