Saturday, October 29, 2016

Flying Lesson #85 - Getting Back To Standards - Good Landings In Gusty Winds

Today was marginal VFR with 2,400 foot ceilings or so and gusting winds.

When I was scheduled to fly the winds were forecast to be (and in fact were) gusting 12-20 knots but right around 270 degrees (or 260-300 at times) so mostly lined up with runway 27R which was rather convenient.

About an hour before the lesson Ray had texted to see if I still wanted to go given the conditions and I said based on my checking the weather ( rocks) while going elsewhere VFR was pretty much out, it should be ok for pattern work. Besides I need pattern work.

Ray said that sounded good to him.

So I got to the airport and it was pretty quiet. Apparently all the other students had cancelled their flights.

During the pre-flight of N73455 the Piper Cub stationed at the field went by.

We'd be seeing him later in the air.

So after a good taxi and run up we had clearance to takeoff from Runway 27R but the controller asked us to fly left traffic. That was kinda strange as that puts you across 27L's zone and then the downwind is on the opposite side of 27 L and the base back to 27R crosses the approach path for 27L.

It turns out he did that as the next plane was going to depart 27R with a northern heading so it got us out of his way. It made for a weird pattern that felt very, very wrong as I was crossing 27L's departure and approach paths. Since no one at the time was departing or arriving on 27L it made it better.

The first pattern was fun with some neat gusts, and a massive kick when we flew over the lake which Ray had told me to expect, and quite a crab angle, but it felt pretty decent. Gusts and crab angles were the order of the day, as was a shifting wind that varied from 260-300 but often was kind enough to hang around 270. The landing was pretty decent and they got better from there.

The next pattern the tower had me fly straight out and not turn crosswind until they called it. They were fitting in the Piper Cub for spacing and it all worked out nicely with him on short final by the time we turned base. Since the 172 is faster than the Cub it worked out pretty well.

I then had another decent landing, still a little flatish as my flare tends to be rather consistently not enough soon enough. Part of the fun is doing this with a crosswind correction and trying to roll the crosswind in, pull back to get the elevator in and keep everything lined up.

A few more planes came in and went.

The next one I was pulling back more and Ray kinda helped get me to do more so we ended at full elevator by the time we touched down and it made for a nice gentle landing. That seemed to have helped me "get it" and the next two landings I did were quite nice and A+s in Ray's book. Then I did another one to make sure I knew what I was doing and while not perfect in that I had touched down before full extension I then said I wanted to do another one and then did a darn good landing if I say so myself.

I felt pretty darn good and a lot better than I have in quite awhile - I was pretty good at judging if I was too high or too low on base and final and did all the adjustments accordingly and it was a lot better, and I was using trim more t take the pressure off the controls to quit being so ham-fisted.

In short a darn good lesson and I'm feeling a heckuva lot more confident and feeling like I may actually be able to get this, which is better than I've felt in awhile.

1.1 hours and 8 landings.


juvat said...

Not meaning to be a grammar nazi... but..."gusting 12-120 knots"...I'd probably kept it in the hangar. Bold pilots /old pilots yannow. Kidding, of course!

Aaron said...

juvat: I did nazi that typo. Fixed, thanks. 120 would be right out.

Comrade Misfit said...

I did a taildragger checkout/refresher at KLWM back in the day in a L-4. The tower had everyone else flying left traffic and had us flying right traffic.

Old NFO said...

Gusting winds DO make the approach to landing 'interesting'... :-)

Murphy's Law said...

Winds are fun! See what you're made of. Sounds like a long-overdue good day out.