Sunday, November 12, 2017

Flying - Rockin' The Pattern in The Gloom

I had planned yet again for a day to fly out to Jackson and meet up with a fellow pilot friend for lunch. Today would yet again not be that day.

The weather was VFR not recommended all the way out there, some icing Airmets and MVFR conditions at Pontiac, and it was lightly raining.

I headed to the airport anyways even as the cross-country was completely out, just to see if I could get in some flight time.

Arriving there at noon, the flight school dispatcher stated there was no VFR flying outside the airport environs but pattern was ok.

So I preflighted N8570F in the light drizzle and started her up.

Visibility was about 5 miles, ceilings were low at 2,000 feet, but the wind started out calm, and the light rain didn't really interfere with flying. It was definetly a pattern day as low overcast was in every direction.

I joined the pattern for 27R traffic after a nice smooth takeoff. I then found the top door latch, which I had closed, was not very latchy, and I got some extra air conditioning from the wind. The main latch held and it was no real issue - don't let yourself get distracted by it and fly the plane first. I followed a Piper Warrior around the pattern and landing number one was very nice and smooth. I then opened and shut the door again but the upper latch still didn't fully latch shut. No big deal and I continued the patterns with a little more wind noise than usual.

Landing number 2 was simply sublime - the plane literally went from flying to rolling with no perceptible impact with the ground. That was a landing to savor.

Pattern number three was fun as I was to follow a Diamond and couldn't pick it out of the soupy, greyish sky for nothing. I finally caught sight of it turning base and then continued my downwind and came in and did another nice landing adjusting for the extended downwind I took while trying to find it, and then landing as it did the go part of a touch and go.

There were a few jets coming in on the parallel runway, and with the wind calm they had a jet do a takeoff from 9R so we had opposite traffic which was interesting with my plane leaving from 27R and us flying past each other.

The wind then kicked up for Pattern 4 blowing from 180 degrees at 8 knots - no big deal at all, and I nicely did the crosswind correction and on the 180 degree direct 8 knot crosswind the upwind wheel touched down first, followed by the downwind wheel and then finally the nose wheel. Just as it should and I was quite happy.

The wind continued to blow from 180-220 degrees between 5-8 knots the rest of the time and it took only a slight bit of crosswind correction to handle.

Pattern 5 I came in a bit high and adjusted and made yet another nice landing, followed by my practicing a short field takeoff for variety, and then 2 more great landings on Patterns 6 and 7 and I decided to call it a day.

No bounces, no hard landings, and every landing was one that I would be proud to call my own and importantly they were all consistently good. To say I had a lot of fun up there today would be an understatement.

1.2 and 7 landings.


B said...

Sure, rub it in.....

Aaron said...

B: Don't worry, you'll get it, just keep at it. Trust me, if I can do it you definitely can do it!

Murphy's Law said...

The best landings always happen when there's no one else there to see them. Keep it up!