Sunday, February 16, 2020

Flying - Removing Winter Rust From My Wings

Today the weather was finally favorable with clouds lifting and weather described as severe clear along with only light winds.

Pete had the plane checked out from 12-4, so I grabbed it from 4-7.

As it turns out, while Pontiac and immediate area was all sorts of clear by noon, areas farther out were pretty marginal so Pete just did some local flying and pattern work and was back by 2, and he let me know so I headed to the airport then.

Pete had filled the plane up with gas when he was done, and we chatted for a bit, then I did my preflight and then got ready to head out.

Having not flown for over 90 days (Ugh!), it was time to get current again. Everyone else had the same idea and the pattern was pretty full.

Clouds were absent and winds were from 8-11 knots variable from 260-290 degrees, which was nice.

First takeoff was quite nice and and the plane took off like a homesick angel. It was good to get into the air again.

I had to fly the runway heading out a good distance for spacing before turning crosswind - it was a very, very, far crosswind, with a resulting super-lengthy downwind. Then following a twin Engine Seneca we did an extended downwind for traffic and the approach was from miles out.

The snow made it all look rather pretty on the downwind leg.

Not a perfect approach, but still, I managed to put her down right on the numbers and was turning off at Juliet taxiway with no problem. Impressively, the landing was rather smooth and soft for not flying for so long. No bounce, no smack, just a nice shift from flying to rolling without much of a bump at all. This was happy-making. So do it again to prove it's not a fluke.

Then 3 more times around the pattern and it was good, with nice smooth landings. I also did some takeoffs without putting in 10 degrees of flaps for a change of pace, (DCT tends to insist on 10 degrees for takeoff, the POH says no flaps needed so there's some interesting debate there) and they were quite smooth.

Tower got so busy they switched everyone after landing to Ground just to taxi back to the runway. Typically Tower would have you stay with them and just taxi back to the runway, but they were getting a bit busier than usual. I put in a request for a northeast departure which was passed along to the tower and approved. They were likely just glad to get someone out of the rather packed pattern!.

So, off I flew towards Romeo and headed to the GM Proving Grounds for some maneuver practice, and climbed up to 6,500 for some maneuvering room.

Steep turns were, well, steep, and do need some work. Stalls were to full stall (past the horn, through the buffet to the nose drop) and I had decent recoveries. I have a flight review coming up and I could use some more practice to get it all up to spec.

Then, back to Pontiac where it was not quite as busy, but still a fair bit of traffic going on. Reporting in from 12 miles out to the northeast, I was told to do a report on a 2 mile right base entry to 27R. Which was pretty typicaly and expected.

Then a Van RV came along moving faster than me, and they slotted him in before me on 27R and had me divert to a straight in approach for 27L.

This was fun - the big runway on a straight in approach from about 8 miles out.

A nice, super-smooth landing to finish it off, and they let me roll on to Kilo taxiway and then cross 27R to get back to the hangar row where the plane is hangared. The controllers did a very good job handling all those aircraft, and I said thank you to them as I headed off.

I logged the time, plugged in the oil and cabin heaters, wrapped the plane up in its insulated blanket, and put it to bed.

A darn good flight to shake the rust off and finally get some flying time in.

1.6 and 5 surprisingly good landings.


B said...


Aaron said...

DCT = Flight school where I finally got my private done. They definitely had some different procedures in operating their aircraft.

Not sure if they did the flaps thing to get you in the habit of going through flap configurations for takeoff (you would use 1 notch for standard, 2 for soft/short) or what. I'll have to ask them next time I see them. Not a huge deal all in all but kinda interesting that they always insisted on it and its not necessary and doesn't really affect the takeoff much at all.

B said...

Yeah, so far I have not found an aircraft that NEEDED flaps to get airborne in a "normal" runway.

THe Warrior I fly occasionally certainly doesn't, nor do the 172's, 150's or even my 182.

if I do full flaps in the 182 at takeoff I can be airborne in like 200 ft with full fuel and 2 people. Climb performance kinda sucks at first though.