Sunday, June 19, 2016

Flying Lesson #57 - Flying On Father's Day

For this lesson Ray had noted I had booked a larger than typical block of time and said "Let's go do something fun".

"Ok", says I.

So we headed to Y83, Sandusky Michigan to get some real soft and short landing practice in on a real grass strip.

Sandusky has a paved Runway 9/27 and a Grass strip 18/36. At 2,300 feet it;s one of the larger grass strips around and it's very well maintained indeed.

Coming in was fun as on approach we had a warning of deer on Runway 27, and sure enough there was one by the tree line right beside Runway 27.

So we came in on Runway 18, with only a slight crosswind and Ray talked me through the combination short and soft landing - airspeed 61, full flaps, keep a little power in until the wheels touch and maintain full back pressure.

Very cool landing indeed, a grass field feels completely different.

Then we kept the plane moving and back-taxied to the start of the runway.

Then I got to do a real soft field takeoff - flaps 10, full power, nose all the way up and as the stall horn rings and the plane lifts off ease up on the back-pressure, let the airspeed build in ground effect and at 70 knots do a zoom climb over the obstacle, and there was an obstacle, not to mention an active road at the end of the runway (more on that road later...).

This was fun!

On one landing we caught a gust which lifted us a bit and Ray indicated it was still ok to land even though we floated a bit, as we had the runway length to do it. He then said that for any other grass strip, such a gust is an instant go-round as you won't have the space to land if that happens. Good to know and it was still an excellent landing.

So we did it again five more times and each time I got even better at it. We also had aircraft that came in to land on Runway 27 while we were in the pattern for 18 so we had some traffic management that was worked out.

Then we parked the plane, visited the FBO and its facilities, got a drink of water, chatted to another pilot that was there and climbed back in the plane to head home.

We taxied back to the grass strip and I had it - flaps 10, keep moving, full back-pressure, full power and then ease up and keep it in ground effect, watch the airspeed build, watch a van on the road, hit 70 knots and ZOOM CLIMB! right over the van, which then spins out just a bit (it was then fine but clearly the driver was startled) as s/he was not expecting that apparently. You had to be there to get the humor of it, but it was rather funny at the time. An excellent takeoff indeed.

Then back through some light turbulence to KPTK and I did a nice landing and that was the end of an excellent lesson.

That's 2.3 hours, 6 soft/short field landings, 1 regular landing treated as a soft field, and 2.3 hours cross-country time. A really great flying lesson for Father's Day.

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