Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Flying Lesson #58 - Crosswind Crazyness

Today looked like a beautiful day to fly.

Looked mind you, as the wind was shortly going to do its gusty best to kick my tail all over the sky. Winds were reported as 10 to 16 out of 280. That turned out to be optimistic.

Ray said let's go do some maneuvers on the way to Romeo and then work on your crosswind landings. Since I need both, I said sure, let's do it.

Considering the wind was then about 18 knots out of 280 and Romeo has a Runway 36/18, there would indeed be work on the crosswind landings.

Good preflight etc, and a decent takeoff on my part. We climbed to 2,500 feet, with some minor to medium chop all the way.

Ray had me start minimum controllable airspeed but then cancelled the exercise as the wind, which was gusting, started doing its best to flip us at that speed which was making it rather diificult to maintain MCA safely.

So I flew on out to Romeo and we decided to use Runway 18 as the windsock was slightly favoring it.

Talk about your strong winds and crosswinds! I've never flown a pattern with that much crab in it before. Lots of good practice.

Landings were better but I'm still holding the yoke too tightly and overthinking, but it was better than two lessons ago but still needs work, I need to not grip so tightly and keep adjusting through touchdown in the crosswind. Definitely not easy conditions.

I was getting the hang of it and had made a couple decent landings.

Then the next one started well. I had a good crabbed pattern, good airspeed control and a good approach.

Good final.

Runway made, power out.

Out of the crab, into the side slip.

Coming down. Wing solidly down into the wind. Holding it off. Rudder keeping the nose on center line.

About to touch down, lined up on the runway, looking good. Flaring, just about to touch and....

Ray then yells "I GOT IT!" as the wind suddenly, quickly, and fully shifts and does its best to flip us from the opposite side.

Holy family blog.

Ray got it under control in time and was able to safely land it. He quickly said that was not my fault, it was a sudden wind shift and I had done it just right up to that point and it wasn't me. We discuss it and you can't throw full power in for a go around at that point as that will flip the plane into the ground, you have to neutralize the ailerons and then counter the wind, all in very little time indeed at ground scraping altitude. Such a recovery is definitely above my ability at this point.

That was not a happy-making experience and if it was just me in the plane at that moment it would have been very bad indeed. So I get my breathing back under control, and taxied back and took off again with quite the crosswind takeoff. The winds are still nastily shifting so we headed on back to KPTK as time was getting short.

Lots of bouncing around on the way back and at KPTK the winds were from 300 degrees shifting, and blowing at 15 gusting to 22, so Ray took the landing which was a decent idea especially with yes, another last minute gust near touchdown, and he decided his next student was going to have a ground session as the winds were just getting too nasty for students.

Lots of stuff learned, 1.5 hours, 5 cross-wind landings and one near-death experience. Whew.


jon spencer said...

Good lesson, sometimes you do everything correctly and "stuff" still happens. Good thing there was a I.P. aboard.

Aaron said...

Yep, IPs are good to have around, that's for sure. Kinda scary that I was doing everything right and it still almost went very wrong though.