Sunday, April 09, 2017

Flying Lesson #113 - Fun Finding An Archer's Crosswind Limit

I did the preflight and there was a brief pause as the instructor had to hunt down the missing key to the plane.

With that resolved, I used the re-discovered key to start up the pane and get rolling. I let Ray know that from this moment forward unless it's a safety issue where he needs to take it, I should do everything on the plane from setting the countdown timer for switching the tanks to the GPS to everything. Ray said that was fair. So I got everything underway and we got instructions to taxi to 27L via Uniform, this was a tad different as normally its to 27R all the time.

Interestingly enough, 27R was closed and as we crossed it on Uniform to get to 27L we could see why. A Bonanza with collapsed landing gear was lying sadly on 27R which was closed as the FAA was inspecting the crash so we got to use 27 Left, the big boy's happy runway, with a right pattern and yes there was lots of low level wind shear along with crosswinds galore. Some patterns got extended to handle the traffic coming in and out which was no problem. 27r also had a portable lighted flashing X setup at the end showing it was closed from the air.

Once I took off there was a whole lot of bouncing going on, a fair bit of effort to keep the left wing from coming up from the wind and rudder to keep the airplane along the centerline of the runway. Indeed, on one landing the bottom literally dropped out - the wind stopped and the plane landed and right quickly too.

Even with that I was actually feeling pretty good. Heck, if I'm going to be a flight student forever might as well enjoy the damn ride.

I decided that I was only going to be using the first two setting for flaps (10 and 25 degrees) and not using the 40 degree third position , but Ray did have me use it on one landing just to see how it felt, and the Archer's flaps certainly are less effective and not nearly as draggy as a 172s and the Archer still has more control even with full flaps.

Of course, Ray the instructor had to cover up the instruments in these conditions after a couple landings. Even with instruments covered I did some darn good crosswind landings including a nice greaser.

Verily, it was windy as you know what today, with gusts and wicked crosswind starting at 14-20 knots from 290 then from 220 @ 15-20 knots, and then settling on 190 @ 20-24 knots.

At 190 blowing @ 20-24 knots I found the actual crosswind limit on an Archer.

While the Archer's book crosswind is 17 knots, what that really means is you could theoretically land it with no crosswind correction and suffer no damage from side-loading the aircraft from not correcting for the crosswind. The usable crosswind limit is higher - basically it is when your rudder will no longer supply sufficient correction to keep the nose lined up straight on the runway as you have ailerons into the wind. That landing was a tad more exciting and solid but not bad.

Well, with winds at 190 with 20-24 knots for a crosswind factor of 19.7 to 23.6 that's as far as that Archer's rudder will go and the landing was kinda exciting. At that point discretion being the better part of valor and Ray called it while the plane remained unbent. Even bizjets were heavily crabbing into the wind and going wing down on landing at this point.

So we finish up keeping the crosswind correction in while taxiing, and taxied past the poor Bonanza and headed back to DCT. Ray said I handled the crosswinds very well and I just need to be careful not to put too much crosswind aileron in that I overrun the rudder - I'm a bit too used to the 172 in that regard but other than that he said I did great.

That's 6 landings and .9 hours of heavy crosswind fun.


Murphy's Law said...

Find out who owns the Bonanza and see if they want to sell it cheap. I need one of those.

Comrade Misfit said...

If the Bonanza was underinsured, it might be totaled and you can buy it from the insurance company.