The weather this week hasn’t… well, hasn’t been great. Seth made it out to the air field once for an early morning flight, but each day turned rather gloomy. Friday in particular greeted us with 17 knots gusting 29+… Yeah, it was so bad that Seth ran out that morning to double-check our tie downs, as some locally reported gusts approached our take-off speed. To give you an idea, the wind actually broke one of the buckles that secured our canopy cover…
I did dare to brave the slightly less vigorous but “I’ve still got it” wind Saturday morning. Stanley and I met up at 8am for our lesson with stalls and slow-flight on the docket. We reviewed on the ground before lining up on runway 01. One of the things you learn for taxiing is that, on windy days, you have to position your ailerons and elevator in a way that reduces the likelihood of the wind tipping you over. It is even trickier when you’re taking off with a crosswind, as you maintain taxiing position, but as your airspeed comes alive you have to make adjustments for rotation.
Take off was a bit of a mess. We made it off the ground, but climbing was not, as they say in the buiz, silky smooth.
Once we reached 2500 feet or so, things did even out out a bit. Still plenty of surprises, but we were able to work. Slow flight was very cool, I was able to settle in ok and hold our little bird in the recliner chair position (to execute slow-flight in our 150, you are pitched up so far that you’re effectively at cruise power while still only going 60 knots).
Stalls were another story. I was not nervous, the drop during demonstration did not bother me at all, but for some reason, I could not get myself to hold the nose of the plane in rocket-launch position long enough to fully develop stalls consistently. It was actually a bit frustrating.
We will be doing it again, and I will destroy lift.
After this, we did take a bit of time to do an intro to emergency procedures, which consists of bleeding off altitude at 2000 feet per minute and buzzing houses while looking for emergency landing locations. More of that to come, but for the moment we have to land, and that will be a challenge.
You probably know this by now, but our runway is narrow; 33ish feet wide. To add to that, it is surrounded by trees, which creates a current when the winds are strong. Wind blowing in from the north creates a series of waves of air over the field that doubles back on itself at the end of the runway. Picture an ocean wave breaking.
Well, we hit that. Coming in to land, we went from 25-and-change feet above the runway to “oh my god!!!” in nothing flat. Stanley pitched in, and somehow we were still able to hit our flare, but it was a crazy sensation.
Sunday promised to be a bit calmer, so Seth and I planned to meet.
Aaaaaaand, whoever promised that lied. Well, mostly anyway. The wind was still very strong, and after watching a Cherokee as well as another student in a 150 go up like leaves in a hurricane, we decided we would work on our new tie down spot and a few projects around the plane. Seth cleaned all of the plastics, discovered a bee’s nest in our overhead speaker, and worked on plans for adjusting our panel. I replaced the second window latch, because I’m productive.
Wrapping up the day, we had the privilege of spending time with Bob and Jim. They had both stopped by earlier to see what kind of trouble we were getting in to, but considering it was a Sunday evening Jim formally requested our presence at the house of the lord of JoeBangles.
The company was brilliant, and the stories were even better. Crash analysis is a common topic among pilots, and the top lesson of the evening was to not give the in-flight equivalent of a stiff wedgy to a tow plane when you’re the glider they’re pulling.
Everyone was ok. Someone may deserve a swirly.
We finished up at Seth’s, where he spent some time preparing for his upcoming cross country. And by preparing, I mean playing video games.
We wish him luck! Hopefully there will be a video or something about it…