Crosswind Landing Practice

I love being the 1st one at the hanger in the morning; its so peaceful waking up the planes and opening the hanger door as the morning rays of sun cut through the darkness and glisten off the shining wings 🙂

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I thought with the hurricane/tropical storm moving up the east coast todays lesson would be cancelled but thankfully KDMW is northward enough as to avoid any real affects aside from some shifty winds. Those winds made for some much needed crosswind landing practice.

I’ve said before that the hardest part of becoming a pilot is landing the aircraft from 100ft off the round through roll out to turn onto the taxiway. Crosswinds only add to the difficulty and excitement. Today the airport Automated Terminal Information System ATIS stated winds at 040 degrees 4 to 7 knots. The ATIS is an automated system that broadcasts the conditions on the ground at an airport on a designated radio frequency for a specific airport. You tune into it and listen before takeoff and in the air prior to landing. Today served as a good lesson that a report of 040 degrees at 4 knots does not mean an easy landing.

The winds at 1700 ft down through 100 ft were gusty and variable, much stronger than 4 knots. That meant I had my work cut out for me as I constantly had to make corrections to stay lined up on the runway as I attempted to stabilize my approach to land, dancing on the rudder pedals, constant yoke corrections, and power adjustments all coordinated and recoordinated every few seconds all the way down final through landing. Its a skill learned through hundreds if not thousands of landings of which I am far from perfecting.

I flew with a new instructor this morning which was really helpful. He provided great advice and helped me identify specific areas where I can improve my technique such as rounding out slightly sooner, my focal point when looking down the runway to allow me to detect my sink rate to time my flare properly, and correctly being able to feather in power when I float on landing to ease in instead of dropping to the runway. He said not to be too critical of myself and that today I did well in the deceptively difficult winds. And that even after having flown thousands of hours he never takes his landing abilities on a day like today for granted. Never let your guard down. Never assume its easy and that you got it. Always keep your head in the game and be sharp. The moment you think to much of your your abilities you will find yourself in trouble!

We made 10 loops around the pattern for 10 takeoffs and 10 landings, all successful though all different due to the shifting winds and all providing a different learning experience. File those back in my toolbox for later recall.

Checking weather prior to the flight and setting up a camera download so it do its thing while I fly.

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This little guy is getting some maintenance and tuneup.

 

 

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