Monday, April 03, 2006

Crosswind component

My flying lesson was booked for 1:30pm today and it did take place.
On arrival at Blackbushe I had a look at the windsock and it was showing a significant crosswind from the north west on a day when I was due to practice different types of landings and takeoffs. When I checked in I was advised that I would be flying in G-BLWV but to wait as Christian as currently flying. I sat in the lounge area and watched the runway activity and the windsock. I was feeling quite nervous about the conditions.
After 15 minutes Christian was back at the club offices and I was given the keys and asked to check out Whiskey Victor.

My ferry for the day.

As I was leaning into the cockpit I could feel the cold wind blowing around my legs and hear it whistling through the partially open door. Oh well, let’s just get the external checks done. 5 minutes later I climbed into the cockpit, adjusted the seat and got strapped in. It was much warmer with the doors shut but the aircraft was shaking about in the gusting wind. I did as many of the internal checks as possible until I got to the point of starting the engine where it was sensible to wait for the instructor. Christian arrived and got strapped in. I soon got the engine started and taxi information. After taxi, power checks, etc we took off in the short field configuration on runway 25. This was with 10 degrees of flap and holding the brakes on whilst applying full power. As soon as we had three greens I released the brakes and after a short take off roll we were in the air. I was a bit surprised at how much the aircraft was getting affected by the gusting crosswind but this reduced once I took out the flap. There was only a maximum of one other aircraft in the circuit throughout the 55 minute flight so we were able to practice glide approaches, flapless landings, normal landings and a go-around. The crosswind was varying significantly and on a couple of occasions when calling final the wind was something like 350 at 17 knots. As the runway heading is approx. 250, Christian said that if I was taking the test I would need to go-around as the crosswind component exceeded the allowable maximum for the C152. I landed anyway and the wind was probably not as bad as reported. Christian did say that I should pay more attention to the reported wind and direction from the tower.
My last approach was to be a glide approach. I was put off a bit by an aircraft back taxiing down the runway just as I reduced the engine power. The aircraft turned at the runway threshold and took off, but I had extended my approach a bit and needed to apply some power to compensate and certainly did not need any flap. The resulting landing was rather poor as I flared too early. It just goes to show how one can be put off by unusual circumstances. Christian said that I should have continued on the correct glide and if I felt that there was going to be a problem with the departing aircraft to go-around.
Back at the apron we went through the list of things I had improved upon and also the inevitable list (getting shorter) of things to think about. These included thinking about the crosswind component and ensuring that I used the correct combination of aileron and rudder when landing in the crosswinds.

I had enjoyed the lesson, despite the tricky conditions and a dry mouth.

My next lesson is in a week.

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