Jan 13 2012

Crazy Crosswinds

Category: Lessons,RamblingsDaniel @ 5:42 am

I’ve landed in some heavy winds in my relatively short time as a pilot (see my other postings linked below), but I can only imagine the types of winds commercial pilots see day in and day out.  Apparently there was a storm over Düsseldorf airport in Germany last week, resulting in some great footage of big planes landing in HEAVY crosswinds.  I remember during flight training explaining to my family and friends how during heavy crosswinds you are basically flying at the runway at an angle and only at the last second do you yaw the plane in line with the runway.   The landings on this video definitely exemplify that quite awesomely.  You can just hear how heavy the winds are roaring that day, crazy stuff.  Enjoy!


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Apr 27 2008

Lesson of Many New Firsts

Category: LessonsDaniel @ 8:07 am

The wind was nuts on Saturday morning. When I woke up for my lesson, I was hearing the wind howling around my house and rattling the siding a ton. As such, I figured we may scrub the flight, but after txt’ing my CFI, his response was “My grandma flies in wind worse than this, and she flies a cub!” Once I saw that, I knew it would be a fun and exciting day.

Open arriving to Westosha, I checked the weather reports and saw we had winds 20 knots gusting to 30. If I was flying solo, I doubt I would have flown in such winds, but my CFI said it would be great practice. The takeoff was quite easy as the wind was mostly straight ahead. Control Tower at KenoshaWe flew over to Kenosha Regional Airport (KENW) which this was my first towered airport experience. It was a little intimidating with the fast-talking controller over the radios and I needed my CFI to “translate” and repeat almost everything he said slowly…but I managed. After approaching, we were “clear for the option on Runway 24.” I repeated back the orders and proceeded to make one of my best landings to date. We did a stop-and-go and went around a handful of times, practicing many different variations of landings: flaps, no-flaps, simulated engine failure, too high, too low. Overall, I was VERY satisfied with the quality of all my landings, and my CFI concurred. I was stoked.

Then, my CFI called the tower again and requested if we could go up and visit. We spend about 20 minutes up in the control tower, which was also a first for me. It was pretty slow that day (because of the wind) so there wasn’t much action up there, but it was neat to see how they work and the tools the controllers have at hand.

On the way back to Westosha, my CFI yanked out the throttle and said “we have engine failure, where you gonna’ land the plane?” I was surprised but calmly looked around and saw we had plenty of good farm fields to land on for this simulated off-field landing (another first for me). I picked a field and proceed to glide to base and to final. We were descending and I thought after I was lined up, he’d say “good job” and we’d be done. But we kept descending to (what seemed like) only 200 feet above ground before putting back the power and climbing away. I was seriously thinking we were actually going to land on this farm field! After that, we finished back to Westosha where I somehow managed to land in an absolutely crazy crosswind.

All in all, an incredibly fun and challenging lesson. I logged 1.7 hours of flight time.

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Mar 26 2008

Challenging Windy Fourth Lesson

Category: LessonsDaniel @ 4:59 pm

I’m told that wind can make flying a very difficult experience. I quickly learned yesterday during my fourth lesson how true that is! There were steady west winds of 20+ mph during my entire flight experience. Besides the challenge of the wind, we worked on some pretty complicated stuff (or at least seemed complicated to me at this point). By the end of my lesson, my head was spinning for a variety of reasons:

Wind Blowing Cloud1) We worked more on stalls and recovery procedures. This time my CFI had me stall the plane in various situations (power on, power off, while banking) and recover quickly. Luckily, the plane literally DOES indeed want to fly itself and making the corrections came very natural to me (they are all pretty logical anyways) and the plane reacts fine. However, going up and down in altitude as frequently as we did did twinge my stomach of steel even.

2) My CFI demonstrated a spin/spiral and how to recover. Thankfully, I’LL hopefully never be forced into this situation, but my CFI urged me to experience it (even though it’s not necessary). I must admit, heading straight for the ground and spinning (although I knew I was safe and it was indeed thrilling) is not really fun. I’m glad my CFI had the controls and literally had to work to get the plane to do something this unnatural. I’m always glad to see how much the plane wants to fly straight and normal.

3) S-Turns and Ground Reference Maneuvers. These aren’t normally that difficult, but the winds make it really “fun”. Lots of extra compensating to keep the plane from drifting and going off course.

4) Finally, we had to land in a strong crosswind. This is the “most difficult thing to do in flying” and I guess I did pretty good. Obviously my CFI helped me a ton (honestly, I think he landed)…but seeing the amount of extra that goes into a crosswind landing definitely makes me want to review a few chapters in my reference book again!

Needless to say, this was a very busy and complicated lesson and when we landed I had a LOT to think about and process. I AM excited to get back in the air on Saturday though (if the weather plays nice).

This lesson I logged 1.4 hours of flight time.

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