More crosswind landings

Two days after a nasty high pressure system passed bringing thunderstorms and tornados, it was “nice” and clear. Nice to the casual observer, but quite turbulent for small planes.

Today was a fairly short lesson as we stayed in the pattern and worked only on crosswind landings and emergencies in the pattern. Gene pulled the power on me a couple times on downwind, but instead of needing to find a field and spiral down to it, I just had to shorten my base and final and actually land on the runway without power. It was pretty simple, actually, so I didn’t have any problems with it.

On climbout after one touch-and-go, he pulled the power. “Were would you go now?”, he asked. I knew we weren’t high enough to turn back to the runway, and we had talked about where to land if I lost power on climbout of both 3 and 21, so I knew immediately where I would go. “Over there.”, I said pointing to about 2 o’clock. I headed that way floating at 60 knots and started to make an approach. Gene suggested I try landing more into the wind, so I should’ve gone east a little more and then turned back to the west, but it was too late for that. I went full flaps and forward slipped to head for the field. He called success and go-around, so I did. We entered the pattern for a few more landings.

All of my approaches were different. The wind was doing all kinds of different things to the plane, so inconsistency was the norm. I managed okay, though. I was pretty high on one final and had to go idle power and slip to lose a lot of altitude, but we ended up in just the right place at the end and the landing was fine.

On one of the better approaches, after round-out, I could not get the nose to stay lined up (crazy wind) and it just wasn’t working out. I said out loud shortly after I thought to myself “I don’t like this at all” and proceeded to go-around…with success. Gene said that I read his mind. Just as I said go around, he was thinking the same thing. Plus one for decision making skills.

After only 6 landings, I was pretty beat. Trying to control the plane in the pattern and land repeatedly in this kind of wind is draining. We called it a day, and a good one at that.

Another 0.9 hours brings me to 27.6 total.

On my way to the lesson at about 12:15pm, again on my motorcycle, I saw another car accident. There was a single car that had run off the road; one of the back country roads I like to take for fun. The car had run into a tree head on and looked pretty messed up. Some kind of police vehicle was there assisting the driver, and a few miles down the road an ambulence was on its way — sirens blaring. While this one was a little more disturbing than the one the other night, I still had to chuckle that those cars are dangerous.

Well… it turns out that the guy driving that car was our club’s manager! Jim was recently in the hospital for heart surgery and had apparently been having trouble staying awake. Someone thought that he may have just fallen asleep at the wheel. The accident scene appeared to support that from what I saw.

Jim was taken to the hospital, and released this evening with a broken arm and a cut leg, but otherwise ok. Scary.