Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Staying in the Pattern

Sunday I woke up to beautiful blue skies. As I ventured to the computer I was glad to see very little wind outside and no frost on the ground. Maybe. But when I checked the local weather many of the nearby airports were reporting fog. I decided to wait to see if the sun would burn it off. As I waited clouds from the west started to turn the blue sky to gray and brought the winds with them. Not today. I bought 10 gallons of gas and fueled Sally anticipating some flight time later in the week.

Sally at Butter Valley (7N8)
An early appointment had me out of the house on Monday, again beautiful blue clear skies. Maybe. I checked the weather when I got back home and this time the METARs were good. I made my break at just before noon and went over to Butter Valley. Harry had his door open and was busy working an annual inspection on a C172. We made the visit short this time, good weather doesn't last very long.

Gary wrote in his blog about moving his plane to New Garden (N57) so I planned to fly the 20 minutes south to check it out. I had overflown it a few times but never landed there. But as I did my run up the windsock showed the breeze had really kicked up a notch and a scattered layer was moving in. Nothing on the 696 but local METARs did indicate winds from the East at 10 gusts to 15. Change in plans. We took off to the North and announced "closed pattern".

I haven't had much of a chance to practice any under shooting crosswinds lately and the long base leg does require some patience. The first landing was bit firm. Some pattern adjustments and the next two were sweet. So I got bold and flew one in the no flap configuration. This requires an extended downwind leg to allow for a long, flat final. The gusty winds added a bit of extra challenge while flying the approach about 10 knots faster. Not bad.

The next was a non-standard right hand pattern. Without my normal ground reference points I let the wind blow me too close on downwind eliminating any base leg. I salvaged it with a nice slip an made one of the better landings of the day.

For the next we departed to the west, bore a couple of holes in the sky and made a normal re-entry. All very nice. One more circuit and we called it a day. A wonderful workout.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, some very nice days but the winds have kept me on the ground. Don't really feel like getting beat up for a short hop.

    I got a return call from Jonathan at N57. Hangar rent is $285 and I am still on the list. Runway work will start in 2014 and finish in 2015 and they should be getting an LPV approach. No good approach was my only concern moving there.