Friday, April 4, 2014


Butter Valley has started its "Fairway Improvement Initiative". (Here) Lots of pipes and connectors and heavy equipment are crisscrossing the fairways to improve the golf course. For a pilot, that can be a challenge. As I taxied from the hangar I made sure to stay away from the new hazards as well as keep aware of golfers and stray golf balls as I approached runway 34 for takeoff. All went well.

But when we started the winds were light and variable. As the afternoon turned to evening the winds became more steady from the south so I decided to use RWY 16.

16 is an interesting runway. Final brings you across a nice wide farmer's field to cross a country road to a turf landing before you reach the asphalt strip. The strip is a STEEP downhill grade, if you haven't landed on the turf its best to go around. As we taxied to the approach end I found a trench recently dug for the irrigation line. It was filled in but I hadn't inspected the work. Being cautious I decided to line up prior to that line of new construction. ("Nothing so worthless as the altitude above you or the runway behind you...") Still plenty of room for Sally to take off and we were airborne just as we reached the asphalt.

The challenge was coming back in. I wanted to land beyond the new irrigation line but prior to the asphalt. We like challenges.

Video here: Irrigation

Practice Precautionary Emergency Landing (PPEL) or Emergency Landing Pattern (ELP). This procedure can be used when you suspect an engine problem. Its still running but something isn't quite right and it could quit at any time. The idea is to turn toward the nearest runway and climb at best speed (Vy) to get to a point where you can glide to a "High Key", a position over the runway 2000' above field elevation.  Then use a gentle spiral to reach a "Low Key" at Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) and adjust as necessary once "the field is made". I can use more practice as my pattern was a bit too tight (e below). Try this sometime.

Video Notes:

  1. It was darker due to cloud cover and time of day. I was glad to capture the glass panel.
  2. I tried using "Picture in Picture" for the first time.
  3. I got a haircut (Tom, not military but close enough)
  4. I ordered a prop filter from Aircraft Spruce. That may cure my exposure problem (or make it worse).

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