Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Unexpected

Our first flight had been cut short by the weather. Thunder cells were building over the gulf coast and moving east toward the northeast Tampa suburbs. We got in some taxi practice and did one lap in the pattern before deciding to call it quits. The weather was worse than forecast and arrived sooner than expected.

This time the weather was great. There would be storms in the afternoon but this morning's flight would be fine. We took off on course for RWY23 until over the interstate, then turned east to get away from the Class B airspace. A part of the lesson was to fly rectangular pattern using a ground reference to simulate the airport environment. We found a long narrow lake to use as our runway and exercised the procedures need to fly the landing pattern. I stressed the need to be prepared for the unexpected and we practiced a low approach and "go around" a few times before heading for home.

KVDF was busy today with a lot of King Airs and other twins participating in a Customs and Border Protection exercise. As we entered on our 45, a Seneca announced an extended downwind and a Navajo called 5 mile final for straight in RWY23. I didn't see the Seneca so opted to do a 360 and come in behind him. The Navajo entered on an extended upwind as #3. All aircraft in sight, I concentrated helping my student with his cues as we turned base leg. It was then that the Navajo called to tell the Light Sport (me) that the Seneca had just run off the runway!

We had just practiced this. After initiating the climb we stated our intentions to follow the Navajo to RWY18. (Nice to have a choice.) A normal landing followed by a careful taxi back to the terminal. By the time we parked the maintenance crew was on their way to airplane.

* No one was hurt. Looks like the nose gear collapsed, but still an undetermined cause. By the time I left the airport there we a number of plain white cars with no hubcaps (FAA) coming onto the airport grounds.

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