Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lesson Number 10 - Windy!

Like any other day that I'm booked in to fly, it's always a waiting game to see if I actually will be going flying - 'The phonecall' is how I nickname it. Usually it comes about two hours before my scheduled ETD which was 13:00hrs this time around. 

I woke up to the sound of a ringing phone, legged it down the stairs, and answered it, "Hello, Jake, would you be able to come down to the club now for your flight as the weather is only forecast to get a lot worse..." Overjoyed that I would indeed be flying, I said yes, not like I'd ever say no or anything. Oh and by the way, this was at about 09:30hrs, not often I'm up that early!

The main concern that the club informed me of, was the wind, it was at 30-35 knots and gusting at 45, they said to come on down anyway and we'll go from there. I arrived at the club around an hour after the phone call, both excited and nervous as I'd never flown in such windy conditions.

My CFI, Michael, was still up flying when I arrived but would be back on the ground in about 15 minutes so my dad and I, sat in the lounge and spoke about what flying would be like in the windy conditions as well as flicking through the mass of aviation magazines available on the tables. 

Michael arrived back at the club and said to me, at first eye contact, "be ready for a challenge", I laughed, not really sure if he was joking or not... Turns out he wasn't, he told me that we would be doing circuits again like last time, and also that we would only be using one stage of flaps as well as an approach speed of 70 knots rather than 65 because we had such a strong headwind - So I headed out to the aircraft and carried out my internal and external checklists, including checking the fuel, tyre inflation, stall warning, antennas, etc, after completing the checklist, Michael made his way out and got himself into the cockpit in which I was all set to go, we closed the canopy, buckled up and begun taxing to the runway 15 hold while I gathered the airfield information. 

Michael explained to me while taxing that less right rudder would be needed on take off because of the strong crosswind but we would be taking off at a slightly higher speed than usual - 60 knots in this case. 

I taxied the aircraft to runway 15 for take off, lined up, made the radio call and we we went! I done just as Michael had said, and was climbing straight out, flaps up at 300ft, continue at 70 knots until 500ft, make a left turn still climbing to 1000ft almost 90 degrees to our runway heading, though it was more like 100 degrees to compensate for the cross wind.

(Runway 15 is located on the top right of this picture as it was once RWY 16)

Upon reaching 1000ft, I levelled the aircraft off, let the airspeed increase then brought RPM back to cruising speed. I then made a left turn upon passing the mark in which I use to remember to make the left turn, made the radio call, "Scrabo 68, downwind runway 15", and then proceeded to carry out my downwind checks which mainly consists of checking the fuel, mixture, altitude, engine T's & P's, canopy, harnesses, etc, once completed, I made another left turn, now adjacent to the runway , started to reduce the RPM but kept the nose the same attitude, I waited for the airspeed to reduce to below 97 knots then took the first stage of flaps just before turning onto finals in which I began to descend, making sure I cleared a police radio mast at 500ft, I lined up with the center line, carb heat in at 300ft and taking away the speed ever so slightly while I was at it... And that's all there is too it, I was down, applying the rudder, and pushing the throttle to full - I was away yet again.

I repeated the exercise about 4 times before we had to leave it for the day because the wind was simply getting to bad. I ain't gonna lie, it was tough, and it was a challenge, definitely the toughest flying conditions I've flown in, but I enjoyed it, in fact, I think I flown on of my best lessons this time around, I really enjoyed the tough conditions! It felt pretty weird when big gusts of wind hit the aircraft and it was all over the place, such a weird feeling, I guess you just need to experience it to know how it feels!

Just hope Michael's head it okay after hitting it off the canopy when coming in to land the last time around, a gust of about 45 knots hit us and we were all over the place, but I got us back on track and successfully landed - Both funny and fun!

We then had our de-brief in the club house and Michael explained that I'm pretty much ready to go solo, I just need to get my medical and do my air law exam, unfortunately I can't go solo until I'm 16 as well, which is in December, so a bit to wait yet!

Until next time!