Today was both harder and easier than I expected.

The day started at 0700 well below minimums, but the forecast was for better weather at 10.

They were right.

Clear to 7000 but with a wind at 330 at 7 knots. Cool.

Did the preflight, found water, drained a bit more, found just a trace of water, called the hangar guy, he drained a LOT more, we let it settle, no water. OK!.

Takeoff was pretty good, we flew south and did some turns. The wind made it a bit harder to do ’em smoothly, but I managed. S-turns with the wind weren’t too bad, but then the gusts started. 7 knots gusting to 27. I still made a decent s-turn both starting to the left and to the right, although my altitude control could have been better. I now see why this is a skill I need to master.

Turns around a point were ok, but could have been better. I kept my distances fairly well, but the gust made that a LOT harder than it should have been. Again, my altitude control sucked. I was up and down around the circle, gaining and losing about 200 feet. We also did some practice approaches flying with a road as a simulated runway from 3000′ to about 1500 feet. Again, the wind made me work to keep my course. This was the first time I felt like I was fighting to maintain my course.

Then we did some pattern work, The gusts were more frequent. and my approach was ok, but my course control as I flew over the runway at 100′ was…lacking. Again, I was fighting the gusts. Mike decided to do the landing and demonstrated a crosswind landing on runway 36, with the wind at 320. I understand the concept but need some practice to maintain my heading like that.

My taxiing continues to improve. One thing I did was to hold onto the dash with my left hand so I didn’t start to try to steer with my hand instead of my feet…until I needed aileron to fight the wind.
I’m also figuring out when to use the nosewheel and when to use the brakes to steer, and when to blend them.

1.5 hours.

3 thoughts on “Well,

  1. Yep. I had a few errors when I was learning, too. But I slipped the plane like a pro, and surprised my instructor.

    In one of the flying magazines, I read a story about a pilot who was having the Devil's own time maintaining altitude flying up a valley with a ridge on his left. Another pilot, flying the same valley with the other ridge on his right, was almost gliding while maintaining his altitude. Turns out a strong crosswind set up a mountain wave across the valley, and the first pilot was in the downdraft. The second pilot was in the updraft, and knew what was going on with the wind, and he advised the first pilot, who was surprisd and grateful.

  2. Crosswinds: Use the rudder to keep the nose pointed at the far end of the runway. Use the ailerons to keep the airplane aligned with the centerline.

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