Tough choice…But I went flying

So there was a match at the range today….I was tempted. Practical Pistol match. I haven’t done one of those in a while. 

But then again, the weather hadn’t been good for flying all week and today was good, if a bit windy…..and it isn’t forecast  to be good for next week either…..

So I went flying.

Flew to KCMI (Champaign, Il) for lunch. Took MidWest Chick with me…

39 knot headwind, so it took a while to get there (1.2 hours for a bit over 115 or so miles) (we tried as high as 6500 feet, same winds…ForeFlight said they were even worse higher up so we stayed at 4500) , but we got there. Smooth flight, no bumps. I’m falling in love with the STec-55 autopilot. Set it and forget it.

Not my best landing though…Runway 14 had winds at 160 variable at 18 gusting 32…pretty much at my limits. I debated not landing for a just a moment as we approached the airport..but decided to try.

I landed anyway. A long base entry approach as called for by the approach controller and the final was a nightmare of gusting winds…so much so I almost aborted the landing twice….what with the ATIS warning of potential windshear on final and all… But I got down and it smoothed out on short final so I landed. ….and got blown by a gust about 3 feet from touchdown. Very nearly did some agricultural taxiing for a moment. But I got back on centerline and landed and taxiied to the FBO.

Took a crew car and went into town and ate (Chinese AND Pizza). We were gonna look around for a bit, but the visibility was falling back at the home airport earlier than forecast, so we went back, preflighted, and took off for home. We had a 41 knot tailwind at 3500 feet on our way back, so our ground speed was about 175 knots. 39 minutes on the return trip. I did some hand flying just for practice instead of using the autopilot. Very smooth flight though, only one big bump. 

Winds at home were 170 variable 11 gusting 26 on final, lots of updrafts due to mechanical turbulence from the trees a half mile from the end of 18… I planted the plane in a shortfield landing to get it firmly (but smoothly) on the ground. Firm, but not hard. Hit my marks too. What with the headwind, I was nearly stopped in about 350 feet. Lots of other planes in the pattern were having issues on landing. ‘Twas a good day for practice.

1.9 and 2 (as Aaron puts it). All in all, it was a good trip. even if I did push up against my limits.

I’m LOVING the 182. So much smoother than a 172 or a Warrior or Arrow. More stable and a lot easier to fly… and about 30 knots faster in cruise than a 172 for not much more gas.

I’m glad I didn’t go shooting instead.