Super Crosswind

The winds in Fairbanks were beautifully calm until I got to the airport at 8am. Then there were fast winds across the runway – variable speed at the entire range of altitudes below pattern altitude. Ugg.

I never look for the windsock before takeoff – although I know I really should. After takeoff, the climb just felt wrong. I haven’t quite quantified it yet and I was too shy to ask – but I would bet it was because of the variable winds. I didn’t quite catch the fact that the winds were quite so strong across the runway until short final of the first landing. 20 feet off the runway and I was blown very crooked. I hadn’t been that scared in a plane in a long time – was not expecting wind. Was able to straighten out in time but was so fast I was bumped back into the air in ground effect. Yucky.

But at least I was awake then. Look at the windsock, feet on the rudders. I got a very useful tip from CFI2 today about rudder use: Apply even pressure to both peddles at all times and if one needs to step on one or the other, it gives one more control (so you don’t overdo it) – and that really worked for me! Woohoo!

I had the hardest time today remembering to pitch down when trying to descend. All of a sudden, I’d look and my airspeed was way slow, ahh! Also kept forgetting to use a little more rpm to keep my airspeed up when against the strong winds. Got it eventually and the final 3 landings were actually not bad πŸ˜€

I’m saddened that the winds precluded me from doing any solo time in the pattern or flying solo out to the practice area (I talked my way out of diving into the solo xc’s by first getting to do a ‘close’ solo trip the the practice area) – but the crosswind practice was really good for me.

Pretty cirrus over Fairbanks today - the best example I've seen in a long time
Pretty cirrus over Fairbanks today – the best example I’ve seen. Found time to attempt flying of my crazy looking kite: the Bell Tetrahedron. Here is a picture of my partner in crime walking back with the kite. Couldn’t get enough lift. Assuming it could be done safely and legally, I think flying it out of a Cessna window would be fabulously fun – but the kite may be ripped to shreds ;).

Things to remember:

  • today’s windy taxi – ‘dive away from the wind’

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