Another Windy Day

Fairbanks Aviation Day 2014 was yesterday. I found this funny looking aircraft but didn’t have time to go see what it was. Can anyone enlighten me?

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This was a big plane – I was able to limbo under the wing. 5 blade propeller and a tailwheel, interesting.

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Did more crosswind practice today – and my favorite: flying 5 feet above the runway for 1-2 miles.

CFI3 let me to practice on 20R and my first run over there was awesome! CFI3 never even had to tell me when to add/reduce power – I did the entire runway length myself without ballooning or touching the runway. Picture perfect except for ~2000ft at the end of the runway because the wind was stronger there and I forgot how to compensate (aileron to pull one back to center)/I was ineffective when I tried it. But hey, no one is going to rain on my parade – my height was perfect.

I finally got to do right closed traffic off of 20R  so I was flying over a section of Fairbanks I had never gotten to do before. Yay 🙂 Almost accidentally flew over Chena Marina airstrip because I didn’t know where it was (~parallel to 20R, probably about ~6? miles west of the main Fairbanks airport).

The crosswind strengths were all over the place and my flight was really bumpy. Always scary when multiple unexpected wing drops occur ~60ft off the ground – ah! None of my other ‘landings’ were as good as the one described above (acceptably okay for my skill level, but I’m saddened I still can’t properly use aileron to stay above centerline…)….but the last landing was downright awful. I was as crooked as I’d ever been when the wheels touched down. Landed crooked and a bit hard, darn it. Oops. I was already stressed because during that final final leg; it was quite hard to keep the wings level. I was so ready to land and pulled the power to idle without thinking about the wind/rudders.

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Every local university student knows the bridge over the Chena River in town (between campus and the nearest grocery store 😉 ). Today was the first time I was able to pick it out from the air – totally cool.

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Lately, all post flight debriefs have ended with the instructor asking when I’m going to schedule my solo cross country (xc) flight. Unfortunately, when I did my dual cross country flights last year, I ended up having to use different instructors for the day and night flights. To do the solo xc flight, the ‘day xc’ CFI of record has to be the one that does the logbook endorsement.

CFI4 did my daytime xc. He was waiting til I did my night xc with him before giving me my xc endorsement; we were all set to go but his car unexpectedly broke down so I did the night xc with CFI3. CFI4 is currently not in the state and can’t sign my logbook, darn it. CFI2 assures me that an emailed/faxed endorsement from CFI4 will suffice, but I’m thinking that it wouldn’t be a terrible thing for me just to do another day xc flight. CFI2 and CFI3 both seemed surprised that I’d want to do that (because of cost) – but to be honest, it has been a long time since the xc flights last year and I’d be more comfortable with a refresher xc before I went anywhere by myself. They decided that Bradley – Nenana – Clear would be the most economical route with many opportunities for me to practice landings. Once I finish all my stuff for work, I can schedule this flight for a nice calm morning, I’m excited! 😀

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Things to remember:

  • Blustery winds: land with 20 degrees of flaps instead of 30 so airspeed is higher.
  • After a ‘dragging the strip’exercise, full power and do not let the nose come up!, then carburetor heat off. Don’t take out any notches of flaps until high enough (say ~200ft AGL?), final notch of flaps when v_y is established.
  • When taxiing, remember where the wind is coming from, adjust ailerons accordingly (especially when turns are made).
  • Focus on smoother rudder inputs to stay straight.
  • Summer afternoons in Fairbanks are always windy. Pick very early morning morning or evening flights to get calm conditions.
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