Gusty Conditions

The skies are amazing today.  It’s 81 and breezy on the ground.  I’m flying at 5:30 this evening and I can’t wait to get to the airport.  It’s calling my name, and I can’t get back there fast enough.

Wilgrove 8A6
Wilgrove 8A6

I check out the wind sock on the top of the building, and it’s moving steady and strong. This could be fun!  I love when it’s a little bumpy up there.  You have to work a little harder to keep it level and that’s good practice weather.

During pre-flight, I notice that Juliet’s a little low on oil, so I let Robert know so we can get it remedied.  He brings the oil back and shows me where to add it.  Once that’s done, I continue my check out of her, and she looks ready to go.

Juliet
Juliet

We had a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) in affect today for Charlotte and no-one could fly because of a special event. It covered Wilgrove, so the planes were grounded from 10am-2pm today.  My flight is the first one of the day that was able to go, and I’m excited about flying.

Once I’m finished with the checklist, I taxi out, do the run-up and announce that I’m departing runway 35.  It’s windy enough today that I have to hold the yoke and position my ailerons so that I can keep it straight on the runway.  I can feel the plane wanting to lift before we are up to speed but I keep it down until we are at takeoff speed. I pull back firmly and we are in the air.  As I clear the trees, I feel the wind pick up and start to toss us a bit.  I hold a strong right rudder and shift the yoke so that the ailerons position correctly to compensate for the crosswind we are getting.  As I turn crosswind, I can feel we are getting a strong tailwind now.  I realize when I’m turning downwind that it’s pushing me further out than normal, so I have to angle back to get parallel with the runway.  We are still drifting with the wind pushing so I watch my heading and make the adjustments to keep parallel.  When I turn final, I’m getting a headwind.  As the plane begins to get closer to the runway, I’m really having to work to keep it level as it wants to pull one wing lower than the other and I’m having to use some strong rudder to keep it lined up.  Coming in to land probably doesn’t look very pretty right now but I get it on the ground and it’s a great feeling.

I spent the evening practicing in gusting winds.  It was challenging and fun working to keep the plane level.  The landings weren’t something to brag about tonight, but I didn’t have any big issues either.  I was happy with the way the lessons went tonight.  My instructor even commented that he was surprised at how well I handled the plane in this kind of wind.  He even pulled power on me twice to practice emergency landings.  Every lesson is progress towards my goal.

I was tired when we finished but excited with the lesson. It was a beautiful evening to fly.  Every time I go up, I’m reminded of why I want this so much, and how amazing the birds eye view is to see.  I think if I could fly everyday, I would.

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