Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Shear Madness (Short Field Technique)

Tuesday weather held up pretty well, and even though 69L was down with the transponder and vacuum pump problems I discovered Monday, I was able to swap planes and get two flights in 661, one with Mario, one solo.  With Mario, I worked on short field takeoffs and landings, and I didn't do so well, partly because of the headwind (20+ knots mostly down the runway – I think ATIS said 15G22 or something) and strong gusts and wind shear that we experienced.  It was a real bucking bronco in the pattern, with bad downdrafts in a few places (including climb-out a couple of times – dropped suddenly from 700 fpm to zero, though it didn't get negative). 

We did 6 landings (Mario did one as a demo), and my big problem was flaring high.  On one I think I came close to a prop strike when I let the nose drop after flaring too high.  I was also slow in learning to kill the power, RETRACT FLAPS and apply FULL BACK YOKE as soon as I touched down before applying maximum braking (this is SHORT FIELD landing!).  I need another lesson on this, and some practice, ideally NOT on such a gusty day.  At least I got ONE unfinished requirement out of the way (instruction on short field procedures).  It also showed that I could handle the airplane in some ugly winds.  But…
  • I'm still VERY weak on wind awareness and establishing corrections for the wind on my pattern turns.  I need to think about this on paper AND have a review lesson with Mario on ground reference maneuvers.
  • Need to do this short field stuff on an actual short field next time!
  • When there's a strong headwind on landing, TURN BASE EARLIER so you don't get so far from the runway (normal position would not allow a glide to the runway if you lost power at 2000 feet turning final).
  • Read up and CHAIR FLY the short and soft field procedures before next lesson (next lesson will focus on instrument work, unusual attitude recovery which I should have done before x-c solos, oops).  Maybe make up some "flash cards" with the procedures on index cards to carry in my knee board folder.
  • Some days after this flight I was looking at some of the on-screen training material for Flight Unlimited III (FU3 – good training stuff actually) and found a comment about short-field landing techniques and winds.  It basically said that a windy, gusty day is not the time to be practicing short-field approaches where you are on final at maybe 55 knots with full flaps.  You need to carry extra speed and use less flaps, and this means it isn't really short field practice!  This was not a good day for short field work!
Time: 1.1 hours dual, C152 at ORH, local.

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