I knew it was going to be bad, upper winds a whopping 30 knots from the north. My groundspeed calculated to be 70 odd knots on the way out but 130ish on the way back. My fears were confirmed by flight services who, while reassuring me that the ceilings and general weather were going to stay good, it was going to be by their words “a bumpy ride”
Funnily enough, this didn’t bother me unduly. I wasn’t going to be attempting any fancy airwork, I just needed to keep the plane pointing in a straight line. I even had a little bit of altitude to play with, once I was outside the practice area and away from Terminal’s control zone, I could fly at either 3500 or 5500 to find some clean air.
Sure enough she was a little sporty on the way out, right through 3500. Beyond that, as I hoped we found some smoother air, the strong winds working in my favour as our 70 knot ground speed meant that I had ample time to figure out where I was and navigate accordingly.
A few initial hiccups aside I was amazed that I actually managed to spot Muskoka airport from quite a ways out. Initially I was very excited about this fact, then I dialled it back a little, suddenly conscious of the fact that a pilot being excited about spotting an airport might not be exactly reassuring to the passenger in the back. A passenger who was a little quiet by this point!
The approach to the runway itself became a little more than sporty, maybe even upgraded to “feisty” but I was completely unconcerned from a flying perspective, Muskoka’s runway is massive, almost twice as long as what I’m used to. I had plenty of room to sort it all out.
The runway was slightly snow covered, just enough that I couldn’t really see the centreline. Not bothered at all, with no visual centreline I didn’t I have to worry about Bob bitchin’ when I missed it!
Plane down, first time. No bouncing, no worries. I brake, backtrack and report clear of the runway.
We park up and I breathe a long sigh of relief. There and down in one piece.
The trip back, not so much fun though.