Friday, 15 May 2015

the wind is not what it seems

I push the throttle in, the engine dutifully produces the maximum rpm I’m expecting and I guide her down the runway until she’s gathered enough speed to decide she doesn’t want to be down on the ground anymore.

Eventually I depart the tarmac and already I notice that the summer heat is having an effect. I keep her nose down until she’s reached a safe enough speed to really start climbing. I make a mental note to talk to E about this. She’s happily plodding away in the circuit now and was looking for tips on how to keep your departure path aligned.

I know exactly what she was finding tricky, I In the winter as soon as you takeoff the increased performance means that you climb out briskly and steeply, you lose sight of the runway fairly rapidly. In the summer you don’t climb as well and can keep sight of the centreline for a lot longer, it certainly help when you are first learning.

If I was cleverer with videos and stuff I’d make a side by side comparison of a summer and winter takeoff, but I’m not. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The phrase “caution wake turbulence” still ringing loudly in my ears, I wonder if I have hit weak wake vortices or just a bit of local windshear as we wobble on the climb out.

Either way this isn’t exactly smooth flying, the wind is weird. It doesn’t feel anything like what is being reported. 090 10G15 is perfectly acceptable. Pretty much right down the runway should be easy with plenty of headwind to bring me down. No nasty crosswinds really to consider.

Except I’m on the downwind and being pushed IN, so that I’m crowding my circuit.


It’s a little roller coastery all round really, the winds are not what they appear to be for sure. I feel slanted on final, like I’ve over cooked the turn but in reality I’m good. I must be compensating for the wind, albeit unconsciously.

A reasonable touch and go (technically it might have been two touch and goes, a little bouncy there!) and off round for the next circuit.

The next circuit is strangely the same yet different. The winds not quite as advertised but the circuit reasonable…. Up to a point.

I’m on final, there is traffic slow to depart. No matter I’m fairly certain that the controller has a handle on this…. He seems a little ticked at me when I tell him I’m going to overshoot though.

In truth it has nothing to do with his traffic spacing management and everything to do with the fact that I’m up here and the runway is down there. I’m staring at four bright shiny whites and have no hope of salvaging a decent touch and go out of this, besides I did genuinely want to practice an overshoot at some point. It’s been nearly six months since my last one. So we will pretend that this was totally planned and ATC can just suck it up.

Variable tail winds, we can all blame it on that. Pilots love to blame bad landings on variable tail winds.

Once more unto the breech around the circuit and I think I’m done. I’m just burning Hobbs time for the sake of currency and one touch and go, one overshoot and one full stop landing has a nice symmetry to it.

I come around for my final one, still unsure of what the heck the winds are actually doing. I manage a passable landing and scurry off as directed, at foxtrot.

I needed the landing practice and a quick look at the GPS tracks, courtesy of my Bad Elf, show that they were actually pretty passable shaped circuits as well.

A worthwhile flight but not exactly riveting. I’ll be a little sad if that’s all I manage this month


  1. What about the owls?

    1. well I didn't hit any , but yeah they did always look a bit dodgy?
      like it when people get the references!