15 January 2011

More ground reference maneuvers and short/soft-field landings

I can't remember seeing HEF as busy as it was this afternoon, probably due to the holiday weekend. When I got to the airport, I saw three airplanes lined up waiting to takeoff on runway 16R. A gaggle of people were looking out the window, grading landings in the FBO--they asked me the tail number I was going to fly for reference. The southerly winds were also a welcome change from what I've experienced over the past month or so:
KCJR 152120Z AUTO 21009G15KT 10SM CLR 09/M06 A2995
KHEF 152115Z AUTO 19006KT 10SM BKN120 07/M08 A2996
The wind aloft was a sporty 30 knots, which made ground reference maneuvers interesting. You really get cheated practicing them in calm winds. I didn't establish enough of a crab as I flew through the crosswind section of turns around a point--a microwave antenna--and my circle was slightly lopsided. During S-turns, using the highway as a reference, I carried too much bank in the crosswind portion of the "S" and wound up with wings level well before intersecting the road.  Should be easy to fix next time.

I made some pretty good soft field landings today and my short field landings were really short due to the headwind and Culpeper. I was about 20 feet above the 50 ft imaginary obstacle at the end of the runway, so I went around. It was tricky managing the sink rate near the treeline, but I think I did a better job of it today than I've done in the past. This is probably the second or third instance where I've landed on runway 22 at CJR, and I've made a ton of landings there. On the last takeoff of the day to return home, my CFI demonstrated a really cool variation on a soft-field takeoff.

My CFI says I'm ready to go. I rescheduled the flight portion of my final stage check for late next week, and if the weather holds, I'm going to log some solo time to practice on Monday.

Flight time today: 1.7 hrs dual
Total time to date: 57.0 hrs total, 45.5 hrs dual, 11.5 hrs Solo/PIC

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