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Flights 38 at SpanaFlight 
(Total: .7 PIC, 40.7 Dual, 1.7 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 1.0 Complex, 168 Landings)


Another long break between flights, and I felt rusty as hell.  The weather was marginal today, so I expected to be able to do some pattern work today, and with the winds at about 10 knots or so, it would be a good chance to get some crosswind landings in.

I arrived my usual 20 minutes early, and I noted that 05G was on the tarmac instead of in the air.  I waited for Matt to arrive, and we decided to try the local pattern work until the weather got worse.  I went out and preflighted the plane, and after checking things out, Matt got in and we started out to 16 for takeoff checks.  I made a genuine attempt at using proper taxi techniques for the wind conditions.  The wind was headed straight down the runway (or so I thought) and the taxi techniques were easy to maintain.

After the run up checks completed fine, we lined up for takeoff.  I added throttle, and just as the plane started lifting off, we immediately started drifting to the left.  I corrected, but was surprised, as the windsock was still pointing straight down the runway.  I continued my climb, and had to crab about 8 degrees to maintain my ground track.  The turbulence was pretty high for what I was used to, and the plane was kind of all over the place accordingly.  I attribute most of the lousy climb to the turbulence, but I am sure my rustiness had something to do with it.

I turned crosswind, and continued my climb.  Ground speed picked up quite a bit, and I had to turn to downwind quicker than normal.  I definitely knew we had a crosswind, and it seemed pretty strong to me.  I looked back down at the windsock and noticed that it was now facing almost directly across the runway.  Matt pointed out to me the 2 rain squalls that were rapidly approaching each side of the runway, and stated that most likely that was the cause of the wind shear we experienced.

I was so distracted by the sheer beauty of the squall that I almost completely forgot that I needed to set up for my descent to the landing.  As it was, I was a little late in doing so, and my approach showed it.  I turned base and watched as the ground speed dropped significantly.  I was low, so I held off on flaps until right before turning final.  With 20 degrees in now, we turned final, and I set up for a 10 degree crab to maintain the approach.  I added 30 degrees of flaps then and Matt had me drop my right wing and use the rudder to straighten the plane to the runway.  We were side slipping in to the landing, and I flared as normal, and touched one wheel to the ground.  Matt had me take out my rudder then and then the second rear wheel touched the ground.  When the nose wheel came down, I found out that I hadn't taken enough left rudder out and the plane veered slightly to the left.  I was under control of the plane shortly and we taxied off the runway just as the squalls hit each end of the runway.

I figured that the flight was over then, and Matt confirmed it.  I was kinda bummed that I didn't get to do more today, but at least I got to go up at all.  Matt and I headed in and parked the plane into the wind.  I stuck around the airport a little while longer shooting the breeze with Matt and the other CFI's (all the while secretly hoping that the clouds were going to magically disappear and we could go back out).  Matt informed me that since it had been so long since I had flown, he didn't want me to solo on Friday, instead, we planned for the first short cross country flight this Sunday.  He would get a better feeling about me soloing again after we got some more practice in.  I didn't mind, as I was nervous about doing it as rusty as I felt anyway.  

It looks like the next series of flights are going to start getting fun, now that my cross country flying time is upon me.  I look forward to leaving the area and doing some different stuff.

Until then....Journal Page 43


Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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