Sunday, November 15, 2015

Solo pattern work on a very un-Novemberey day

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 64 degrees, wind 250 degrees at 6 knots

When I last went up in the Cub a few weeks ago it was to sight-see, plus Gina tends to tire of me flying laps around the pattern. Point being I didn't get in my usual three takeoffs and landings for tailwheel currency purposes. But today was a highly unusual late fall 30+ degrees above freezing day. Gina was busy working on some Master's assignments so I headed down to Stewart for some solo practice.

I did not venture very far today

Unlike many recent practice flights, I felt every gram of rust on the stick this afternoon. My takeoffs were all quite fine but the landings... oh, the landings. I forget if it was my first or second but I think I technically could have logged four for one of my attempts. I was looking to the side, using my peripheral vision as one does during the flare, but misjudged something that led to me being off just enough for the plane to stop flying about a foot above the grass. Bounce, bounce, bounce... save it with some brisk throttle application... landing. Sort of.

I later texted a few friends and CFIs who were at the airport to inquire as to whether they witnessed my beautiful quadruple landing. By my own calculations, it should've been worth at least 9 points. Oof.

Things didn't immediately improve as I had another solid clunker, albeit one that ended in the wheels remaining firmly on the turf after only two or three bounces. I threw in some short and soft field variants for good measure as well, greasing one of them. On the final approach, I went full power-off abeam the numbers and used an aggressive slip to quickly turn from downwind to base to final, culminating in a power-off 180 with a rather short rollout.

Turns out it was probably a day best suited for solo flight. While the weather and views were superb, my flying was certainly in need of a little fine-tuning. I'm glad I took advantage of the chance to do just that.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.7 hours
Total Time: 346.5 hours