Dealing with Crosswind While Learning to Land

In today’s training we stayed in Caldwell closed circuit, dealing both a little crosswind and learning to land. When we taxied to RWY 22 at intersection N, we found at least 5 other airplanes waiting to takeoff. We did our run-up at the end of taxiway H. When everything was OK and we were ready to take off.

Highlights of today’s landing practice:

  • I held my airspeed in my hands, didn’t let it get away from me.
  • My pattern work was nice and clean, but still occasionally a slight deviation.
  • I learned about control pressure throughout the landing. We can’t release control pressure not few feet before touch down, not right after touch down, but to hold and continue add more after we landed.

The first couple landings weren’t so successful, I did not have a very good transition and also landed a little sideways due to not putting the nose straight down the runway, mostly because I was not holding rudder pressure correctly. Later on, during some landings I released the rudder too early, thinking “well I’m about to kiss the ground better keep everything natural”. Turned out that this was wrong. Bob patiently taught me to hold the pressure even after we touched down, and as we become slower we actually need more control, as aileron and rudder control become less effective.

 

The fourth landing was the least well executed. I got into the infamous porpoising motion as I first bounced the plane, and did not hold back pressure enough to avoid a nose down attitude. As a result we bounced again and started getting into porpoising. Bob was trying to stabilize our next touch down, but I decide to go around. Power in, flaps up, carb heat in, but I forgot to stop the flaps going up, and we did not have a good initial climb.

 

After this run, I became more cautious, and the next few landings were better. But releasing the rudder pressure was a big problem of today. Wind was from left, so I banked to the left and rudered to the right. In my eyes we needed to release a little bit right rudder to get back to straight but in fact not really. We had to keep that pressure and even more pressure if needed.

 

In one landing, we tried to fly in ground effect. So instead of touch down, I tried to maintain altitude just a few feet above runway. This was a soft field landing technique, and I would like to have tried more if we can.

 

Tomorrow, if weather permitted, we might go to Morristown to land with some different perspective. I will try to address each tower by their name like “Caldwell Town” instead of tower while in the pattern. And I would not abbreviate our call sign unless air traffic control does it first.