Today we planned on mastering crosswind landings. For me, as I’m sure is the case with some pilots, landings continue to be the most challenging part of flying and today’s lesson was focused on that only.
Due to high activity in the pattern at KCDW Tom directed us out to Morristown. All was good into the pattern at Morristown and we got a few landings in – but there was a LOT going at the airport. On the second touch n’ go we were instructed to do a go-around due to a jet approaching behind me. I was also, at one point, instructed to do a 360 on downwind for better spacing with other traffic. Oh, while performing the last touch n’ go the controller asked me to switch to RWY 23 while I was already on an extended downwind to 5. We decided to nix it and just head back to KCDW.
Today was one of those days I felt unconfident in my ability to be a pilot and almost had the urge to just call it quits. The landings were not terrible but on about 5 or so out of the 9 done I’m still not timing the transition properly and either sailed onto the runway for too long or ballooned because of extra energy the plane was generating – though my airspeed was OK.
On our way back to KCDW we decided to do a final touch n’ go to 4 which we did. The landing was reasonably OK. However, on our last pattern in for full stop I managed to do a really nice landing. I decided to, as Tom would say, “get down and then figure it out”. I deliberately transition my eyes to the end of the runway and the plane settled in really nicely. A few key takeaways from today:
1 – I didn’t know this but on a touch n’ go – land, flaps up, carb heat in, full throttle in that order. Flaps always go up FIRST. Sorry if that’s obvious.
2- Transition your eyes to the end of the runway while still making sure you can see it – do this on the final transition to level flight on the runway and let the plane gently settle in.
Frustrating day but the fight goes on.