I hadn’t flown in almost three weeks and I was scheduled for a Long Cross Country tomorrow. I also hadn’t practiced crosswind landings all summer (there just wasn’t that much wind). So when I stepped outside and it was a great day but really windy, I thought, hey let’s go flying.
I went up with Tom and stayed in the pattern. I’ll admit, the landings weren’t that good. The wind was a 70 degree crosswind at (something like) 7 gusting to 15.
Here are some of the things I was doing wrong:
1. Chasing the Airspeed
My eyes were inside a bit too much and fixated on the airspeed. Because of the wind and the gusts, it would fluctuate. I would try to bring it back by pitching up or down. This really led to leveling off the descent and ending up too high on final, or making the airspeed fluctuate more. What I needed to do it keep my eyes outside and hold my sight picture constant. The airspeed would come back on its own and I would keep my descent steady.
2. Compensating for No Wind
We were using Runway 4 and there’s a funny thing about Runway 4. There are trees lining most of the runway, so once you descend below the tree line, the wind goes away. Since I was anticipating the crosswind, I kept a left correction in the whole time. Inevitably, as we got closer to the runway, we drifted off to the left. What I needed to do is keep my eyes outside and control only for what really is happening, and not for what I anticipate is going to happen.
They shouldn’t be a problem if I keep these things in mind.
Plane: N272LP (C172)