Flying Under Marginal Condition

Today we had a condition that we almost could not fly. A ceiling at 1500 ft, (meaning AGL) means we are just beyond no fly condition (as VFR we need to be 500 below any clouds, and we need 1000 ft to practice pattern work). The winds are calm. Only one other plane was in the pattern.


  • Soft landing getting better;
  • Emergency procedure happened in a short time, but we handled it;
  • Soft take-off was good.

The first take off was soft field. We had 10 degrees down and held elevator fully back, I could feel more weight was distributed on the wings instead of the landing gear.  However, we could not accelerate very well. I could feel my nose lift off, but could not tell when the main gear took off. As a result, I had no clue when to lower the nose to accelerate in ground effect.

On the landing side, I added the power correctly, and raised the nose up enough to keep up aloft, but for a couple times the nose was too high and we climbed out of ground effect. The last time we had the correct configuration, and then as soon as I pulled out the power, we touched down.

There was once, we climbed to 1400 ft (Bob had the plane as I turned on my CloudAhoy app). He showed me the difference in terms of visibility between just 200 feet. Lincoln Park is barely visible but as soon as we descend down to pattern altitude the terrain beyond Lincoln Park showed up again.

Overall, it was a good session. Looking forward to my more consistent soft-field landings.