Flying In the Rain

Prog Analysis predicted some bad weather coming our way. We thought maybe we could just get to the pattern and get some landing practices before rain hits here. If my landing were consistent we may even be able to get out of Caldwell and fly to Lincoln Park.

Good points:

Power management was good, had never added power on final to stretch approach;

Looked at the end of runway during transition, so touchdown was soft and minimized floating;

Kept nose rose after main wheel on the ground, to protect nose wheel;

Stayed on top of air speed;

Bad points:

When winds picked up, I got pushed a lot;

The wind shear also requires a higher air speed especially on final; which I wasn’t keeping a good job.

 

As we got up, the outlook to the north was not good. Around Wanaque, the clouds were low and the visibility was lower. The first couple runs were good. Then we started have to extend downwind to accommodate other traffic. On a few occasions, we were very high on the approach really had to push down to the runway. The purpose of this practice was to try to manage power, with only power reduction on final, so being high was acceptable. As we circling the pattern, the weather deteriorated fast.

3 laps after initial run, the dark clouds moved in fast and maybe 5 miles north of us. However, the wind near field stayed almost the same. So we kept going, even squeezed in a simulated engine loss to put the airplane on ground. One approach was too high, so we had to go around, and my procedure was accurate. Then it suddenly started to turn down.

First, I experienced heavy turbulence after abeaming 22. Had a lot of up-down push which I could do very little to fight back. Then on the next lap, besides turbulence, the wind direction changed from 240 to a tail wind. As I was on short final, a pilot landed earlier reported “nasty tail wind” to the tower. I was also high on approach with higher air speed —- go around. Tower then asked us if we would like to be switched to runway 4. We accepted the offer and started 180 degrees turn since we had the altitude (above 500 AGL I think) to do so. Bob took my power off, so the perspective looked like a power loss on departure. This was the time when I had a slow air speed and could potentially be pushed down hard by down draft.

Then it started to rain. With clear visibility, we were ok to keep going. It was not much a different feeling, except the wind from west made me drift to east of runway. We were able to manage flying normally and fight the gusts as we go around the pattern. The rain was not a big factor but Bob saw a lightning near Wanaque so we called the day.

Today’s lesson truly showed me how quickly weather can change and how much we needed to be prepared. On my way home I experienced heavy down pour and some hail, so that concludes my first weekend of training after break.

 

“There Is No Reverse, But You Can Go Backwards”

Today marks the first day of resuming training after a month and half. Much time were spent on review: slow flight, the stalls, and emergency procedure. However, the highlight must be “We are going backwards!”

Here is how it happened. After we practiced emergency procedure(more on that to come), we departed greenwood lake and climbed up to 4500 ft, where we knew from previous descending that the wind up there was really really strong. I set up a slow flight straight from climbing configuration by dumping flaps, take out power, which turned out was harder than I thought because I couldn’t operate on flaps and throttle at the same time. Then bob took it over and slowed us down to like 30 kts which I don’t understand how it was possible without stall the airplane (I guess we had lots of power?) But the story here is that because we have such a strong head wind, our ground speed is nearly ZERO! We were floating like a helicopter, and I glanced outside, and saw that we moved backwards as trees underneath moved forward. Bob then said “There is no reverse but you can go backwards”.

Now more serious stuff. I think I had a good run today given that I haven’t flown for a month and half since my parents were in town. We planed a couple times to bring them flying but each time the weather did not cooperate. So off runway 22 @ N we took off as a soft field take off practice. And normal procedure to the practice field, my pre-maneuver checklist LCGUMPPS was good, and clearing turn was done. The slow flight was still great like last time, but the first power-off stall recover was not so great. I let the speed built up too high, so we tried again and this time much better.

Still having little trouble with power-on  stall. It was the break that I have some trouble with. The ruder input too, i was not sure if I had enough or not. I will review and practice this more if we have chance.

Then we practiced lost procedure. Wasn’t aware that we were actually closer to Warwick, I turned to head to Greenwood Lake for the field. Given that we were almost at 5000 ft, we thought yeah maybe we can make it even though we were 8 miles away. However, headwind was giving us a huge problem and our ground speed was around 30-40 kts. The glide path got chopped short. With help of some power we stretched to make the runway and successfully landed on runway 24. I should have put in wind correction angle earlier since it was pushing me to the left of the runway. Was I right to wait I get to the runway center line and then crab? I got ask this question tomorrow.