Crosswind Landings Part 25721

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.

- Sanjay

Emergency Procedures and Crosswind Landings

After a weeklong hiatus I was back in action review engine-out procedures and crosswind landings. First I did a small tour flight over Green Pond to flyover a few buddies that were doing a triathlon – but I must’ve missed them.

Emergency procedures were OK. I had mastered them chair flying and could talk through them no problem, but I did make one mistake on the 2nd step – without picking a place to land – I went through the flow check. Not a biggie.

Then we proceeded to head back to KCDW. My pilotage skills in the area are good – Tom asked me what heading I had to hit in order to get back. I was able to call a heading of 086 using a neighboring VOR and then found myself heading back. I called tower about 2 miles north of Boonton for the inbound touch n’ go – I was at 2500 ft so I immediately began a sharp descent to about 1500 crossing Boonton.

On these landings I deliberately kept power in and only reduced flaps 20 due to the crosswind component. The landings were not my best and this is an area that continues to be my Achilles heel. I am able to aileron into the wind and use opposite rudder to keep the plane straight but on 2 occasions today I undid the crosswind corrections when all wheels were on the ground. I need to stop doing that.

Good day today. Scored OK overall but we will try hit these crosswind situations again tomorrow. I really really need to knock these out.

- Sanjay


First Blog – Ground Maneuvers in 5253R

A recent student who’s transferred from another school, I’ve been working on my Private Pilot certificate at Fischer for about 3 months now with Tom Fischer as my CFI.  So far the experience has been incredible and I cannot say enough about the entire crew at Fischer.  I’ve completed 59 hours so far towards my private but fell behind a little bit because, as they say, life happened.

When I initially started at Fischer Aviation, Tom evaluated me on my first few flights checking for proficiency in the basics – ability to preflight, ground reference maneuvers, power on/off stalls, takeoffs and landings, pattern technique, climbs and descents, etc.  All of those are now out of the way but consistently need work since I’m a weekend warrior.

Today we took off to the North in 5253R off 28 – short field takeoff past Boonton and over past the quarry to do some ground reference maneuvers – as Tom said today, the hardest part of doing ground reference maneuvers is finding a place to do them.  We found them nonetheless and went through a series of S-turns and turns around a point.  As usual – the first one or two were challenging but after some feedback from Tom I was able to execute them.

Biggest lesson learned here:  Your ground reference maneuvers will be as successful as the ground track you pick.  On turns around a point do not use the common misconception of judging distance from your wingtip to the point.  Use ground references…

Once maneuvers were done we headed back to KCDW.  My pilotage skills are now good – I’m comfortable with them and comfortable operating the radio.  I have some tricks of the trade there because those were two not so great areas for me.  Scouring YouTube is a great way to learn and understand different teaching techinques.

We got back to KCDW entered into a left base to 04.  Crosswind landing today was not great.  Disheartening but you win some and lose some.  I transitioned (not flare cause flare is a bad term) into straight and level but might have pitched up a bit to hard to induce the stall horn.

As Tom says (and another lesson): You cannot land on a runway you can’t see.  Make sure the runway at all points in the landing are within your preview.

Lastly I actively use a GoPro for all of my flights.  I can’t recommend this enough.  It helps immensely to review once a flight is complete especially if you have a lag in flight lessons like I do.  I use a GoPro 3+ Black Edition with suction mount on the left inside cockpit windshield and an audio cable from headphone jack into GoPro all available on Amazon.

Next lesson will be a review of Emergency Procedures and practice transitioning from the flight environment to approach and landing.   It turns out that I’m more comfortable landing when doing laps in the pattern, but that sometimes it can be challenging when entering the pattern from a flight for a full stop or touch and go because your mind needs to transition as well.

I’ve posted some of my videos on my channel on Vimeo but you can see one of the better videos here:  

Sanjay's First Flight to Morristown from Sanjay Jain on Vimeo.

- Sanjay