Flight Lesson 17: Roasting in Closed Traffic

Tom’s birthday was the day before today’s flight lesson.  He received a very thoughtful gift from one of his friends which should help make brutal summer days more tolerable:  link

Twenty minutes before the start of my flight lesson, I received a call from Jodi asking if I wouldn’t mind bringing in some ice and being the first one to try out the new contraption.  It so happened I was in the Target store near CDW so I said, “sure!”.  I bought two 7 lbs bags of ice for less than $4.  Upon arriving at the school, Tom, Jodi and I figured out how to get the cooler up and running since we would need it!  It was at least 90°F with high humidity.

There was a series of very strong thunderstorms moving over the training grounds which meant we were stuck doing pattern work.  I didn’t mind this since there was a strong cross wind that allowed us to practice cross wind landings and takeoffs (KCDW 021753Z 17008G18KT 10SM FEW043 SCT055 33/24 A2985).

While I pre-flighted the Cessna, Tom worked on securing the cooling system on the back seat.  After engine startup, the cooler’s fan was hooked up to the 12V cigarette lighter and started immediately blowing cool air into the cabin.  Right traffic on runway 22 was the pattern flown today, except for one occassion which I’ll talk about later.

Observations:

  • Winds were definitely gusting today and there were a lot of updrafts due to the thermals.  As a result, we only used a maximum 20 degrees of flaps in the pattern to minimize the amount we got pushed around
  • During takeoff, we corrected for the crosswind by turning the aileron into the wind and keeping the plane on the ground for a little bit longer.  As the downwind wheel would lift up, then we would takeoff
  • Crosswind correction on final was done by performing a side slip.  Due to a left crosswind, we applied left aileron to keep the plane over the centerline while applying right rudder to keep the nose aligned down the centerline
  • Side slips (and forward slips) should only be applied with a nose down attitude
  • Keep in the side slip all the way down to the runway, do not level the wings which can cause you to drift away from the centerline
  • During touchdown, the upwind wheel should touch the runway first.  Use rudder to keep the nose aligned down the runway centerline.
  • I had a tendency to pump the rudder when adjusting the side slip.  I should keep in constant rudder
  • When adjusting the bank of the upwind wing, an adjustment in rudder is often necessary, which may lead to additional adjustment in bank angle
  • During one of our upwind segments, there was a plane entering the downwind pattern which neither Tom or I could see.  Tom requested for us to fly a left pattern for runway 22 in order to give us space between us and the other traffic.  We didn’t spot the other traffic until we were both downwind (us to the right and the other plane on the left).
  • Just before entering right crosswind, another airplane flew straight into the right downwind way below the traffic pattern altitude.  We came very close to him so we slowed our speed down a bit
  • The “air conditioner” lasted us a little less than an hour before it lost effectiveness.  The last portion of flight was flown under very hot conditions.

If you’re a student at Fischer and are flying on a very hot day down in the pattern, I definitely recommend bringing in at least three (maybe four) 7 lbs bags of ice.  You’ll appreciate it and I’m sure Tom will too.