Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

KRYV 182358Z AUTO 09011G16KT 10SM CLR A2990 RMK AO2

I can't believe what I'm about to say. For the first time, flying was more of a chore than fun. Winds were brisk out of the east and gusty. Skies were clear, which has been a bit of a problem during these evening lessons. The wind suited Runway 11 at Watertown perfectly, so what do we do? Yep, we fly up to Dodge County Airport so that we can use Runway 8 for crosswind landing practice. So now when we do a circuit, the crosswind leg is more of a downwind, the downwind more like a crosswind, the base like an upwind, and the final is just one big crab. There are two ways to do a final approach into a crosswind. One is to point the plane into the wind so that the track along the ground gets you to the runway. Just before touchdown, put in left rudder to straighten out the plane. That's called crabbing. The other way is to dip the wing into the wind while applying opposite rudder. Level the wing just before landing. This is called the wing-low approach. Oh, by the way, don't forget to land on the upwind landing wheel.

Once you land, carb heat in, throttle in, flaps up, and take off again. Oh, and don't forget to breathe. Climb to pattern altitude, turn to crosswind and quickly to downwind and repeat the whole thing over. When flying in the pattern you can't relax for a minute. Maybe thirty seconds, but not a minute. And I was always coming in high. Which meant I had to nose down and cut power more, which meant we came in steep, causing me to flare too early, and then just plopping the thing down. No fun. Ego deflating.

We made our way back to Watertown and entered the pattern for Runway 11 on the upwind leg. Runway 11-29 is the short runway at Watertown, and a right pattern for 11 is directed. This is the first time using this runway for landings, and I'm already drained from the struggles at Dodge County. The downwind went so quickly that I must have been a whole mile from the airport before turning to base. There was a Piper Archer behind me, and the pilot must have been thinking, "student". I finally got the thing turned to final and I was still high! More playing around with power and I muscled it to the ground. At least I think I was. I'm pretty sure Adam was controlling the plane for most of this lesson. And around one more time.

I look at my logbook and it says 6.9 hours. I need at least 40 and probably 50. It's hitting me now for the first time that I have a long way to go. This lesson left me exhausted mentally. I spent the whole walk home talking to myself. There's a lot of work to do. The forecast for Thursday calls for rain, but Adam said we're going to do ground stuff unless the weather is perfect. Maybe I'll get my head back together before then.


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