We commonly think about how the wind pushes the airplane, but did you know that the wind pulls as well?
Cruising with a tailwind pushes us forward while headwind pushes us back. If we are flying with a crab angle we can look at the ground and get the feeling that we are flying sideways. In these cases, the wind is pushing us from whichever direction it is coming from.
Sometimes the wind pulls us
Continue reading “Wind Pushes and Pulls”
Wind can have a large effect on the traffic pattern, especially when it comes to the base and final leg.
You should familiarize yourself with the current wind at the airport before takeoff and when preparing to enter the pattern. Remember that the wind report you get from an automated station is on the surface and may not be as strong as the wind at pattern altitude.
When flying each leg around the pattern think about whether the wind is coming from your left or right and crab towards it to fly a straight track. When preparing to land look at the crosswind and what it will do to your base leg.
If you expect to have a tailwind on base you will need to turn final sooner in order to not overshoot the runway. Conversely, if you experience a headwind on base you can expect to have more time before you need to turn final. More time also means more time to descend, so adjust you glidepath and consider adding some power.
On final, if you face a strong headwind component you will again have more time to descend and may need more power to make it to the runway.
Plan in advance so you know what to expect in each leg of the pattern.
On January 25th 2018, a Piper Lance had an accident at Marathon airport in the Florida Keys. It veered off the runway during takeoff and came to rest in some trees. It is not clear if it had broken ground or not but it appears that it rolled at least 1000 feet before getting into trouble. Continue reading “Accident Study: Focus on Takeoff”
Taking off in an airplane is a fairly simple process, especially compared to landing. But this easy task can be filled with danger, especially because of complacency.
“Just throttle up and pull back!”
It might be easy to think of take off this way, but don’t lose your focus because it’s not hard to make a mistake that can pull the tire off the wheel or leave you stuck in the mud at the side of the runway. Continue reading “Takeoff”