Sunday morning there was a brief moment of calm winds. It was not long enough to get the neighborhood together for breakfast as one of the other student pilots and I had been discussing. But it was long enough for Tyson and I to roll out of bed at 6 am and head for one of the nearby airports with a diner. We took the airplane I usually fly. I did most of the flying, but we also took the opportunity to give Tyson a little bit of practice in it so that if ever we end up out in conditions above my head, he could safely get us home.
Having a passenger is definitely distracting, having an S.O. along is doubly so. Therefore I did not do as much technique practice as I normally do on my flights. Before breakfast I did two soft field landings. Somehow, subtly changing my landing strategy to have a slower rate of decent, and thus a softer touch down, is hard. The standard approach is to use a little extra power at the flare. I did a little bit better at landing softly than previous times, though there was still a noticeable tap. However, I floated a good long way down the runway. I suppose that’s why I was practicing at a larger airport.
At breakfast, there was a kid behind us wondering where the fighter jet was. I guess you can’t meet everyone’s expectations.
After breakfast, the winds had picked up. Tyson decided I should go work on cross wind landings and takeoffs. There was no one else around flying, so we were ok using a crossing runway to normal traffic. Takeoff is much easier than landing. You basically just keep the airplane going straight until it takes off and then you turn into a crab (or ferry angle if you were a kayaker).
For landing, you have to keep the nose pointed straight down the runway and the airplane moving parallel to the runway. You do this by dropping the upwind wing and flying the airplane kind of sideways compared to the air mass (otherwise known as a slip). Farther out on the approach, I am fine doing the slip. When I get right down ready to land, I chicken out about keeping the wing down even though I still need to. Tyson noticed that in between, I would slip until I got the airplane nice and lined up, and then I would lift the wing and swing off course. He said it was almost like I had no integral term in my PID controller. I did three takeoffs and landings and then called it quits. I was about full up on trying to be patient enough to learn from an SO. All of the landings were fine in the airplane I was flying, but Tyson was concerned none of them were good enough to transition to a tailwheel airplane including his.