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Tecnam Land-o-Matic Also Works in Crosswinds!


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My friend Janine, who is a very talented Army photographer based in the ACT had been keen for a fly with me since the beginning of my training. This weekend was the only one she'd be down in Victoria for some time, so I was keen to take the opportunity to show her what it's all about.


It seemed that Old Man Wind had a different plan for us. I got up this morning to find a large, gusty wind blowing from the West. However, upon checking the weather stations around the area, I discovered that it was not as bad on the other side of Mt Buninyong. So, I got in the car and headed down to Lethbridge and met Jeremy, the CFI of All Axis Aviation. He said that the couple of bookings for today had cancelled and the aircraft was all ours if we wanted it.


The wind was still pretty gusty. So I thought we might head off and grab some lunch and see if it dies down. Janine arrived at Lethbridge, and we headed down to Moorabool Ridge Winery which also has a cafe. Don't worry, I didn't even have a taste of the wine - I stuck to their home made olive oils and preserves!


After the best part of an hour, we returned to Lethbridge to find the wind slightly better. A beautiful old Cessna 190 was being wheeled out, so we hung around to watch it's big Pratt and Whitney radial fire up and take off. Worth it. I ummed and ahhhed for a while over whether Janine would find the wind gusts uncomfortable, but she reminded me that she'd flown in Blackhawks, Seahawks and Hercs. Jeremy told us to go have fun... So we did.


A pre flight done, we taxied over to runway 29. On the way to the threshold, I told Janine about what to expect in the flight, and the possibility that it might get a bit bumpy. She wasn't worried. As it happened, she needn't be. It turned out to be fairly smooth in the air - owing to the fact that the area to the West is quite flat and has little to cause mechanical turbulence.










Me, after levelling off at cruise. (Photo courtesy of Janine)























"The landscape is like a patchwork quilt!" says Janine. (Photo courtesy of Janine)


















The obligatory arm-length self-portrait... At two thousand feet! (Photo courtesy of Janine)





















We had a look at the farming area out to the West, and then a quick look at the deep valley of the Moorabool River (where we had just been earlier for lunch). I could see some rain squalls around in the local area, so I decided to cut the flight just a little bit short and stick close to the airfield. We made our way over to the North West and joined downwind. After my downwind checks, I told Janine about how I was about to reduce the throttle to idle. She thanked me that I warned her about it and didn't just 'pull the engine on her'!


Because of the crosswind and the gusts, I opted for a flapless approach. It got a little bumpy as we got down to treetop level, but other than that it Janine was amazed that even though the engine was clearly at idle, I was still able to bring the aircraft to a nice flare and float to the runway. That's what it did! Even in the gusts and the strong wind, I was able to finesse the landing to be an absolute greaser! One wheel at a time. No bumps or lumps at all! I put it down to the wonderful lift characteristics of the Tecnam's wing design - even at slow speed! Pressing the patented Tecnam "Land-o-Matic"© button seems to work every time!


Next time Janine is in town, I promise we'll go on a longer flight. This will do for the moment. She was all smiles as we pushed the Tecnam back into the hangar. Yay! One more light aircraft fan!



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