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Wind gusts on landing


Guest Juliette Lima
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Guest Juliette Lima

Greetings all,

 

I've got a feeling this type of post might be better in another forum akin to training, however the content does go beyond basic training .....perhaps general flying experiences or continuous learning, rather than general discussion??

 

Had an interesting experience today with a rather strong gust pushing my aircraft about 10-15 metres sideways across the strip just after rounding out and prior to landing.

 

Strip 35, wind NNW 9kt gusting 15kt....glide approach about 52kt using only a small amount of power to maintain height where necessary....approaching slight angle across the strip downwind side into wind (high drag short ground roll aircraft allows this)....when just crossing threshold felt right wing wanting to lift strongly.... held wings level with co-ordinated controls and turned slightly right to counter only to have the aircraft quickly drift across the strip in a gust almost the entire width of the strip....the gust air was momentarily smooth however from the SE almost 90 degrees to the prevailing wind.

 

Air on the other side of the gust and resultant drift, was momentarily turbulent which necessitated rapid responses prior to a rather nice and somewhat lucky three point landing. All this happened in what seemed like seconds.

 

What caught me by surprise was the extent and speed to which the aircraft drifted rather smoothly sideways, contrary to prevailing wind (about 70% width of the strip)....at one point I thought the sideways movement would continue beyond the sealed surface across the lighting.

 

All's well that ends well I guess and your comments/experiences would be welcome.

 

Cheers

 

JL

 

 

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Drifter Landings

 

Hi JL

 

Any taildragger aircraft is highly venerable doing three pointers in cross winds. Even though Drifter is not a full-blooded taildragger but still has the potential to bite you. In my experience of flying wire braced 503 Drifter, anything over 8-10 kts cross winds I come pretty hot (60-65 kts) on final and after bleeding off speed you plant the main wheels on the ground by pushing stick forward with the aircraft still flying. You might have to plant one wheel only in strong cross winds(with one wing lowered into the wind) as you drag the aircraft on to the ground. Once the wheels are firmly planted on the ground there is less chance of veering off. My articulation is probably a bit crude, may be other drifter pilots will be able to expand on this subject.

 

cheers

 

 

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Sunny,

 

Thanks for your feedback....anything but crude , spot on in fact.

 

What tossed me on this occasion was the fact that the gust that carried the aircraft sideways across the strip came from my right side ,almost 90-130 degrees to the prevailing wind....and happened just after roundout in the 'bleeding off speed' phase as you say....I've dealt with gusts before but usually in the general direction of the prevailing wind, not the complete opposite direction.

 

Thanks again

 

JL

 

 

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Hi JL

 

I am far from being a expert Drifter Pilot but I have been flying Drifters for about 12 years now. The areas I generally fly often have strong cross winds, sometimes with rotor from hills and or buildings, and sometimes very narrow.

 

I prefer the "crab" approach method in a Drifter rather than the "wing down slip" approach. I believe with the crab method you can put in and take out crab very quickly as the x-wind speed changes. You can flick a Drifter from full left crab to full right crab very quickly if you wish. I myself, can't do a x-wind landing effectively in a Drifter with the slip approach. Different people have different ways. Often there is no particular right or wrong way.

 

In very strong X-Winds I flare in the crab and only kick straight and put a wing down just before touchdown. If you straighten too early you will quickly drift downwind. (across the runway) This can be very serious if the runway is narrow. I find it is better to be a little too late than too early.

 

Every now and then I don't always get it completely straight in very strong cross winds before touchdown. but it doesn't seem to cause a problem in a Drifter. As I said, I find it is better to be a little too late than too early.

 

I posted a Drifter X-Wind landing video yesterday on this forum (general discussion- flying videos). Have a look.

 

Regards,

 

John McK

 

 

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hi John, as you correctly pointed out different people have different landing techniques. I usually use a mix of wing down and crab method (wing slightly down and crabbed) and the wheeler landings I explained above were based upon that. In calm conditions I normally use three pointers.

 

JL's situation with the wind gust coming from opposite the prevailing cross wind, was probably as tricky a scenario as can get for a taildragger pilot. I think in addition to instinctive inputs to control the aircraft, luck will have some say in the final outcome as well in this situation.

 

 

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Guest Fred Bear

We seem to have this phenomenon quite often at The Oaks. We sometimes have some interesting rotors come through from the hills West of the field. I recall once in the Bantam on downwind getting caught in a rotor when I had member justfred with me. Ask him how he was. It was probably the most frightening time I have ever had in an aircraft. I had zero control of it. Control inputs did nothing at all. I'm talking full aileron and rudder having zero effect. I VNE'd aswell to about 80kts (only for a short time). We left the seat quite a few times (thank God for the shoulder harness and one fastened tight around the waist). Eventually we came out of the rotor. Dumped by it if you will. It's something I will never ever forget. I have not had the joy of a wing being lifted on final in rag and tube. Have had it a few times in the Jab. We can also get quite a bit of sink at The Oaks on final at times. In Jab, full power, stick forward to get some speed/momentum again then gradually recover. Has happened a few times. Aah, the joys of flying. Hoping to never get any rotors on final though!!!

 

 

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi JohnMk, Sunny and Darren

 

Thanks JohnMk for your helpful helpful post...your local conditions and time on the Drifter suggest you might be selling yourself short...just a little.

 

Incidently how do I access the Drifter video you posted ?

 

Yes Sunny it was instincitve inputs, luck and as John suggests, the forgiving nature of the Drifter.

 

Darren, as for rotor, it can certianly wake you up.

 

Cheers

 

JL

 

 

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The most freaky experience I've had was in the Sportstar at Goulburn. Was on very short final when a willy-willy started up just by the threshold and caught us when we were at about 50'. Other than going to full throttle I can't recall what control inputs I used but we flew out of it having been through some very severe attitudes (lateral and longtitudanal), we actually gained some altitude and at some point felt like we were going sideways. It all happened very quickly (within a few seconds), scared the you-know-what out of me...for whatever reason Kaz didn't seem too fussed and thought I had it all under control...which I did of course...sure I did :)

 

 

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Guest Fred Bear

Yes sure is sobering Matt.

 

Darren, as for rotor, it can certianly wake you up.

Well you know, I was just having a nice quiet flight (as quiet as can be in the Bantam) when this came along out of nowhere and spoilt the afternoon.

 

 

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for accessing the video.....it all happens very quickly.....John's drifter is strut braced and suprisingly less draggy than the wire braced model which would have taken a couple of seconds off that type of landing.....IE. much quicker from roundout to landing.

 

Thanks again

 

JL

 

PS. John said he posted the video...as a matter of interest Chris, where should I have looked to find it ?

 

 

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An interesting landing this afternoon at Shepparton...

 

Wind was light, and variable, with both windsocks vertical I was coming in on Runway 18.

 

A fair amount of thermal midway down finals, and with steady controls and a rock solid speed It was a nice approach, then as I was about to touchdown, I got caned by a solid gust from the west, and the starboard wing started to lift. In an instant it was about 30 degrees off the horozontal, and I just firewalled the throttle to get out of there, along with stick and rudder to counteract the shove in the side.

 

Thanks to my "Sh*t*y wind training" from Nathan and Tristo, I did not need a change of undies.. and was able to land the ship on the next approach..

 

Ben

 

 

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Guest browng

Funnily enough, I had the opposite problem today, zero wind conditions and I stuffed up every approach I made, and I mean EVERY one! I have hundreds of hours on type over almost twenty years, and I just couldn't do anything right today, dayum! The first one was a 3 bounce tail down wheeler with graceful pirouette and less much less graceful recovery. The second was a perfect 3 pointer, but so far into the runway I slammed the throttle open and went around. The rest became a blur of perfectly safe but hideously ugly bounced 3 pointers. I don't know what the hell was wrong with me, I just couldn't get anything right. I was very pleased to shut the hanger doors and slink away with my tail between my legs. Next time all will be well, it will again become the instinctive process it has been for a long time now, but today was a reminder that sometimes S&^t just happens, no matter how much experience you have, there is no logic as to when or why, but believe me, it does.

 

 

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Got that right, Neil... a year ago I actually had to beg Nathan and Tristo to teach me to cope with crap winds on landing, and 'ballistic turbulence' (up at 1500 a minute then, then down at 1500 on finals.. and then windshear on the Piano Keys..)

 

My rationale was that I would be faced with such conditions at some stage - solo - and I would be the only bugger able to land the thing.

 

They did a good job, I can tell you. Their training became instinct.

 

Ben

 

 

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi browng,

 

I'm not inclined to new age 'stuff", far from it, but for many years I have studied the imperfect science of biorhythms....cycles within us that impact on our performance. Physical, emotional and intellect.

 

I've managed to determine and understand the couple of days each month that impact on me (and those close to me), for no apparent reason.....fluffy headed days where flying is simply not on.....I'm not suggesting one stays in bed on these days, one simply observes and accepts the limitations, and gets on with life.

 

Some twenty or so years back, I heard that JAL calculates the biorhythms of all its pilots and schedules flights according to their perceived 'critical' (pumpkin headed) days.

 

Now that might have been a marketing ploy, however I was in japan at the time and my host translated from some non marketing literature concerning the subject.

 

If the impact of cycles is doubted ,then consider the moon/tide scenario...to mention the most odvious.

 

Do I plan my life bt Biorhythms, no....sometimes I'm not even aware of biorythm days until I realise I'm having a 'wobbly', and on checking ....sure enough, a 'crirical' day.

 

(Biorhythm language). Surprisingly it can be a relief.

 

It took me a number of years of observing and objectively analysing , and I hasten to add that everyone is different. The cycle that impacts most on me might, or might not, be the same for others.

 

Submitted as a remotely possible solution for your 'bad co-ordination' day.

 

Cheers

 

JL

 

 

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Guest browng
SNIP - Submitted as a remotely possible solution for your 'bad co-ordination' day.Cheers

 

JL

I'll take it!....in fact I'll take anything that might explain/excuse my utterly underwhelming performance on Sunday.

 

 

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Submitted as a remotely possible solution for your 'bad co-ordination' day.

Perhaps "bad flare day"?

 

In contrast, I had a great day in the Cheetah on Saturday. The last landing was one of those where you can't tell where the flying stops and the driving begins.

 

Perhaps it was a bio-rhythm up day.

 

Ross

 

 

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Guest Fred Bear
I've managed to determine and understand the couple of days each month that impact on me

See, I just knew us blokes got it aswell ;)

 

 

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Had an interesting experience this morning, while having a cup of tea prior to going flying. We heard a sudden loud roaring and the tree adjacent to our donga received a terrific threshing from a whirlie.

 

I reckon the wind speed must have been over 30 kts and it was very concentrated. I was 10m away and didn't feel a breath of wind from it, but I doubt I would have survived it if I tried to fly through it.

 

It was just about where I normally touch down.

 

Makes you think!

 

 

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