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A Minute 11.5Knts Crosswind Before The Office  
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Posted (12 years 5 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1366 times:

As I drove to Beirut Airport today I didn't really notice there was wind. Last Sunday conditions were ideal and I did 12 touch and goes in 1.3 hours. My instructor wasn’t too happy though, expecting my return after only half as much.
From the windsock, I guessed today’s wind about 10 to 15Knts. Definitely crosswind to runway 17. My instructor asked me "how do you like the wind today?". About 10 days ago he didn’t let me take the aircraft in a similar wind since I was only at my 3rd or 4th solo. I wasn’t sure what his decision would be today but anyway I was eager to show confidence. Especially that what I've mostly noticed from crosswinds (with my meager 20.8hrs) is that you only have to point the nose of the aircraft into the wind on approach by the right amount to keep the aircraft locked on the runway’s centerline. Also, I keep some power to "evolve" through the crosswind approach more efficiently. My instructor seemed sure of himself and ok'ed me to go for 3 touch and goes and come back. I thought it was too little and walked to the aircraft a little bit disappointed because of the shortness of the flight, but this was soon about to change.

Eager to go, I hopped in the aircraft and started the procedure. 10 minutes later, I am on runway 21 clear to take off. Wind is a strong headwind for runway 21: 220/12knots. The aircraft leaps airborne enthusiastically and my first problem: I am asked to turn left instead of right and to fly over the city at 1500ft due to traffic. The aircraft is bouncing over the city vigorously due to mechanical turbulence. No problem. Still confident, I rejoin final to runway 17. I have trouble controlling my approach speed: I usually approach at 75Knts because the normal approach for a flaps-up C152 is between 60 and 70, adding to it 5Knts for safety. However, this time, I had trouble keeping the speed below 80Knts because I had to coordinate my direction. Not sure if I was causing it unconsciously myself, but my speed was always returning to 80. Somewhere in me there was the continuous fear of seeing the speed fall all of a sudden. My first approach was laborious and I wasn't comfortable with the speed, impossible to manage a 75Knts approach. I also had to keep power because I felt that the crosswind would push me left otherwise. ATC clears me to touch&go on runway 17 with a wind report that isn’t too encouraging.. 220/14Knts. If you do the math: runway 17’s actual direction is 165 (instead of 170). 220/14Knts means an offset of 55’. 14Knts x Sin(55) = 11.5Knts of crosswind component. I remembered a student telling me once that the maximum crosswind component that a C152 can take is 12Knts. But my survival instinct pushed away the thought and I focused on the approach.
I kept the aircraft aligned and struggled to flare for a smooth landing…. But it slammed on the runway… said to myself it’s ok for a first try. Then I accelerated through the trouble of keeping the aircraft straight, and pulled up. And “it” happened: I felt a strange fear as the aircraft completely hovered sideways to the left as soon as it was airborne, it hovered over runway 18, then over to the highway that parallels the airport!!!!! The ball was to the right and I had a strange sensation that the left wing wanted to go down. I pressed right rudder but not too hard because I was in an uncomfortable position, I eased up a bit and let it take me, just as long as the wings were level. I decided to start my right turn much sooner than usual, and initiated it. The controls felt funny and the aircraft wasn’t turning unless a steep banking angle is applied. In the middle of the turn I found myself with a 30+ (if not more) angle. When I reached downwind, it occurred to me that funnily and unexpectedly the aircraft responded most predictably and comfortably there, where the wind is at the tail, even though the crosswind amount is the same. It’s as if the wind wasn’t pushing me anymore.
The whole flight was agitated, and it occurred to me that flying smoothly and confidently through this wind was not obvious, solid experience is required.
I experienced this weird consequence of crosswind at each take-off. At my final landing, the aircraft slammed again, getting me worried about the landing gear. My landings are often extremely smooth so flare practice in these conditions is definitely in order.
Anyway, the flight was over and I turned the next taxiway, stopped to let an MEA Airbus A320 cross in front of me, taxied down to the hangar, and finally briefed with my instructor about my endeavors..
Next time this happens, I’ll be shoving the rudder pedal as much as needed to continue flying above the centerline after take-off, correcting with the ailerons.
It occurred to me that one could never be too confident. One has to try all the situations, and if they don’t occur to him, he has to go and look for them. I was said that my instructor gave me only three runs but two times in the flight I felt at the limit of my comfort zone…

Anyway, 5 minutes later I was in my car, back to earth driving to work as if nothing happened, as if I wasn’t in the air just 10 minutes ago and as if I am calmly thinking about my work, just like all the other mortals stuck in traffic and pollution around me. Those people who have never experienced the earth except from the ground. I was playing their game again. But couldn’t help thinking about how I was flying ABOVE all these people, checking out the restless city from 1500ft on this beautiful but windy Thursday morning. Especially when I also saw the building of my office, down there, vegetating at 0 ft…

I also thought about the MEA pilot and how flying an Airbus A320 through crosswind to Paris is business as usual for him…

Enjoyed sharing my experience with you, hope you enjoyed reading it
kay





16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBlatantEcho From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1916 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (12 years 5 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1337 times:

That was a wonderful post. I appreciated reading it this morning, makes me want to get my feet off the ground as soon as possible.

Regards,
George



They're not handing trophies out today
User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (12 years 5 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1330 times:

Hmm, peculiar... what do you think happened? Did you unconsciously bank into the wind after take-off when you saw the runway drift away underneath you? A bit of right slip right after lift off should be expected as you're travelling on runway heading and tracking the runway but it shouldn't remain like you described...

Also, what's the procedure at your airport? Runway heading or runway track after takeoff?

Just getting into soaring myself and landing with a crosswind sure still keeps my hands full - especially with only the centreline wheel to balance on after landing! Drifting to the side after liftoff is not an option as the tow is still on the ground by then and would certainly not appreciate it. Big grin

Cheers,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 5 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1304 times:

I guess what happenned is just the fact that the balance between rudder and ailerons wasn't exactly right and the aircraft drifted significantly with the wind.

At OLBA, after takeoffs we have to keep the centerline of the runway (that would be tracking?) before a right turn-out as opposed to "regular" airports since left-turn outs would lead to the mountains inland.

kay


User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1243 times:

"Also, what's the procedure at your airport? Runway heading or runway track after takeoff?"

FredT what exactly do you mean?


User currently offlineBeefmoney From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1116 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1241 times:

You said you were approaching at 85kts, how long did you hold that? Normal "over the threshold" speed is about 60-65. I usually hold about 65-70 because I am also fearful of getting a gust af wind, and stalling it into the runway from 50 feet up. But 85kts seems mighty fast if thats what you were at just before the flare.

User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1219 times:

Kay,
if you are to fly runway heading, you keep the nose pointed in the direction of the runway centerline and let the aircraft drift off. If you fly the runway track, you turn into the wind and crab along, cancelling any drift and making the aircraft follow the extended runway centerline until you reach your turning altitude/point/whatever.

Probably not a big deal in VFR but I'd take it as a warning if I got into a drift I wasn't expecting and didn't fully know how to get out of.

Don't take it the wrong way, but statements such as the crosswind being the same on downwind as on take off suggests to me that you could use sitting down for a while thinking about the effects of wind on flight. Don't go up there again until you have figured out WHY the rudders "felt funny". Rest assured, there IS a reason. If you can't see it, there's either something you don't know which you should know which is bad. Or, even worse, there's something wrong with the plane. If so, the next guy flying it could be less fortunate when dealing with it and have an accident.

Do what I do, have a chat with your instructors or other experienced pilots and do some "ground/mind flying". This is not criticism, I'm just worrying a lot when it comes to aviation - and I consider that a good thing.  Smile

I'm doing my damndest to keep my own self-confidence down. I keep going over every detail of every flight that wasn't quite right or quite what I thought it would be and asking myself "why". And if I can't answer myself, I ask someone else until I figure it out. A habit I intend to hang on to even when I've flown for years!

Cheers,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineSkyguy11 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1211 times:

Hey Kay thanks for the story! A few ideas you might want to ponder on:
When you are flying in strong winds, it's not exactly as though you have to fight a crosswind the whole time. You mentioned that after you turned downwind the plane performend just fine, however when you were on crosswind, the plane's controls felt weird. This should not be the case. Since you were airborn, the plane does not know it's track in relation to the ground. It frankly dosen't care. After takeoff, yes, you will be in a slip, but you can easily turn into the wind to offset the crosswind and keep the same ground track. This way you will be coordinated, the plane will perform better, and the controls will not feel 'weird'. Good luck in your training! Have fun and by all means, post more stories!


User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1191 times:

you guys are totally right, that is what I did (and will make sure to do every time FredT). I calmly talked to my instructor about this, thought about what he said, made sure I was comfortable with it and tried it the next time.
The crosswind was the same, so I pressed right-rudder to lock the aircraft above the runway during climb (quite like during the approach), and I observed how the nose was completely off but the aircraft remained exactly above the centerline. A small sense of satisfaction dominated me because I eliminated my first aviation difficulty: the worry disappeared and never came back.
I am therefore making sure to kill any potential "discomfort" or fear right from the root, not only because it is dangerous in case the situation comes back, but because it undermines one's confidence for other situations too. Also, it strengthens the communication with my instructor, who knows as a result exactly what I learned and what I haven’t.
Finally, in-flight procedures tend to be non-intuitive, and even aircraft-specific so I just read/ask… (like now for example for stalls, that I am supposed to practice alone this weekend, I am not totally sure what to do with the rudder during a stall, so I'll ask first… Big grin

Thanks for helping out
kay


User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1189 times:

"so I pressed right-rudder to lock the aircraft above the runway during climb (quite like during the approach), and I observed how the nose was completely off but the aircraft remained exactly above the centerline"

I hope this doesn't imply you flew out uncoordinated or used a flat turn to get in the required crab? Just checking...  Smile

Cheers,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1168 times:

I was going to check that the next time.. really!
The ball is maybe one of the things I am most conscious about, so I figure I would have noticed if all my crosswind approaches were resulting with the ball uncentered. On the climb-out however, that is a different story..  Smile
A flat turn? well I do correct with the ailerons to keep the wings level.. that would be ..flat?

 Big grin
kay


User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1654 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1162 times:

You are going tp LOVE rudder trim when you get in a plane that has it. Actually, I never use just rudder in a high crosswind takeoff but, also, bank slightly into the wind. Has your instructor covered how to hold aileron in a crosswind takeoff? Start the takeoff with full aileron "banked" into the wind; as your speed picks up, lessen the amount of aileron steadily until liftoff. You will then find yourself with just the right amount of bank so all you have to do is feed in some rudder as required.

User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1162 times:

Kay,
rudder and keeping the wings level would indeed be a flat turn - and ball very much out of center. Bad. Right rudder means you roll right so you'd be keeping left aileron. In other words low and slow with crossed controls - very bad. Be careful up there!  Smile

Cheers,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1157 times:

I remember the plane and/or me banking the wings into the wind, but I only did about three crosswind takeoffs till now and I will make sure to get to the bottom of this before the next encounter

but what I don't understand: "rudder and keeping the wings level would indeed be a flat turn - and ball very much out of center. Bad."
what is the difference with a crosswind approach? aren't you pressing rudder and manually keeping the wings level too? especially when you're close to touchdown?


User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1141 times:

Well, it's not ideal in a crosswind approach either and you should be very wary of what you are doing so that you don't stall. If you do stall, you might spin which you probably won't have enough time to get out of before impacting the ground. However, you are usually descending in that situation so you're not short on power. In fact, one use for slipping on approach is loosing excess altitude or excess speed - the drag penalty is huge. There is also a reason for slipping as it can be somewhat easier to manage than crabbing in and straightening the aircraft out on short final.

On climbout, you're short on power in most GA aircraft. Skidding makes this situation even worse. The rudders "feeling funny" to me indicates that you might have been close to a stall with crossed rudders and the nose high at low alt - very dangerous.

Most of all - there is no reason not to crab while taking off! so why expose yourself to this risk? Be prepared for the crosswind and turn a few degrees into the wind after lift off. But, most of all... don't take my word for it. Ask your instructor.  Smile

Cheers,
Fred



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1126 times:

I will

Thanks enormously for the precious advice and warnings
kay


User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5555 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1104 times:

As an early-learning student, I appreciate the opportunity to "experience" this and read the replies very much. Thanks to all of you.


...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
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