Windy & Gusting Conditions

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by glpilot, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This came to mind today as I was checking the weather from my desk at work. (Yes I know, very busy where I work ;)) Below are METARs from some of the local airports. (I rent out of LZU)

    [font=Monospace,Courier]KWDR 082240Z AUTO 32014G19KT 267V337 10SM CLR 07/M05 A2988 RMK AO1[/font]
    [font=Monospace,Courier]KPDK 082153Z 32015G21KT 10SM CLR 08/M06 A2985 RMK AO2 SLP112 T00831061[/font]
    [font=Monospace,Courier]KLZU 082245Z 31010G20KT 7SM SKC 07/M08 A2988

    (The conditions earlier today in the afternoon were more severe than listed above)

    [/font]
    [font=Monospace,Courier]One of the things I feel I personally would like to get more time in, maybe even with a CFI, is windy and gusting conditions. Personally I think the worst conditions I have been in flying a Skyhawk were about 12 knots of wind about 40-50 degrees off the runway with gusts between 10-15 knots. That day in the pattern felt like work. I did about 5 circuits, and one of them was a go-around. Another time I experienced what I believe was a gust that made my stall horn go off while on final even though my airspeed was good. It got my attention! Looking at the conditions at the above airports I doubt I would go up today, but I don't know if I am being too conservative.

    If a CFI was willing I believe I would definitely want to try and get some work in that wind. But standing outside today I felt like I was getting blown around. I'm wondering if I might be able to handle such windy conditions once I am enroute somewhere needing to land and the wind is strong! I feel confident I would not bend metal, and the dirty side would be facing down. Or am I being too confident in my ability?

    I landed well on the day mentioned above, not all pretty, but all on the centerline, dipping the wing and using rudder to track straight. I know when I had to push the plane into its parking space I actually had a hard time pushing her into its spot. I didn't actually take off in these conditions, it just got worse as I was away and came back to LZU to do some pattern work. This was a few weeks before my checkride.

    [/font][font=Monospace,Courier] Interested in hearing what the more experienced aviators have to say about this topic and what kind of windy conditions they may have faced that concerned them.

    Save Flying!
    George
    [/font]
     
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  2. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    It's a lot less fun than it sounds - trying it with a CFI is a very good idea.

    My most memorable landing to date was at KAGP (Allegheny County, Pittsburgh) in 18G24 conditions. The good news was, it was right down the runway.

    We'd departed KMTN (Baltimore, Martin State) with a forecast winds at AGP of 12. We had a great ride up until 30 miles out when we dropped down below 4,000MSL and the ride got really bumpy.

    On about a mile final I had a really interesting moment as the wind suddenly dropped off by about 10 kts and the nose and stall horn both chose that moment to wake up - one by pitching down and one by pitching up (guess which was the down...).

    Had plenty of altitude and recovered fine but it was one of those landings where I was just happy to get all three down - forget trying to make it pretty - just not break anything.
     
  3. Don Jones

    Don Jones Line Up and Wait

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    Tis but a breeze, its interesting to hear from pilots across the country. I did my comm check ride in 19G27, fact is every checkride I have had so far(3) was in the wind, hear in the desert southwest we don't have much IMC, but we got wind!! It would be a great idea to find a CFI and go get in some of that wind. Like you said, you never know what cards you will be dealt arriving somewhere on a long CC. I love crosswind practice, best workout you can have. One hour in the pattern leaves me exhausted, but with feeling of a real accomplishment.
    Don
     
  4. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    I know the feeling, the winds on Sunday in NC were challenging. We had 230 @ 15kts, so I took the opportunity to request RWY32 in the C172R. I did a pretty good job considering the changing conditions with regard to gusts, but couldn't help think I would like to do about 20 more of these with one of our CFIs aboard.

    I really hate that cross-controlled feeling, I prefer to crab with wings level then use a lot of rudder. The crosswind and gusts changed my mind on that, there just isn't enough rudder to keep it on the centerline. I put it down on the mains, but I was drifting downwind on the flare.
     
  5. RobertGerace

    RobertGerace Guest

    George,

    I flew in that today! I left LZU at 8:00am and flew up to Statesville (SVH).

    How did it go? Hmmmmm...

    The takeoff from LZU was uneventful, but several hundred feet off the runway the airplane turned left on its own (gust from the right) -- kind of set the tone for the flights. :)


    It wasn't too bad. I had asked for 9,000 to hopefully be above it, but I got stuck at 7. Pretty much from Atlanta to Electric City (ELW) was fairly smooth. Then the clouds were at my level and I knew I was going to take a pasting.

    I started slowing down and dis-engaged the autopilot. In the clouds I went.

    I LOVE flying in clouds in moderate turbulence. That is the best and most exciting hand-flying there is. Especially when you know that a few hundred feet up or a few thousand feet down it is clear.

    I iced up in those clouds as well, but I didn't care. Again, I knew I could get out (either up or down). These kinds of 'tests' of your skills are something I long for. I *want* to ice up really good to see what happens...knowing that it is above freezing below.

    I want to get bounced all around in those clouds...my thinking is that if I can handle that...I can handle anything.

    I always hand-fly IMC if there is even a little rough air. Almost always even in smooth air.

    So, I go to land at SVH. As I came down final I had a direct crosswind worse than the METARS you posted above. As I got close to the end of the runway, I experienced windsheer. Everything forward and "Statesville Traffic, Twin Cessna 310RG is going around!"

    That is the first go around I've done in quite a while.

    My second landing was much better, but I'll tell ya, when the wheels were on the ground I let out an audible sigh (even though solo). That was work; it was what one of my favorite CFI's called, "Real Man Flying!"

    So I get in the FBO at Statesville and a jet-jockey looks over his nose at me. I figured he was probably thinking I suck because I had to go around.

    In comes a Lowe's Jet. The pilot gets on final, hits the windsheer and...you guessed it...goes around! That's the first time I've seen a jet go around.

    The flight back was more of the same, but I flew it back at 10,000 and this time managed to not log a minute of IMC. Landing back at LZU this afternoon, the wind was so strong that I used all three methods (started above grass on right side of runway), slipped, crabbed-with-kickout.

    All in all, an AWESOME day of flying!
     
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  6. citationxjl

    citationxjl Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I probably need a CFI to go up with me in calm conditions :) It was always windy in ND. Our school goes no fly at 35kts. You just learn to fly in it. Definitely go up with an instructor in some gusty winds until you get used to it. I did most of my training without any winds, then moved to ND for CFI, CFII, and MEI training. During my CFI course, my instructor had to take over a few times during landing because of the crosswind. I was so mad at myself because I was training to be a CFI and couldnt even land in a little wind!! I got used to it quick and now wind is no big deal.

    Just start with gusty conditions right down the runway and gradually work towards gusty crosswinds. You will get it!!
     
  7. Rudy

    Rudy Line Up and Wait

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    As far as my training has gone, the first 20 or so hours i had no wind and then Kansas got a little windy on me. Im still not completely comfortable with a hard crosswind, but im getting used to it. I just look at it as "i know i can get the plane on the runway,i just don't know if it'll be center line" haha I am getting better and better as time goes though. And someday ill do it with no problem. Only practice will help i guess.
     
  8. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bob, you "don't want to ice up real bad". It'll scare the s_it outta you. It will happen soon enough, just as long as you have a real out.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2005
  9. RobertGerace

    RobertGerace Guest

    Bruce,

    That's my point. I would rather it happen on a day like today -- where I'm certain I can descend a few thousand feet and melt it off out of clouds...and learn how my airplane handles carrying that much weight, etc....

    So when the day (or most likely, night) comes when I do for real...and I'm doing everything I can to get out of it...I know what the margin is. This is wrong thinking?

    Also: maybe 'real bad' can be taken different ways. I never want to ice up so bad I have a tail stall...I never want to ice up so bad that I can't maintain altitude....I never want to ice up so bad that the engines are quitting as I'm going on alternate air...etc., etc., etc.

    Real bad: means a good, heavy load of rime (with no mixed or clear) that is within the abilities of my bird, but not beyond them. ;)

    But back to the point...if one does not 'go play' in this stuff under mostly safe and controlled conditions, how is one to know how bad things are, or to learn the way weather works, or to learn more about where the outs are, and how to find them?
     
  10. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup. I once got a load of clear in about 30 seconds. I had the hired Executive Director (nonpilot) of Lifeline aboard, and the Founding Mother of the organization on our way to Chicago. Chicago Approach refused to let us climb. So we did anyway...used the E-word, and had at. Lumbered out on top at 300 fpm at 100% power having cycled everything five or six times. Took about 30 minutes to sublimate the load. My undergarments were quite, well moist when we put it in the Hangar at Palwaukee.....

    Kind of like my feelings about teaching spin recovery. We gotta do it.
     
  11. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

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    Couple of thoughts.

    You can handle more wind than you think you can. But you will be glad you got on the ground.

    Winds are like fish. They get bigger with the telling.

    I once tried the Mooney in almost direct 25G35 and ended up going somewhere else.

    I like to crab to ground effect and then straigten out. Winds and gusts seem to abate near the ground.

    Eric
     
  12. spiderweb

    spiderweb Final Approach

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    Depending on what you fly, those winds aren't all that bad unless, that is, you haven't practiced much in them. I'd suggest quite simply that you go up with a crosswind-loving CFI the next time those winds roll in and get yourself seven or eight landings.
     
  13. RobertGerace

    RobertGerace Guest

    Thanks Bruce.

    Eric: Amen.
     
  14. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    METAR's and TAF's for Chattanooga were similar. I had the 172 scheduled, but looking at those winds and runway 2, I chickened out. Looking at the xwind chart, that was something like 14-17kt crosswind component, and I wasn't up for the thrill, and my instructor wasn't available.

    I am starting to get disgusted, though. It's like a chicken/egg thing, and I can't ever seem to find that "ideal" amount of xwind to go out and get experience. I think I could be ok at about 10kt xwind component, and really learn something at that level (as opposed to just survival get the bird down and clean pants).

    Argh! My acro instructor says xwind skills just come with time, but I hate being a prisoner of the wind.:(
     
  15. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A few methods to learn winds on your own:

    Start flying landings in the AM when the wind is down on a day when they are predicted to increase to a level near the edge of your comfort zone. This way you immerse yourself gradually instead of jumping in feet first. If your airport has only one runway, scope out an alternate that would provide one more aligned with the wind if conditions go well beyond what you can tolerate.

    Reverse that. Go out in the late afternoon on a windy day that promises calmer conditions in an hour or two. Keep in mind that you can abort any landing that's not working out and that it should get easier as the day progresses.

    On a day with decent wind velocity and a direction that favors a runway at your airport, fly a couple landings at every adequate strip within 30-50 miles of home base. Chances are really good that you will encounter all kinds of wind issues.

    If you have crossing runways at your airport, try landing on the one that has the most crosswind a few times whenever you go flying.
     
  16. lsimonds

    lsimonds Pre-Flight

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    Second that Amen.

    For me, the amount of crosswind component I'm comfortable with is directly related to how much I'm flying...same with down the runway wind in the taildragger, but that's mainly due to taxiing. Since January, I've barely flown 2-3 times a month, so I just wait for fair breezes. If I'm flying at least double that, I feel a lot better prepared to take on the wind challenge close to the ground. I guess I play it pretty safe. Now, in light of Eric's observation I have to add that I come from a long line of folks who never let the truth stand in the way of a good story
     
  17. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I go flying at the minimum one time a month right now. Schedule, weather, finances, life all affect the decision. So I understand on that particular day where the wind may influence your decision and keep you on the ground. In essence a PRISONER OF THE WIND. I'm definitely going to grab CFI one of these days and just do pattern work when the winds seem ornery. :) I just have to get into it and work it for myself so that I KNOW I will handle it. On a windy day there probably are planes available to rent and a CFI or two sitting on the couch.
     
  18. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bob,

    Hope you filed a pirep on the wind shear. My last really ugly experience with shear was at Jonesboro. I mean really ugly, and on the climbout. I filed a pirep with Center, just before the inbound King Air hit it. He did go around.

    As for icing, learn and be careful. On my plane, in rime, you'll see it on the wings, but "feel" it on the prop first. And once the prop ices, you're going lower, not higher.

    Bruce's comments duly noted. Chicago is unforgiving and not very helpful. Voice of experience inbound to ARR.

    bill
     
  19. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, taking a quick look at weather.com it says Saturday W 24 mph. Dunno if it will be good for much of a cross wind work since we have runway 25 coming at the home field. But I may run down to the airfield at lunch and see if a CFI/Aircraft are available at a time I can get there and see about getting some "Wind Flying Work" in to keep the confidence solid. :)
     
  20. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    The trick to wind confidence is to find your comfort level, and then slowly chip away at it by going out in conditions *slightly* worse than your previous comfort level. (Within the limits of the plane, of course)

    This is the "pushing the envelope" stuff writ small. You're not dealing with what the plane can do, you're dealing with what YOU can do.

    We learn to walk by taking one step. Doing it several times. Then, we can take a bunch of steps without falling down. Eventually, we can walk, then run without worrying about it.

    The key with winds and planes is the definition of "falling down". You want to get uncomfortable, but not unsafe.
     
  21. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    Having no xwind at home field can be a good thing - just find a nearby field to fly to that isn't as well aligned with the wind. :)
     
  22. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    10 minute flight to the east is KWDR with two runways, I'll get on CTAF and have them clear out I'm coming in. ;)
     
  23. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, I sure wanted it to be windy tomorrow (SATURDAY) but if its like it is right now, I think it will be a bit much. :(

    Local airfields:

    KLZU 112045Z 31018G35KT 260V320 7SM SCT085 13/M07 A2968
    KWDR 112100Z AUTO 30030G40KT 10SM SCT090 14/M04 A2968 RMK AO1

    [font=Monospace,Courier]KPDK 112053Z AUTO 30025G33KT 10SM SCT090 13/M07 A2969 RMK AO2 PK WND 28033/2052 SLP057 T01331072 53001 TSNO[/font]


    GUSTS at almost 40KTS, wind between 18-30 KTS.