Sunday, March 22, 2015

That Ol' Wind

No, I'm not referring to the Garth Brooks song.  I'm talking about the 14G17 (read: 14 knots, gusting 17 knots) crosswind at KHNB during my lesson last week.

Due to said wind, there was no question I wasn't going to solo that night, just work on landings, which proved to be quite a challenge.

I've faced winds like this before.  Once.  Like the previous lesson, the wind was out of the south-southwest, which meant the approach was going to be dicey due to the grove of trees just south of the threshold.  Joy.

The first couple of landings were a bit rough.  The third was so dicey we made it a full stop then pulled back to two-seven and took off again, this time Randy assisting with the landing.  We decided to land longer for the remaining landings to avoid the turbulence rolling off the trees.  This made for a much more stable approach.  The landings were better, but the rollout on the last one of the evening was far from good.  I wasn't rattled, I was just not doing it as well as I have in the past.

The highlight of the evening was actually the pre-solo written test.  We reviewed some items prior to the test that I was unlikely to know on my own or via my training, then I was given the test and left to complete it.  It was open-book, but some of the items related to the field at KHNB and would have been my responsibility to know.  Which I did.

When I completed the test, we reviewed each answer.  There were a couple answers that were wrong on the key, one being total oil capacity.  The inside cover of the C72M POH lists oil capacity as 8 quarts.  The page listing fuel and engine capacities reads "Sump: 8 quarts.  Total: 9 quarts" for the oil.   The question specifically asked for the total oil capacity, so I put 9.  They were looking for 8.  I showed Randy this second listing in the POH which he seemed to be unaware of.  My answer was counted right, though I understand the reasoning behind the 8 quart answer.  We discussed it, possibly the 9th quart is deemed unusable.  But it is still part of the total capacity, just like the 4 gallons of unusable fuel in the fuel system.

When all was said and done, I aced it.  100%.  Next week, weather permitting, we'll consider doing my first solo.  3 laps around the pattern dual, full stops on each, then come in, shut down, and discuss if we both agree we're comfortable with me flying solo.  If so, Randy will get out, I'll fire 34Q back up, and do 3 more laps with full stops after each.

To say I'm excited would be a huge understatement.  To say I'm nervous would be an even bigger one.  I believe I'm ready, Randy thinks I'm ready, the plane is ready.  If we could just get the weather on board with our plan...

Two Victor Uniform, clear of the active.

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