Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Winter Flight Proficiency Training

During the Winter it can be more difficult to maintain flight proficiency due to inclement weather and limited fair weather flying days.  This week we were lucky and the weather cooperated just enough that I was able to fly with flight instructor Jim Hudson.  There was a fresh blanket of snow on the runway in Nampa which made for perfect conditions to practice soft field takeoffs and landings.  In this video we start off with a soft field take off.  To set the flaps we fully lower one aileron and then match the flap setting to the angle of the aileron.  This ends up being about 20 degrees of flaps in the C182 we are flying.  Making sure we are operating at full power we try to become airborne and get the wheels out of the snow as soon as we can.  You can hear the stall horn as I lift the wheels out of the snow.  Once above the snow the airplane isn't really ready to fly yet and is in ground effect so we level off about a foot or two above the runway and fly just above the runway until we reach rotation speed and then continue our takeoff.

The soft snow on the runway made for some super soft landings.  Because the runway was pretty slick I also had to really concentrate on my rudder control to keep the plane lined up with the runway.  I also used very minimal braking because the tires would slip when just tapping the brakes.  This is a video of landing on the snow covered runway in Nampa.

We also did some emergency landing practice which was a little bit scary but really good for building flight proficiency.  I have always been afraid of what is sometimes called "The Impossible Turn" and this training gave me a better idea of the minimum heights and conditions at which it can be performed.  It also really put it into perspective the importance of always having an emergency landing area in mind in case you don't have enough altitude to perform this maneuver.  In this case we are in a C182 under full power climbing between Vx and Vy and you can see the altimeter is indicating we are at about 500' AGL when my instructor motions to cut the power.  I would never perform this maneuver without a qualified and experienced flight instructor on board unless it was an actual emergency. 

This video shows me performing a touch-and-go landing on the snow covered runway.  After the touch-and-go my instructor motions to fly a bit more over to the right of the runway.  You can't hear the audio but he recommends doing that just in-case we were to have an engine failure as it would make it easier to return to the runway if we needed to.  Keep in mind I don't know that he is planning to have me perform this emergency maneuver.  When he motions to cut the power I am really surprised at first but then my past flight training kicks in and I immediately pitch for best angle of glide.  Once that is established I start my turn, concentrating on my airspeed, not over banking the airplane, and keeping everything coordinated and the ball centered.  You can see that I actually overshoot the turn back to the runway a bit and then have to line it up before we touch down so we actually had even more time than I anticipated.  You might also notice that our ground speed is really fast on this landing compared to the others.  The reason for that is that we had about a 12kt headwind on the first landing which meant we had about a 12kt tailwind on the emergency landing.  This was a great day of learning and I hope I never have to use this training in a real emergency situation but at least I have a better understanding of the limitations and abilities of myself and the airplane.

This is a view of the GPS track of our flight from ForeFlight.  It shows the difference between the track of a normal takeoff and the track of the emergency landing.

Instructor Jim Hudson sent me this video of the Impossible Turn that he recorded from our emergency landing flight.  The flight was recorded using software called cloud ahoy.  Just a reminder that this maneuver should only be practiced with an experienced flight instructor.

No comments:

Post a Comment