Saturday, February 10, 2007

A short flight

The public forecast was for a storm to move in this afternoon. The thermal forecast was dismal. I figured if the weather was bad I'd just do some patterns to practice landings in the PW5... They've been bumpy lately. But the ground temperature exceeded the trigger temp by 6 degrees by 11:00, the cloud cover was thin and no more than 50%, so it turned out to be soarable.

The tow pilot took me to an odd location, so I knew she was trying to take me to lift. I let off at 3300' AGL and found a little 2-3 kt lift. But all I could find was sink until I was down near pattern altitude. Then I found some zero sink and a knot of lift.

A hawk was at my level a short distance away, so I coasted over near it. It was hard to tell whether it was circling, hovering, or what, but it seemed like I was going around it. At one point, to stay centered in what little lift I could find, I passed right under the hawk. I was no more than 30' below it. Then it was gone! I guess I was too close for his comfort.

I ended up with a 24-minute flight. The pattern was weird... First sink, then lift, so I ended up high on final. Then I ended up short in ground effect. I think I need to move my aiming point closer to my intended touchdown point so I can flare and touch down without needing to close spoilers during the float. Touchdown was pretty gentle and very straight. I think the PW5 touches down on the main wheel and bangs down a bit on the nose wheel. Maybe if I let the nose down a bit (unlike the tail-dragger Blanik) it will touch down on both at the same time, more smoothly.
Sent from my Blackberry. 

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