Thursday, March 13, 2014

Respect the gust

For the most part most of my landings have calm winds or winds down the runway. After all most airports are designed so that the runways favor the prevailing winds in the area. I saw most because I know of one airport that always has crosswinds...KLIT...Little Rock, Arkansas.

Weeks can go by without a decent crosswind landing. Last night my streak ended.

Strong cold front is blowing across the country. The day was just a leg day. Very late start with a 3:40PM van. The inbound was late so the van was pushed until 4:30PM.

Instead of departing at 4:25PM we left at 5:20PM. My leg. Easy two hour flight. I tried to fly fast to make up time, but with 100+ knot headwinds it didn't help much.

Arrived almost an hour late. My original schedule had an hour sit...which was of course now gone.

We blocked out 30 minutes late. With a 100 knot tailwind I was able to make up 15 minutes.

Winds at the outstation were reported at 310@15G30. Landing runway 36.  The base VREF speed for the weight was 129 knots. My airline uses half the steady state wind + all the gust to set approach speed. Maximum additional speed is 20 knots. With the reported winds I got the full 20 knots so the approach speed was 149 knots...or 170 MPH.

Clear night. Turning a 6 mile final the MFD was showing winds at 290 at 55 knots and gusting.

Bumpy ride down the glide path. The plane was rocking and rolling from the gust. I didn't try over correcting for the wind. I just kept the plane on glide path and made small corrections for lateral movement. The airport is surrounded by trees. Once below the tree line the gust died down. Around 10 feet I kicked the nose to the right and added a good chunk of left aileron. Like butter.

Another long overnight. It's very odd having a 4:35PM van.

Two legs today and three tomorrow.

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