Just down, and posting via iPad. (Hee.)
I haven't flown at night in...well, we won't go there. Suffice it to say that it's been a while. I used to like doing it, but the place where I was renting from for so long refused to let their planes go out after 5PM, so it's had to wait until I got my own plane. (Reason #37 why I bought my own.)
I went out to the airport tonight because I had the night free and because I was mad at myself for passing on the opportunity last night when it was clear and calm and basically perfect. Tonight was clear, but when I got to the airport it was anything but calm, with winds rolling in between 7-11 knots on a quartering headwind along the runway. It was not the best conditions for some night refresher pattern work, but I was here, and a little wind practice is always good to get.
Actually I was sort of on the fence about going up until I heard another aircraft taking off. Heck, if they can fly, so can I.
I launched off Runway 26 and came around the pattern. First shot back in, winds were 9 knots at 330. I'd already noticed how the wind pushed me out in the pattern, so I came in fast with just 20 degrees flaps and kept the windward wing down until flare time. I greased it in smooth as silk and launched again.
Second go-around, the wind has stepped up to 11 knots at 320. I decided to try something a bit different this time. I came over the fence at about 90 knots crabbed, and kicked the rudder at the flare-point, swinging the nose around to centerline at the last second. It looked good but I still came down with some tire-screeching sideload, so on the third approach I went back to just keeping the windward wing down. The wind was 10 at 330 now, and I almost made it a full-stop and quit because I was getting buffeted a fair bit, but this touchdown was so sweet that I launched again for a fourth one. This time on final, the wind was 12 knots, so I called for a full stop and came in hot with just ten degrees flap. I've got over 7,800 feet of runway, so it's not like I need to get her stopped in any kind of a hurry. The plane flared beautifully and dropped down right on the numbers with hardly a squeak of stall horn, then I coasted her down to the second turn-off and called it a night. It was a bit of a workout, but I feel better for the practice.
I do love night flying, and I've missed it. And now that I've got my own plane, I can do as much of it as I want. Yay, plane!
Now it's Miller time.