Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Night Flight

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.


  1. If God wanted man to fly at night we would be sleeping hanging upside down in caves. It is an unnatural act.

  2. Naw, Ed...that's why they put a headlight out on the wing. ;-)

  3. LOL, good practice, and keeping the wing down IS a better option!