METAR CYOW 182100Z 35007KT 15SM FEW060 10/M03 A3032 RMK CU2 SLP272=
METAR CYOW 182000Z 35010KT 15SM FEW060 11/M04 A3031 RMK CU2 SLP270=
METAR CYOW 181900Z 35011G16KT 15SM FEW056 11/M03 A3031 RMK CU2 SLP270=
We were using runway 280, which is at 280 degrees magnetic. The magnetic deviation in Ottawa is 14 degrees west, so the runway is actually at 266 degrees true. The winds were from 350 degrees true (35011G16KT), or at 85 degrees from the right - pretty much a pure crosswind. Of course, the winds decreased as the day progressed (and after I was on the ground)
11G16kt means the winds were at 11 knots, gusting to 16 (that's 20 km per hour, gusting to 30 kmph).
Did four circuits with the instructor... first time in a while that I've had mean crosswinds, so I wanted to be sure I was OK to go (and, I presume, so did he). The final approaches were reasonably well aligned with a side slip, the landings were busy, but not scary. Though I didn't put it slick on the centre line each time.
But I was cleared to go solo. I wasn't sure what the combination of a light aircraft, and strong crosswinds, was going to hold in store - but it would be a learning experience.
Taxiing down the runway the windsock alternated between straight out, and rather floppy, indicting that the winds were alternating between 5 knots and 15 knots. Joy.
Takeoff and circuit was fine. On the first landing attempt I was again good on the final approach, the aircraft floated as expected, and the wind continued to gust. I eventually called bingo, and decided to go around - overshoot.
On the second circuit altitude varied all over the place... I would be flying along at 1400 ft (circuit altitude), and then suddenly find myself at 1550' with 20 knots more airspeed when I hit a gust. By the time I was on final I decided that this was a good learning experience, and I can fly in these conditions if I had to... but I didn't have to. On the final I radioed for a full stop. The landing was actually pretty good... a gust hit me and I ballooned, so a bit of throttle took me further down the runway and gently descending, I managed to stay near the centre, and by the time I was wheels down my nose was well up in the air.
I decided to pick up up the self-loading ballast (as instructor David sometimes calls himself), as his added weight would allow us to float less and land earlier, thus reducing my exposure to gusts.
As I backtracked to the start of the runway I noticed we had no oil pressure, and a medium-high oil temperature. We went to the run-up area, and found the oil pressure needle started to move at 1200 RPM, and was approaching the green at 1700 RPM. The engine had lots of oil (I had checked it), and the school responded to our radio inquiry saying that this was not unusual.
I developed a protocol with David... I'll do the take-off, he watches engine RPM (minimum 2000, with 2200 normal), and oil pressure (I wanted it up into the green with no fluctuation). If anything wasn't in range, he says "reject" and I'll keep us on the ground.
The takeoff went fine, the needles were within specifications. On the climb the oil pressure was at the bottom edge of the green, and the oil temperature was at the top edge of the green range. We apparently had sufficient oil, but it was quite hot.
Then I remembered that the air inlet baffles were still in place - restrictors that reduce the volume of air entering the cowling, and thus allowing the engine to stay warm in cold-air conditions. Depending on the outside air temperature (OAT), we can use zero, one or two baffles. We had two in place, the OAT was 56F, and we should have had none. Normally, during the course of the day, we take out baffles as the day as the OAT increases.
I landed, and we went home. It was a decent approach, and an OK landing.
Time: 1.5 (0.4 solo)
Landings: 7 (2 solo)
- Handling crosswind on final approach (best I've done)
- Patience on the landing
- Situational awareness, positional awareness of traffic
- Radio work in a busy environment
- Need to keep the stick to the upwind side during a crosswind landing, and expect to land on one wheel. I tend to square up the airplane during the flare, which results in drift across the runway.
- Should have looked up cold weather operations in the Airplane Operating Manual (AOM), and removed one or both of the baffles before flight.
- In still winds I find landings happen slowly. In crosswinds the rest of the flight is easy, but landings are busy. This remains the flight phase where I have fewest skills, and continue to need practice.
- On the solo overshoot I put in the power at the same time the nose pitched well down (due to a gust getting under a wing). Suddenly I was nose down with full power. I got the nose up in a hurry and got out of Dodge. My main gear just kissed the runway... glad I was nose-up (the Eclipse's prop has a 10 inch ground clearance - you don't want to be nose-down on a hard landing)