Author Topic: Not This Time  (Read 2984 times)

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Offline Bill James

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Not This Time
« on: December 28, 2013, 11:33:14 PM »
Not This Time
The nose swings around to the South and I can see the nose tire swerve and straighten on the center stripe of Runway 17. Throttle up and the plane hunches up for the takeoff run. Off the brakes and a couple of jabs of left rudder keeps us on the center stripe. Nose tire comes off at sixty and the mains spin free an instant later.
No sedate 100 mph climb. Not this time. This time a gentle squeeze on the stick pushes the nose over and the airspeed needle cranks up for a fifty-foot full speed rush down the runway. Over the departure end a firm squeeze on the stick and we’re surging skyward big time with a quick snap to the left around crosswind and a quick snap right to wings-level and in a flash we’re on downwind at pattern altitude. A little nose over and she’s cookin’ downwind and back on the power and we’re swooping around left base to final. Wings level and we’re smooth sailing not a burble down the runway and in a blur we’re past the numbers and heading up again big time and calling outbound to the northeast. 
Over the next rise there is no time to wait for the friends to come out and wave. Not this time. This time it’s just a once over and a quick wing waggle and we’re movin on to greener pastures.
No gentle swoop over the lakeshore past the RC guys on their new mini-runway. Not this time. This time we hurry on and briskly jink and juke with the rudders loosely following the swerves of Bear Creek. We flash past the railroad tracks and fall off the edge of civilization into the open flat ranchlands.
No big wide circles contemplating the engine gauges. Not this time. This time there’s not much time so we go straight for the good stuff, wingovers, eyes outside with the occasional glance at the gauges and the steady exhaust tone thrumming all’s well.
This time on the third or forth pull up, for the first time in a long time I think about what I’m doing. I think about the steps of the wingover maneuver. For an instant I’m back in the orange and white exhaust-tinged T-28 with its 1425 hp and massive three-bladed prop tugging and twisting and torqueing the airplane in all the wrong directions. I remember struggling to counter each excursion with the taught control input and the awkward conclusions that resulted from raw memorization. I remembered how much rudder was needed at 220 kts and how much more was needed at 100 kts and how easy it was to come out the bottom of a loop 45 degrees off heading. And how all you can do is keep trying.
Floating across the top today I remember the day back then when it all came together, when just the right nudge of rudder at just the right time worked magic. When you’d done so many wingovers in the air and in your sleep that it was second nature. When you knew what the airplane was going to do before it did it. When you started intuitively putting in that nudge of rudder and that squeeze of the stick and the throttle just ahead of time - the right time, the day you learned to outsmart, or more specifically you learned to work with the molecules. The next couple of wingovers fade back and forth between the massive riveted canopy and the svelte clear canopy.
A check of the time has us banking hard for home, returning to normal and enjoying the simple, sleek nature of this airplane. The entry and pattern are smooth and delightful and we glide silently through base. Turning final I confidently confirm nose gear down for the third time. The tetrahedron is about twenty degrees to the left, the windsock is twitching a little, and the trees there can cause some burble. At fifty feet I start the gentle mixing of the stick as usual. A little mixing of the stick and a little throttle through ground effect always help for a gentle arrival. This time it’s just a tad too little throttle, and just a tad too late. We drop in from two feet.
I usually only log one landing per flight.
But not this time.   :)

Have a Great New Year!     
Bill   

« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 11:45:04 PM by Bill James »
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze N95BJ
Downdraft Plenums, QuickCowls
There was supposed to be anhedral?
ATP, Society of Flight Test Engineers

Offline EZRider

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Re: Not This Time
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 03:49:14 PM »
I could feel it! Thanks
Don
WWW.Longez209.com

Offline Fred N.

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Re: Not This Time
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 09:32:30 AM »
Bill --

Thanks for another ride!  The last one was great and so was this one.  You are certainly gifted with the pen.  Thanks for the description of a wing over.  I don't think we did those in the T-37 -- not any torque with center-line jets.  We flew the pattern at 200.  T-28s flew it at 160.  Sometimes they had to fly it at 200 if they lapped into our landing periods.

Best wishes to you and all others here.  May your flying dreams and memories be as good or better than this one

Fred N.

Offline knitwicca

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Re: Not This Time
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 09:40:35 AM »
Quote
I usually only log one landing per flight.
But not this time.   :)

Those lines make this student pilot feel so much better.
Thanks to an experienced pilot from a student who despairs of ever finding the "perfect landing".