Lesson 31
16 February
1.3 hours

The weather looked bad when I got to the airport today, and it began to sprinkle while I was doing the preflight.  The fuel tanks were only about 1/3 full, so I had to call for the fuel truck.  Adam said he wanted to see if I'd do it on my own, and I considered that, but he got out to the plane before I really got around to it.  Anyway, calling UNICOM and asking for the fuel truck was easy.  We sat in the plane chatting while waiting.

There was a fairly stiff crosswind--090 at 8 gusting 14--so we did a crosswind check just to be sure that it wasn't too strong to take off.  It worked out to about 11 knots peak crosswind (during gusts).  Cessna claims to have flown the plane in a 12 knot crosswind, so we went for it.

Taxiing was interesting, as the wind gusts kept causing it to slew around--not really much, but enough to make me feel silly now and then, especially with the sloppy controls in that trainer.

Left aileron on takeoff and a bit of right rudder, and we were off smoothly.

At the practice area we did lots of ground reference maneuvers--turns around a point and turns along a road.  Got them pretty well and was pleased to find that I could keep the altitude reasonably constant and the ground tracks more or less constant, too.

Back at the field, we did two crosswind landings.  The first was pretty ragged, as I let the wind blow me past the line of the runway and then had to fight to get lined up, keep the left wing low and put in enough right rudder to get the nose pointed down the runway. The second landing was better, and except for floating a bit managed to get down smoothly enough.  Well, not smoothly enough, but a lot smoother.

One of the main advances I made today was in finally getting a better sense of how to keep track of the wind direction during maneuvers.  It's simple enough, of course--I just hadn't quite gotten my mind around it until now.  You get the wind direction and note that on the DG.  Then as you're turning you can almost see the wind on the DG card as it rotates.  That makes it somewhat easier to keep track in your mind of which parts of the turn you have to have steeper and shallower banks.

I was able to keep track of how the point we were turning around would be ahead of the wind when we were banking tighter going downwind and behind it when banking shallower going upwind.  (I hope I don't have that backwards.)

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