Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895778
Milty wrote:@TopCat I still fondly recall my big crosswind lesson a few months back - certainly made me feel alive and whilst challenging, was a very good experience. It followed a week of very calm landings where I was frankly a bit carp because I think I wasn’t forced to focus and concentrate. A bit of crosswind makes it interesting.

Yes it really does.

And I know what you mean about it making you feel alive. I love landing in a difficult gusting crosswind for that very reason.

The day I can't do it any more is when I'll be hanging my headset up.
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By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895780
Rob P wrote:Or just use a crosswind calculator app on your phone?

IMHO this sort of thing is worthless, except perhaps to discern whether a school or club will allow rental on a given day if they have specified crosswind limits based on reported winds.

Knowing which conditions you can land in, and which you can't, should never come down to reading a number off an app, or a whizzwheel.

As I say, the reported wind speed will always be different - and usually higher - than the one at touchdown (simply because the anemometer is usually mounted on a pole, or on a roof, and in any case it isn't where you'll be touching down).

And on a windy day, it'll be different every circuit.

I think it's more about learning how to read the conditions, and read yourself, to decide what you're safe to do on a given day. And this only comes from experience.

It would be sad to not discover that you're perfectly capable of landing in a wind that the app tells you will be X knots of crosswind based on reported wind of Y from Z degrees, when actually at touchdown there may be virtually no crosswind at all.
By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895781
T6Harvard wrote:@TopCat , rightly or wrongly I'm not scared of it, I was just imagining another weather cancellation :(

Rightly, of course. :thumleft:
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By Rob P
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895783
TopCat wrote:IMHO this sort of thing is worthless


You are, of course, entitled to hold that opinion if you wish.

Rob P
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By Miscellaneous
#1895788
TopCat wrote:As I say, the reported wind speed will always be different - and usually higher - than the one at touchdown (simply because the anemometer is usually mounted on a pole, or on a roof, and in any case it isn't where you'll be touching down).

What about at airfields without an anemometer and only a windsock? :wink:
By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895795
Miscellaneous wrote:
TopCat wrote:As I say, the reported wind speed will always be different - and usually higher - than the one at touchdown (simply because the anemometer is usually mounted on a pole, or on a roof, and in any case it isn't where you'll be touching down).

What about at airfields without an anemometer and only a windsock? :wink:

Well it boils down to the same thing - it often looks a lot worse than it is.

And the windsock is often nowhere near the touchdown point, so again, it's just a guide.

Obviously it becomes a judgement call based on experience.

Clearly generations of pilots have learned to fly and judged the wind based just on a windsock, so it can't be that hard.

Personally I find out a lot more about the wind from taxying across the field than I do from the windsock. If it's hard to steer straight taxying at 90 degrees to the wind, I can expect to need to be paying attention when I'm landing.
By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895796
Rob P wrote:
TopCat wrote:IMHO this sort of thing is worthless


You are, of course, entitled to hold that opinion if you wish.

That's super, thanks so much :thumleft:

I'd have thought you'd be a bit more old school though - I can't imagine you're the type to think it's a good thing for student PPLs to base whether to fly or not on a reported wind and a phone app to tell them how much of it is crosswind??

Nice and shiny, of course, but what does it give them beyond knowing that it's half crosswind at 30 degrees off, nearly 3/4 at 45 degrees, and nearly 90%, so effectively all of it) at 60 degrees off?

Just seems like pointless dumbing down to me, made even more so by the fact that it's measured at a different place on the field, and at a different height, to where it's actually important, namely the touchdown point.
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By Rob P
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895797
I merely suggested that a free app that takes up no space on a smartphone might come in handy. It is you who has spiralled off into decisions to fly.

Rob P
By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895800
Rob P wrote:I merely suggested that a free app that takes up no space on a smartphone might come in handy. It is you who has spiralled off into decisions to fly.

What other reason might there be for wanting to know what the crosswind is?
By ericgreveson
#1895830
I've just been told that the last thing I need to get signed off prior to potentially being ready for solo is... crosswind landings. So I need to know what the crosswind is! :-D (it needs to be in the Goldilocks zone... enough to count as a crosswind, but not enough to call off the lesson!)

Going back to the earlier comments about checking all the weather forecasts before the next lesson, days in advance... it's obviously pointless, because if it says it's going to be bad, you'll still end up checking it an hour before the flight - and if it's good, you'll still end up checking it an hour before the flight, and nothing will change before then!

Of course, this didn't stop me checking Windy.com yesterday morning, yesterday evening, the day before yesterday, the day before the day before yesterday, this morning, and this afternoon before my lesson :-D. Next lesson Saturday morning... better check what it's going to be like...
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By lobstaboy
#1895846
ericgreveson wrote:Of course, this didn't stop me checking Windy.com yesterday morning, yesterday evening, the day before yesterday, the day before the day before yesterday, this morning, and this afternoon before my lesson :-D. Next lesson Saturday morning... better check what it's going to be like...


This will continue now. For ever.
It doesn't stop when you're qualified. Watching how the Met is shaping up over the next week or so becomes a continuous process that you'll get good at and, believe it or not, get some satisfaction from.
So keep it up!
T6Harvard, ericgreveson, Milty and 1 others liked this
By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895875
ericgreveson wrote:I've just been told that the last thing I need to get signed off prior to potentially being ready for solo is... crosswind landings. So I need to know what the crosswind is! :-D (it needs to be in the Goldilocks zone... enough to count as a crosswind, but not enough to call off the lesson!)

Yes, and Rob's app will be excellent for brandishing in front of who(m?)ever it will be that has to tick a box that will cover them in the eventuality of you borking up a crosswind landing.

They have to write some stuff down so that if they are ever up before the beak, they can say "well yes, your honour, it did turn out that on that particular landing, there was a freak gust of 200 kt that blew the aeroplane into the nearby barn, killing the pilot and many puppies. However it's not our fault, as the forecast wind was 20 kt, at 30 degrees off the runway, and as eny ful kno, that's 10 kt across (as checked on this handy app, your lordship), and our crosswind limit for student solos is 11".

And thereby be held blameless.

I don't care about any of that. I just care about what it's actually like landing in a crosswind.

And about reassuring students that the real touchdown crosswind will almost always be less than the forecast, or the report from ATC if they give you one.

And that the way of learning the judgement you'll need, isn't to use a crosswind calculator, it's to fly in gradually more demanding conditions, and really learn what it feels like.
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By T6Harvard
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1896582
Aircraft General Knowledge exam passed :mrgreen:

I had a lesson booked but the wind was making it doubtful so I took my revision notes to the airfield to hedge my bets. We debated whether it was too sporty on approach and then awaited a PIREP from another Instructor. In fact by this time it was obvious that the gusts were too strong and it was confirmed outside limits for C152. So I went to revise.

EasyPPL Groundschool paid off again and I was confident after the first 4 questions. It was odd though, there were no questions at all about the instruments :roll:

I had slogged a bit with this subject, no idea why because it's not complicated and most of it was vaguely familiar to start with!

As an added bonus I saw a fellow student in the cafe and we had an animated conversation about the highs of learning to fly :D
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By ericgreveson
#1896584
Great stuff, congratulations! No questions about instruments is a bit weird, I was equally disappointed when the words 'eustachian tube' didn't come up in my Human Performance exam! The wind also put paid to my lesson on Saturday so I got to do my first nav planning ground lesson instead. Fun!
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1896596
I'm not sure if the CAA have quite got the balance right of the supposed 2000 question bank. I seem to recall (although have seemed to forget) that there were quite a few repeat topics and not a full breadth across all of the exams that I have taken.

One student at our school recently reported having to do 10 planned nav trips in the navigation exam. Apparently, the' usual' is up to 4 with some other general nav questions mixed in. To plan 10 trips old school style is beyond human. I believe a complaint has been lodged. All of this by hearsay and not direct knowledge, but there does seem to be some development of the system required.
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