Hawarden 12 Dec 2014. PA38 - G-BYMD
Because my instructor was still restricted I flew 3 circuits with another instructor in preparation. On all 3 I had to point the nose about 10deg to the right to compensate for the wind and maintain runway heading.
When the instructor got out I felt really alone
I went through the check lists twice to make sure. Then taxied off to runway 22. I got a shock when getting my clearance from the tower when the yoke suddenly started bouncing all over the place - had to get them to repeat the clearance. That should have been my first clue that something was up.
Once airborne things changed. The wind had picked up and I now had to swing the nose to the right about 20 degrees to compensate for the wind and once I got above the factory buildings to my right I could see the clouds heading towards me. First decision - b*ll*cks to the noise abatement, I'm getting back down as soon as I can. The climb rate caught me out. I hadn't appreciated there would be such a difference and before I knew it I was up at 1200ft
On downwind I kept looking at the weather approaching and I finally understood the saying "better on the ground wishing to be in the air, than in the air wishing to be on the ground."
Turned base and started to descend. There was no horizon ahead of me, just clouds, so I kept descending until I remembered the 500ft rule (at 450ft
) Still couldn't see the horizon ahead, just clouds. Turned base and was cleared to land with the wind 50deg off the nose at 16kt (outside the school's 10kt crosswind limit for a solo student but not much option now
). I remember the tower asking what my intentions were. My reply wasn't exactly CAP 413: "I'll give it a go but expect a go around".
In the end the landing wasn't actually that bad (due to all the crosswind practice you get at Hawarden
Taxied back in and the wind had dropped again. Sod's Law
Both my instructors saw the whole thing and told me afterwards that they spotted the wind picking up, decided to call me back. However as they were calling the tower they saw me get airborne.
Looking back on it the clouds were never that close to the airport - probably at least 2-3 miles away and no real issue. However, without the experience to know this it seemed a problem at the time.