Monday, March 4, 2013

An emerging pattern

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love...

Those were the words I heard on the car radio as I made my way down the dark, cold driveway last Wednesday at the commencement of my early morning commute across town. Those lyrics are from an old song that I've heard so many times that I barely register when it comes on the radio, but they opening lines broke through my pre-5 am funkitude due to the fact that they perfectly described our local situation. You might remember that I was able to finally get some more hours on the airplane on Monday of last week due to some well-needed yet unseasonably nice weather. Karma being what it is, we paid for that nice weather with two very ugly, grey days for Tuesday and Wednesday.

History repeats, or some-such, because we had another nice Monday this week, but the forecast for Tuesday/Wednesday can basically be described as late-season snowmageddon.  Six to eight inches, starting right around the time I start my way back across town on the homeward bound trek.

Cabot is preparing:

Well, no, not really. But he would if he was as smart as the brilliant hound above!

Anxious to build more time and to see if I can get a little better at holding the nose wheel off of the runway after landing to better protect it, I made my way to the hangar right after stopping at the house just long enough to grab an FAA-mandated prescriptive vision correction device.  Yes, my Class III medical now stipulates that I must wear glasses while flying.

The mid-40s temperature helped to get the oil warmed up fairly quickly -- that was nice, because the winds were favoring runway 22, which is a much short taxi than it's opposite end. There wouldn't be a great deal of time for oil heating to occur during taxi. As I was leaving the hangar area, a Beech Bonanza got in line behind me so it was a good thing that I hadn't planned on sitting at the end of the runway waiting for the oil to be ready -- he would have been stuck behind me waiting needlessly.

I was heading down south to Ross Co. airport for a brief meet-up with The Jackson Two. Kyle, the Chief Pilot and Tool Crib Manager had a couple of things to return to me, while I had a crimper of their's that I had been holding onto for so long that it was only a week or two from becoming mine by virtue of squatter's rights and/or common law marriage. Plus, the route TZR -> RZT -> TZR would look funny in my logbook.  I set a direct-to for KRZT, pre-set the desired altitude at 3,500', and set the vertical speed bug at 700 fpm, having decided that the default 500 fpm wasn't ambitious enough given the high amibient pressure and low-ish temps. The plane would want to climb so much faster than 500 fpm that I would likely run out of nose down trim.

As I was blithely riding along letting the autopilot do the yeoman's work of flying the plane, I noticed a sudden addition to the screen: a TRAFFIC alert had popped up seemingly out of nowhere, and it was at my altitude and basically right in front of me.

I took a look in the direction depicted on the display, and sure enough:

Ain't magic grand??!?

We're still in our brown months here in Ohio, but it shouldn't be too much longer before the trees start growing leaves and the grass/weeds start to green. There will be quite a bit of very dark brown lands soon too, as the farmers start to plow for their spring planting.

Here are the two RV-12s meeting for the first time:

I managed to get seven landings in before The Jackson Two arrived. I'm still having trouble keeping the nose up while rolling out after landing, but I think I have a theory. My previous theory was that I was landing too slowly (an RV-6 habit - landing with too much speed in the 6 was the recipe for bouncing on the runway) and I think that theory had merit - I was able to hold the nose up for a brief period if I managed to get full back stick in just after touching down, but it still seemed to really, really want to plant itself. My new theory is that my feet are on the brakes and the gripping of the tires on the runway is causing the nose to 'pivot' down onto the runway. The reason I think this is happening is that I'm not fully comfortable with the non-steerable nose wheel yet. As I'm turning base or final, I'm getting my feet way up high on the rudder pedals to ensure that I will be able to use the brakes for steering if necessary. I think I must be putting enough pressure on the pedals to at least partially engage the brakes.

I'll test that theory next time I get good enough weather to fly. Maybe next Monday, if current patterns hold.


Hugo said...

I'd still call that a pretty sweet landing. Are you still amazed that you are flying something that you, yourself built, or is the novelty wearing off?

DaveG said...

That's a good question - I'm working (by which I mean thinking about it now and then) on a separate post about it. It's a surprisingly difficult question to answer, mostly because I really don't know how I feel about it yet.

Kevin said...

If you don't mind, I have a question about the Skyview. Say I wanted to depart L36 staying below the SMF class C airspace, exit the area, then quickly climb above another (nearby) class C (BAB), or go around it. Does Skyview show where you are relative to the airspace(s)? Thx. Love your posts.

Anonymous said...

Newbie question but how does the -12 taxi on the ground without the nose wheel doing the work? Interested in the -12 and enjoy learning from all the blogs.

DaveG said...

Kevin -

Yes, all special use airspace (SUA) is depicted on the Skyview. There's so much of it, in fact, that you can configure which airspace types are shown. You can even configure at which range levels each is shown. So, I would always show Class B, no matter what the current range setting is, but only show Class C or D at ranges of 100 miles or less to declutter the screen at higher ranges.

Anon -

At low speeds such as taxi speed, steering is done by using the differential brakes. There are separate brake pedals (they're built into the rudder pedals) for each brake. To turn right, just stab at the right brake. Same for left. To slow down, use both. Once you get going fast enough, the rudder has enough air flowing across it to allow it to control steering.

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