Monday, March 8, 2010

The Paint Shaker--March 7, 2010


Woke up at 7:20.  Breakfast, shower, airport.

The winds were calm on departure.  Oh, how the earth can toy.  I flew the 75 miles out to the flight plan and was on station at 9:15 this of the earliest times...but still a whole 35 minutes too late.  I was doing north-south lines on this project, but I couldn't even do one line.  I had too much of a crab angle...the winds were kickin' out of the west!  So I had to move to another.

Going east-bound, I was doing 127-133 knots.  Coming back west-bound, I was pegged on 66-67 knots.  Wow.  Those ARE some crazy winds.  And they unleashed their fury EARLY today.  Ok, so picture this.  You have a pond.  No water movement, no current, no nothing.  You put a canoe in it, and it just sits there.  Well, air and water have the same qualities.  I LOVE pond days.  Now picture this...a stream with a smooth bottom.  The water moves, and the canoe either goes fast (with the stream) or slow (against the stream).  He may even go sideways (like today) if he tries to float across the river, rather than with it.  Now picture THIS:  a river with large rocks underneath the shallow surface.  Translation:  white-water rafting.  Well, that is EXACTLY what we had today.  The winds were kickin' at 35 knots...and they had these Ozark Hills to bounce over.  And here I was in my little dinghy trying to ford the dang thing.  It was nothing short of MISERABLE at 10:30.  I mean, seriously, I don't even get how turbulence can be this bad.  It simply treats your airplane like a rag doll.  It asks no questions, and it shows no mercy.  Agh, and it was so early today!!!

For safety's sake, for our sake, and for the picture's sake, we called it.  I climbed up to 6500 feet and begged for mercy.  It was decent above 5000.  I swear, though, on climb-out, I actually saw (and took a picture) of a lenticular cloud, though.  These winds were seriously wreaking havoc on the earth...they didn't even need a mountain to make such a thing!  But the flight back was fine...I was just above the clouds.

I was told to expect Runway 32, and I had winds from 240 at 11 gusting to 17.  Needless to say, I waited as long as I could before I descended.  But sure enough, the downwind and base legs were pretty brutal.  Those hills around the airport just provide too much ramp action for these winds.  Yuck.  I had a fun (though admittedly long) cross-wind was pretty uneventful outside of me just floating forever.  It was one of those days, though, where you're just glad to be back on the ground.

All in all, I flew 3.5 hours today.

We went out for lunch, then came back to the hotel.  I went for a walk this afternoon (it was 67 degrees!), studied a little bit in the Aztec POH (which literally put me to sleep), and then went out for a sub this evening.  It was a pretty mild day.  But it was nice.  An enjoyable Sunday afternoon.  We even had our door open all day!  I loved it.

I rented and watched a movie tonight.

The rain has been taken out of the forecast for tomorrow (no surprise there).  So it looks like we'll be flying AGAIN.  We're only a day away from finishing.  If we could just get three solid hours in the sky, we'd be golden!  It's off to St. Louis after this.  I'm so ready!

I also got a phone call that says I'll be transitioning to the Aztec sometime after the 13th.  Basically, the new guy comes in, I'll train him, and then I'm shipped off to the twin.  I'm excited.  I'm trying to eat, drink, breathe this new airplane.  And it's so close!

Went to bed at 11:00 P.M.

I think tomorrow will be the 13th day in a row of flying for the crew.  Unheard of in the Midwest in the almost-spring.

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