Crosswind check-out for Richard Gale former Bristol Groundschool student

Pre-flight checks before heading off from Lee to Goodwood 

As hoped, February brought drier and much colder weather, enabling many people myself included to get airborne again. As part of a repositioning exercise, we had to fly one of our flying school aircraft back to its home airfield, I was able to combine this with a currency checkout flight in the Cessna 172. As luck would have it, on this particular day the wind was a sporty northerly- ideal for some crosswind circuit practice at both Lee-on-Solent and Goodwood  which both have roughly east-west runways. I was glad of this as I wanted to focus on these with a patient instructor sat next me!
We took off from Goodwood in the ferry aircraft, three on board- me and two instructors – one instructor to ferry the aeroplane back, the other for the check out flight. I flew both legs and experienced a very soft field crosswind take-off from runway 28 at Goodwood. This was a good experience for me as it was something I haven’t done in a while – keeping the control column back to keep the weight off the nose wheel, into wind aileron – progressively moving the control column back to neutral as airspeed builds. To measure take-off performance, I’d planned that if I wasn’t at 70% of my rotation airspeed by the midpoint of the runway – I would abort the take-off. Luckily this wasn’t the case and we lifted off, pushing slightly forward on the control column to let the aircraft build airspeed in the climb.

Passing north abeam Portsmouth en-route to Goodwood- picture credit to flying instructor Charlotte Dadswell 

The flight to Lee was uneventful, joining downwind for runway 05 for a rather surprising smooth crosswind landing! After a quick aircraft swap we fired up and flew three circuits before heading back to Goodwood. I needed these to satisfy the CAA currency rules before taking up passengers- 3 take offs and landings within a 90 day period. This was a good exercise to practice crosswind circuits, adopting the crab method all the way down to the roundout for landing. This involves using rudder to point the nose of the aircraft into wind all the way down the approach to counteract any drift. Upon the roundout, I apply rudder in the opposite direction of the previous input to point the nose straight-inline with the runway centreline and apply into wind aileron to prevent any drifting caused by the ‘sideways acting’ wind!
It was highly beneficial to get some practice on these and hopefully use them often to keep the skills sharp. My next trip will involve another checkout flight to fly one of the flying school Cessnas which is having its recently overhauled engine ‘run in’.
Till next time, thanks for reading…