October 17, 2004

Bumpy Cross Country

Today, I woke up to see beautiful clear skies for my cross-country flight to Indiana. I checked in with the Dayton Flight Service Station to get a weather report and everything looked great except the warning that there was light to moderate turbulence expected below 10,000 feet.

As I climbed away from the Blue Ash Airport the plane started to bounce around in the turbulence and light winds. I reached my cruising altitude, leveled off and then flew for a few minutes trying to determine whether I was prepared to make the flight. Due to the presence of turbulence I slowed the plane down to maneuvering speed and determined the turbulence would not be a safety concern. I flew northeast to Oxford and then turned west towards Greensburg, Indiana.

As I arrived in the area of the Greensburg-Decatur Airport I asked for an airport advisory over the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). I learned I would need to circle a few miles east of the airport as skydivers were being dropped over the airport. As I circled I enjoyed watching three parachutes open and glide to the ground. Meanwhile as I bounced around in the turbulence I prepared for my landing at Greensburg.

My landing would be on a narrow runway that had a width of only 40 feet about half the width of the runways I have landed on before. The plane continued to bounce in the turbulence and the gusty crosswind started to complicate the landing. Despite all that I felt like I was making a good approach until I got down to the final 100 - 200 feet then a gust of wind caused the plane to drift off the center line and in fact almost over where the left edge of the runway would be. I made the decision to abort the landing and put in full power to perform a go around maneuver.

As I climbed away I was notified another group of skydivers were going to be making the jump over the field. So, I decided instead of waiting for the skydivers to clear that I would head home without ever touching down at Greensburg. I am normally not one to quit but I realized the combination of the turbulence, gusting crosswind, and the narrow runway was more than I wanted to contend with today. I learned that I need some more crosswind landing practice before I can master a crosswind landing on such a narrow field.

The flight home was uneventful although bumpy. It was nice to fly a cross-country flight and see new sites though I was disappointed not to have completed the landing at Greensburg.

Posted by tmacrock at October 17, 2004 5:15 PM

Hi Todd,

Excellent choice -- you don't get many second chances in air planes.

How was your landing at home? Were there cross winds on your departure strip?


Posted by: Similate at October 17, 2004 8:29 PM

The other two landings (1 at Oxford and 1 at Blue Ash) were fine. Both of them were oriented in a way that made for less crosswind and they are both much wider which makes it much easier.

Posted by: Todd at October 17, 2004 11:26 PM

Sorry that you didn't get to land...but what a trip you've made for us! Your fans learning how to fly through your experiences! Love your posts. You're performing a real public service. Keep on flying!

Posted by: Leah at October 19, 2004 1:21 AM