Thursday, February 24, 2011

RHV Goes Both Ways :)

Today [Monday, 2/21] the winds were from the south, this is unusual for the Bay Area.. it usually only happens before storms or in the winter. In this case its winter and a storm just went by, and another one is coming. Why is this important? Because you always take off and land "into" the wind. So, if the winds are from the south you take off and land towards the south as much as possible. So what? you ask. Well, my dear IR, I have never, in over 160 take offs and landings, had to take off or land towards the south at RHV. I've done so at South County (another airport slightly to the south) but not at Reid-Hillview.

Today, I had two focuses for my solo flight. 1. To be very careful to control airspeed on final, and, 2. "just fly the plane". "Just fly the plane" simply means there is no particular formula or procedure, you just have to take things as they come and fly the plane. Because the runway I was using today was the opposite of what I've been practicing on over and over, I wouldn't have a previous formula to rely on, I'd just have to fly the plane. Maintain Vy on take off, turn crosswind at 500' AGL, turn downwind approx 1/2 mile from the runway, level off at pattern altitude, start the slowdown process abeam the numbers, turn base when the numbers are approx 45 degrees behind the plane, 10 degrees of flaps and trim for 65kts, turn final and line up with the runway, stare a the numbers, maintain 65, add flaps as needed, round out and focus on the end of the runway and don't stop flying the plane until it lands.

The real "just fly the plane" part was the fact that Class C airspace is right next to RHV. Not a big deal normally, going the normal direction. However, flying the pattern on 13R (that's one three right) there is limited room to maneuver without flying into San Jose's Class C (that's Class Charlie to us aviators) airspace. That's important because you are not allowed to enter Class C airspace without getting clearance from the controllers in that airspace. I was flying in Class D (Delta) airspace, under control of the controllers in the RHV tower. They don't control Class C airspace.

This picture shows RHV and the pattern you fly.. the areas in Yellow on the top and right of the picture depict Class C airspace.

Well.. the story of what happened is only interesting if you happen to be a pilot or an aspiring pilot who knows the I won't go into it. Let it suffice to say, I did good :) and I got to fly the same old airport in a totally new way and that was good too.

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