Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Invisible force meets oblivious subject

Mother Nature is a harsh mistress when you take her for granted... Especially when you forget the fact that flying, as joyful as it is, is a wholly unnatural act for a human. We have no right to be up there...the only reason we are there is because of lift and wind...without wind, there is no lift. Wind is the most capricious and invisible of Mother Nature's tools. You can't see it.. You may be able to smell or taste it...the main way you know what the wind is doing is by what the wind does to the plane. IF you pay attention. If you ignore the signals the plane gives you, you do so at your own risk.

Some examples of signals from mom:
  • Do your standard base turn and end up facing the runway on final
  • Fly parallel the runway and end up closer to it at the end than the beginning
  • Fly your planned heading and end up visibly off course and correct to get to waypoint
  • Fly next planned heading and end up 5 miles north of planned position pointed at the wrong airport
  • Plane really doesn't want to stay on the centerline no matter how much rudder(?!) you apply
  • Turn base using normal timing and find yourself too high or too low

If any of the above apply to you, especially if more than one happens in the same flight, you are ignoring the signs from mom telling you the winds are not what you think they are and you had better start adjusting. Keep ignoring those signals and you might find yourself in for a rough landing or maybe even landing at the wrong airport entirely!

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