Aero Countries Wild Ride...

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Aero Countries Wild Ride...

Postby dstclair » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:09 pm

My base is Aero Country, T31, which has a 3000' (almost) N/S asphalt runway on the north edge of the Dallas Class B. There are structures west of the runway and tree east of the runway that are quite close and produce interesting eddies in with direct and/or gusting crosswinds. For this reason, we do not allow transient training. This phenomenon is locally called the Aero Country Churn (and other colorful names). Winds from the east will increase from reported magnitude at the tree tops, completely disappear below the treetop line and reappear from different directions at various points on the runway.

We had a storm blow through this morning that left a beautiful, clear, relatively cool day with winds forecast to be 140@8 (30 degrees crosswind). Should be a great day to get away for a lunch flight! Winds were even lighter than forecast when I got to the airport. Was odd that TKI (towered airport 8 miles east) was reporting winds 060@8 and windsocks at T31 were generally ESE. Nice smooth take-off and flew around the patch for an hour before heading back. Air at 3000' was very smooth. Winds were forecast 220@9 but the Dynon was showing more like 150@25. Hmmm.

Wind was reported at TKI to be 110@9 but tower was telling local traffic it was 080@10. Shouldn't be a concern.

There was a C182 in the pattern when I announced 10 miles out and he responded back that the Aero Country Churn was alive and well. I thanked him and said I was looking forward to it.... I joined the pattern on downwind and it took around 25 degree crab to hold direction. Pretty bouncy. NBD. Cut the power abeam the numbers, took a notch of flaps and trimmed for 55 kts. Turned base and took the last notch of flaps, then final. I'm holding the centerline with a 20 degree crab, good decent but pretty bouncy. I got this. Got below the treeline, wind disappears, I kick the crab out, then catch a swirling wind from the behind, then get blasted with a gust from the east. I balloon about 10 feet up. WTF. I'm out of here and hit the throttle for a go-round. The Cessna driver complimented me on my go-round :D

Attempt #2. Good pattern, good approach, much smoother on the way down until I hit the treetops. Pushed me up, down and west. Still able to hold the centerline relatively well. Got through the turbulence and was about ready to touchdown on the upwind main, when a gusty tailwind hit that pushed me to the edge of the runway. Not good. Go round #2.

Attempt #3. OK. I'm a better pilot than this, I think. This time I'm not going to land. I run the pattern, do the approach, then fly 3 feet or so off the runway with a notch of flaps the length of the runway to get a feel for all wind forces. I got this, I think.

Attempt #4. Note that the C182 was doing their final landing and on final had a 20 degree crab all the way to the ground. They wobbled quite a bit over the runway and landed at the extreme east edge. Guess the conditions are a bit challenging. Ran another good pattern, nice stable approach on final. Carried a bit more speed until I was below the treeline. Descended slowly and pretty smooth to just beyond the numbers. Caught another gust but only went up a couple feet. Smoothed it out and touched lightly on the upwind main. "Fly the plane" ran through my brain. Kept the stick into the wind, then gently dropped onto the downwind leg. A little rudder to straighten up. Keep the nose wheel up. Let the nose come down slowly. Whew! Now on 3 wheels. Remember to breathe fly the plane then taxi to the hangar. I got a standing O from a handful of onlookers :oops:

There are several windsocks at T31. I believe they fully extend at 15 kts. The north end of the runway looked like 060@15, 1/4 of the way down was direct crosswind at 15 and halfway looked like 130@10G15.

Quite a humbling and exhilarating experience!

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Re: Aero Countries Wild Ride...

Postby TimTaylor » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:11 pm

Glad you got it down OK.
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