26 November 2006

Pointed There, Landing Here

Until my first attempt at crosswind landings, I thought flying an airplane was no more difficult than driving a car. Then, with the benefit of no crosswind training, I lined up to land with a 10 knot direct crosswind and found myself unintentionally touching down parallel to but alongside the runway, in the grass.

K had a similar experience on her first supervised solo,
and because her landing also resulted in nothing more serious than sweaty palms, a raised heartbeat, and newfound respect for the skills of more experienced airplane pilots, it was fun to read about her adventure.

Many of you will already have seen this cool video,
but when I saw it, I immediately thought of K, and of a young Greybeard being taught a lesson in humility.
(Thanks to Alexisparkinn.com for the video.)


k said...

I've still got the grass clippings from the nosegear from my solo. One day when I'm landing 777s like that, they'll be worth something...

How do planes fit into your flying history? Since I've been following Pitchpull, it's been all helicopter talk.

Greybeard said...

Ya gotta hit the archives, K.
(Since you commented on "Can Chickens fly?", I figured you'd pretty much been on board since Pitchpull began.)

I'm a comm., multi, instrument airplane guy, (and owned a 182 for 10 years), but I think helos are safer and more fun, as do all the dual-rated people I know.
No matter how hard you try, when the big noise stops on an airplane, you can't get it to go slower than the stall speed!
And for VFR in marginal weather, of course there's no comparison!

Still, when you need to go from A to B quickly, the boring old airplane is the way to go.

Mommanurse said...

Gonna show my ignorance here, but on one clip, I see the landing gear as "italicized" to accomodate landing sideways. Is that an optical illusion? If not, had no idea there was that capability, and thankful for that,.....means my landings have all been safe ones, experienced and viewed.

k said...

Next sleepless night, your archives shall be digested! Husband (Vectors To Final) told me the chicken story, and I love hearing it anytime :) We shall shortly see how accurate his re-telling of the episode is!

Greybeard said...

I went back and looked, and I see the effect you are talking about.
I don't know whether what we are seeing is an illusion, but I know lots of airplanes are designed to land with the nose pointed other than straight down the runway. When I bought the Cessna 182, it was actually a Cessna 180 I was interested in. The 180 had a landing gear that would "caster" about 10 degrees and allow you to land pointed slightly in the wrong direction. There were warnings about having that system checked to insure it's proper function prior to buying a 180.
The B-52 is another airplane that can be landed in a humungous crosswind. The gear can actually be pointed something like 20 degrees off the nose so the airplane can be landed in a crab. Like the video, it's strange to watch.
If I ever run into someone from Boeing, I'll ask about the "italicized" gear effect.

Mike said...

The 777 and 747 have steerable main gear which can be used for crosswind landings and make the big birds turn much tighter in ground handling.

The gear is locked and depressurized during takeoff, but can be turned by the pilots during landing and ground handling.

The B-52 has a radically castoring landing gear because it is too big and heavy to kick over during landing.