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Thread: Curmudgeon At Twelve O'Clock!

  1. #1
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Curmudgeon At Twelve O'Clock!

    When you fly a plane that drops like a neutron stone if the engine quits, you kind of like staying close to the runway when flying touch-and-goes. So I fly a pretty tight pattern.

    This gets modified, of course, when other planes are in the pattern. Despite the temptation, I never cut folks off. Often they're students, and the patterns get stretched. I usually stay cool, knowing that they're just learning.

    Was a bit tough a couple of weeks back. There were about four students in the pattern, and the base-to-final turns were getting further and further away. My patience does have limits.

    Unbeknownst to me, our Chapter President was watching...and listening. One of our older chapter members is getting pretty frail and doesn't get out of the house much. The President has driven him to the airport to watch the planes fly, and they had a handheld to listen to the traffic.

    Met him at the chapter meeting tonight. "We heard you, Ron... you said, 'Fly Baby is turning base over Pierce County.' You sounded peeved!"

    (For a geographical reference, the county line is about ten miles south of the airport. I may have exaggerated.)

    They apparently shot a picture of me flying, too.....


    Ron "And stay off my runway!" Wanttaja
    Last edited by rwanttaja; 02-09-2018 at 12:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Dana's Avatar
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    Know what you mean... my Fisher 404 I'm sure had even worse glide than your Flybaby. There was one instructor at the local FBO who I think was trying to log cross country time in the pattern. Fortunately she doesn't work there any more.

  3. #3
    DaleB's Avatar
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    And here I thought it was just due to our proximity to Offutt AFB that some of our local CFIs seem to teach flying patterns sized for tankers and bombers.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

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    Was that a towered or non-towered field, Ron? Sometimes big patterns are due to stupid and can't be fixed. Other times, lack of education. Questions one might use to determine whether training can help or just waste time:

    1. What is the approach category of the aircraft you're flying?
    2. How large is that aircraft's traffic pattern at a non-towered field?
    3. When should the turn to base leg be initiated?

  5. #5
    gbrasch's Avatar
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    My '52 Tri-Pacer is like that. When asked about glide, I respond, "throw a brick out the window and follow it!"
    Glenn Brasch
    Tucson, Arizona
    2013 RV-9A / 1952 Piper Tri-Pacer
    Medevac helicopter pilot (Ret)
    EAA member since 1980
    Owner, "Airport Courtesy Cars" website.
    www.airportcourtesycars.com
    Volunteer Mentor www.SoAZTeenAviation.org

  6. #6
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    Was that a towered or non-towered field, Ron? Sometimes big patterns are due to stupid and can't be fixed. Other times, lack of education. Questions one might use to determine whether training can help or just waste time:

    1. What is the approach category of the aircraft you're flying?
    2. How large is that aircraft's traffic pattern at a non-towered field?
    3. When should the turn to base leg be initiated?
    Was, I think, mostly 172s that day. I'm based at an uncontrolled field, runway 3300 feet long. Unfortunately, it's just ~10-15 miles from three controlled fields, so all the local students flock to my airport for touch-and-goes. Plus there's a helicopter school based on the field, whose instructors tend to turn off their radios or complain about "weekend pilots" when folks suggest they DON'T sit on the runway when they talk to their students ("My student is paying thousands of dollars for his instruction"...almost literal quote on the CTAF).

    Questions #2 and #3 are, basically, religious questions and will likely start a fight. :-)

    I my home drome has a very obvious set of railroad tracks and a freeway parallel to the runway (and a ~400-foot-high hill a bit further out), so don't have too much problems with folks setting their downwinds too far out. Most seem to turn base ~3/4 mile out, and I'm used to that (I do mine 1/3-1/2 mile or so out when traffic permits).

    Students need to learn the sight picture on final, so I understand that they might go further out. On this particular day, it was cascading. On that same approach, I was cut off on final by another 172 that didn't realize the bozo train had stretched that far south.

    Ron "Switching to Guns" Wanttaja

  7. #7

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    With my glider, I cut in front of those one mile final pilots. But I tell them it will not delay them. I turn base just past the threshold and dive down and get off the runway in seconds. Gives students some real life pattern practice.
    Last edited by Bill Berson; 02-09-2018 at 07:29 PM.

  8. #8

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    Piloting a very slow aircraft brings an element of adventure to a filling pattern.

    I tend to defer to other aircraft whenever possible. Heck, more than once I snugged in about a half mile (maybe a little less) on the downwind, pulled her back to 40 miles an hour, and watched a C172 perform the Base-to-Straight-in-Approach technique.

    The only time I was able to participate in the Conga line was when my fellow comrade of the pattern gleefully stated that he was in absolutely no hurry in his Champ and would follow in after me.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  9. #9
    I'm glad I fly out of an airport with little traffic (T65). I can shoot a dozen touch and goes in a hour in the Citabria.

  10. #10

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    Extend up wind to make room for more in the pattern, base stays the same. I suggest 1/4 to 1/2 mile per A/C. It is crazy to go farther from the runway while low and slow.
    If you have a tower and they don't extend upwinds, visit and ask why not? The tower can also direct skips when a faster plane can get ahead of a slower plane. Best time for this is when the slower plane is about to turn cross wind and the faster plane turns cross wind inside and gets on down wind before him.
    Last edited by Vision401; 02-10-2018 at 12:21 PM.

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