Feb 2015 Wisdom in the Bush(es)
Amal Ajmi lives in Alaska and flies in the Fairbanks area. If you’ve been around LadiesLoveTaildraggers a while, you’ve read one or more of her contributing posts. She’s good – really good! I recently asked Amal to send me an update on her AK flying and she responded in spades. I read her email, then I reread it and made a few notes to self. I tell you people, we’re all out there pushing ourselves to be the best pilots we can be and this timely message from Amal is one we can learn from.
Reminiscing over last summerâ€™s learning experiencesâ€¦
As I sit in my warm cozy homeâ€¦.the wood stove is ablaze and it is 30 below outsideâ€¦.I think about flying soon, and I consider last year and what I learnedâ€¦
There were two major events I walked away from with more wisdomâ€¦. Ah wisdomâ€¦donâ€™t we all wish we could just HAVE itâ€¦without the learning part? Well, maybe I can give it and maybe you can take itâ€¦for what itâ€™s worth. I will keep it short with the first episode and maybe relate the second at a later dateâ€¦
I like to practiceâ€¦.a lot.Â So much so I decided to practice off airport landings at a VERY short Cub strip.Â Although my little bird is a special cub (PA11)â€¦I wanted to try to be SUPER (PA18). Needless to say, I got in over my head, and ended up doing a lot of cutting and dragging to get my bird out and back to town.
I went around the little strip several times, dragging it, then tried to land and bounced once and went around again.Â The next time I came in, bounced once and really felt I could land herâ€¦.I bounced again and being stubborn kept trying to land her.Â I was running out of â€œrun wayâ€ and scary trees were coming up fast.Â I put the coals to her, but knew if I tried to fly out then, I would stall out and fall out of the skyâ€¦.I decided to do the best I could on the ground, I braked heavyÂ and forced a ground loop to stop her before hitting the trees. Yeahâ€¦it worked, and there was minimal damage.Â I was lucky.Â It took 2 hours to get her out of the stobs and back onto the â€œstripâ€.Â Did a lot of cursing at myself cuz I knew better!!! But mostly all I could think at the time was â€œThank goodness my plane is so light!!!â€ It could have been worseâ€¦so much worse.Â I came away with a few tidbits. I made at least 2 bad judgment calls:
1)Â Â Â I ignored the â€œOne bounce ruleâ€!!!! When the old timers tell you to follow that ruleâ€¦they are so right!! GO around for crying out loud!!!
2)Â Â Â I really wanted to get in there. You know whatâ€¦â€¦If you canâ€™t do itâ€¦you canâ€™t do it!!!! It doesnâ€™t mean you will never get in thereâ€¦it just means that today is not your day! Leave it and go someplace else.
I did come away with a positive:Â Â Know your plane!!!! It could have been so much worse. I had to decide to either try to fly her out at low speed over a 50â€™ obstacle or keep her on the ground.Â I knewâ€¦I just knew she would not make it.Â Her engine told me she was too slowâ€¦I didnâ€™t even have to look at the airspeed indicator.Â I knew I had enough room to brake and loop her resulting in far less damage then a stallâ€¦so I opted for that.
I was grounded for a month fixing the minimal damageâ€¦in the middle of summer!!! That was more painful than the financial setback.
Sometimes we know better, sometimes we are luckyâ€¦.sometimes we get bitâ€¦this time I think I fall under all the aboveâ€¦.Be safeâ€¦listen to what you have been told by those that are wiserâ€¦.take your timeâ€¦.and for crying out loudâ€¦.GO AROUND!!!!