Given that we had mostly clear skies forecast for today and there was a 2 hour block open on the schedule, I decided late last night to go practice landings again today. I booked my old friend N5032G from 11:30–1:30 and arrived this morning to find it with a bit more than half full gas tanks. It's always nice when you don't have to mess with fueling the plane.
I completed my preflight checks, pushed it out to the line, got in, dialed up the ATIS, and called the tower to ask if I could head to the runway for pattern work. (That sounds better than "landing practice" doesn't it?) The day was shaping up to be good. There were broken clouds at 2,000 but like yesterday, they were mainly near the hills. The wind was calm as I taxied to the run-up area next to runway 31 Right.
Once my run-up checks were complete, the tower directed me to runway 31 Left and cleared me for takeoff. It had been a while since I'd flown this particular plane (I like toe brakes), and I was quickly reminded of how smoothly the engine runs.
I proceeded around the pattern and was cleared to land back on 31 Left. The landing felt... different. It wasn't bad, but it was somehow just a little different than I expected. The plane seemed to float a bit longer, touched down more lightly, but also felt more like it wanted to bounce.
It reminded me of something I tell myself (and often my instructor) every time I fly a new plane. It doesn't matter if you've flown other planes of the same make and model, every plane has its own personality. They're just different in subtle ways.
Over time, that doesn't matter much. You end up flying in the same fleet long enough and it becomes second nature, almost unconscious, to adjust to each one as you climb into the cockpit. But I'm not at that point yet. There are 4 or 5 planes in this rental fleet that I've flown, but I've only flown a few of them enough to make it semi-automatic.
Anyway, I ended up performing a total of 8 landings in the course of 1.5 hours. Unlike yesterday, I didn't get to do any touch-and-go landings. The pattern got a bit more crowded each time I came around. The best I could do is get clearance for an immediate back taxi on 31 Left and takeoff again. But several times I had to go around the long way and wait in line behind 5-7 other planes.
I guess I should have realized that the airport would be busy on one of the first decent flying Sundays we've had in a while.
Posted by jzawodn at January 08, 2006 11:02 PM