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Bumpiness Today

Old 9th Apr 2017, 22:22
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Bumpiness Today

Haven't been on here for a while and it seems my old handle has been deleted or something has changed here.

Anyway..

A bit of advice from experienced VFR pilots here would help.. I went flying today with 2 passengers and the wind was reported as 230 at 15 knots. Aircraft similar to a Piper Arrow with VP and Retractable.

The wind from where I fly was just off the runway at 15kts and taking off and landing in a headwind.

On the climb out it felt like the plane didnt want to climb and the general Bumpiness was a challenge. Even at 2000ft trying to maintain S&L was challenging and at one stage somewhere past (Gravesend/Rochester) more rurual terrain I felt like the plane was going to tip over and send me hurtling towards the ground and the thermals were playing havoc with aispeed and my nerves and the feeling of 'woah we will tip over any second' thus making me focus even more on keeping ailerons neutral other than when needing to turn and taking a wider turn with less angle of bank than the normal 30 degree turn - before heading back.

To some that kind if wind might not be alot (even at 2000ft) but wonder what else you can do in these conditions as a VFR pilot? Still flyable but really have to focus.

Restricted airspace meant no climb to 3000ft (where it might have been better?) but I turned around and headed back.

Still good experience and the passengers enjoyed themselves but just curious as to what else one can and ought to do in these conditions?
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 22:55
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Weather today in the South East was wall to wall sunshine, temperature was about 17-18 although felt warmer in the sun.
Ground is still cold and there was a heavy dew.

Good conditions for thermals, you probably took off in the downside of a thermal and then ran into a series of thermals which makes for pretty uncomfortable flying in a light aircraft.

What was your IAS? I'd have probably tried fast cruise to give better control authority (and confidence), sounds like you were a little slow for the conditions.

I got caught out one late september back when they still burnt the stubble, very sunny day, light winds and stubble fires all over Cambridgeshire/Huntingdonshire. Very bumpy roller coaster which cost me an extra half hour cleaning the go faster streak from the passenger side.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 23:07
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120kts..

I did see it at 100kts at one point though before adding more power to get 120. Cruise is normally 130 IAS.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 10:47
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Whenever I see moderate turbulence mentioned on the 215 or in the Airmet (outside the cloud) I assume the worst and consider which flights need cancelling. Stronger upper winds on the 214 get my attention too, although that was not the case yesterday.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 10:59
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"What was your IAS? I'd have probably tried fast cruise to give better control authority (and confidence), sounds like you were a little slow for the conditions."

Disagree. Even if well below the Rough Air Speed limit, I find it more comfortable to slow down in turbulent conditions (and tighten my straps).

If you cannot climb out of it, turn downwind to get out of it quicker.

Sounds like OP did the right thing by turning back!
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 11:39
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If its bumpy slow down. You don't speed up in a car when you spot a speed bump! Manoeuvring speed (VA) in bumpy conditions should be the maximum not a target.

I had to cruise back from Hawarden to Cardiff yesterday through mountain wave/turbulence etc at 90kts rather than my normal 120.

Also, don't worry too much about maintaining altitude (unless of course close to terrain or the base of CAS or flying on a specific clearance). You are going to be bumped up and down a bit, just accept it in within say a couple of hundred feet of your target altitude rather than trying to constantly change aircraft configuration for climb/descent.

Last edited by Mariner9; 10th Apr 2017 at 12:25.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 12:39
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Cold nights, rapidly warming air = good thermals. There was as much sink about as lift yesterday and as has been said above, just riding it out is the easier option if airspace isn't a factor.

I've found that it can feel bumpier when flying with a tailwind.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 13:27
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Thank You all for the above.

It just unsettled me and I thought one thing I could do was head to a more built up area (Town) like Gravesend - as the thermals are less pronounced over built up areas than flat plain terrain?

Also I wonder if my 'thought process' of taking less Angle of Bank to turn in rough conditions instead of the 30 degrees is sound? I kept the focus on keeping ailerons neutral at most times to settle my nerves.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 13:34
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I think the speed confusion is because aircraft with a fast cruise often have higher wing loading = less susceptible to turbulence. But speeding up in an aircraft with low wing loading makes it worse, not better.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 16:56
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Originally Posted by ChampChump View Post

I've found that it can feel bumpier when flying with a tailwind.
Especially if there are air pockets in it.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 17:16
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As far as effect on rolling is concerned, it depends on where the thermal is. If you are rolling left and the thermal centre is to your left, it will tend to roll you wings level, if it is to your right , it will tend to make you roll further than anticipated,and depending on the strength of the thermal and your closeness to its centre, the effect can be very pronounced, alarmingly so if you arent used to it.
It is not uncommon for early solo glider pilots to land back on thermic days saying that they couldnt find a thermal because unless they fly into it more or less straight through the centre the lift lifts one wing and effectively turns them away from it. If its subtle they dont associate it with nearby lift.
Towns and large areas of tarmac/concrete tend to be good thermal generators and brown fields are better than cropped fields. How the land drains has an effect as does slope - south facing warming up quickly.
All that free energy out there - use it if you can!
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 17:41
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Air surfing

After abandoned trip yesterday due poor viz, today was the opposite. 'Surfed' and 'wave sailed' through the Lake District, 2-up at 65-70mph, from Kirkbride to Barton over 2hrs duration. Ideal day for a gyro & horizon-to-horizon viz with bumps absorbed by the hinged rotors :-)
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 19:19
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Yeah, not the greatest of days to be doing my SEP revalidation, with a 17 kt crosswind too boot. Actually, the steep turns were not the issue, more the flapless approach to land bang on the numbers, with strong thermal activity right down to 300 feet. That was middle of the day. I was told it was actually worse around 5pm, which is unusual in my experience.

I remember some years ago on an exceptionally hot day flying into Sanford Fl. in truly horrendous thermal conditions, with cross controls to keep it level and having to zoom climb constantly to keep the altitude (hot days and the effects on engine performance. We were 3 up). Was shattered once on the ground.

Constant and refined tuning of power and feint pitch adjustments get you through......and a hard hat. All part of growing the experience of really getting to know your boundaries and capabilities in working the aircraft.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 20:40
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I went up at exactly 17:05 and back down for 18:20...

So I dont know what it was like before 1700 but at that time it wasn't pleasant..
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 21:05
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we went from shoreham to compton abbas and back today,and yes it was turbulent with up and down currents associated with the cloud formation,a glider pilot friend once told me about 'streeting' where youll get a line of clouds with associated updraughts, and then the blue bits with the down draughts, my student found it a challenge with often having to use large power changes to stop climbing, and then having to apply power to stop sinking!
just one of those days.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 21:10
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Those dry, blue thermal days are harder to read, too. Today I flew a little locally, at the same time as I was returning yesterday and the classic cloud streets were really quite benign compared with yesterday's quite rough patches.

Of course, all the years I was gliding such conditions rarely existed...

Or maybe they just hadn't been invented then.

On the plus side, one can soar a Champ.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 21:20
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
I had to cruise back from Hawarden to Cardiff yesterday through mountain wave/turbulence etc at 90kts rather than my normal 120
Pretty sure that wasn't wave which is smooth as silk, dreamtime, the magic carpet ride.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 21:26
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Thermals? bumpy air?

How about enjoying it instead of all this suffering and moaning! what you guys need is a bit of soaring practice, which we do in gliders. Look up your nearest gliding club on the British Gliding Association Website, book a bit of training, and learn to use the thermals! more challenge, getting somewhere without burning fuel. Of course you may be asked to help other pilots get airborne....
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Old 11th Apr 2017, 10:22
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Originally Posted by Chuck Glider View Post
Pretty sure that wasn't wave which is smooth as silk, dreamtime, the magic carpet ride.
I could have sworn I flew with my wife, but guess it could have been you in disguise Chuck lol.

But if it wasn't, take it from someone who was actually on the flight concerned that I flew through several mountain waves down the length of Wales and frequent bouts of moderate turbulence
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