I’m flying in the rain

I’m flying in the rain

Visibility: fair, rain showers
Temperature: 24°C
Wind: 290°, 2-5 knots
QNH: 1017hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: “Kilo Sierra” (Cessna 172, D-EKKS)

Weekends at the airport are usually busy. Today it is warm but rainy. A front with rain showers and low clouds is slowly moving over the city. Many pilots stayed at home.

When I arrive at the flight school, a charter customer and his friends are drinking coffee. They got caught in a rain shower and decided not to continue their pleasure flight.

My instructor sees the weather as a learning experience. So we go. On the way over to EDON (Neuhardenberg), we get caught by the rain. He tells me to do a full circle “use the instruments and try not to loose altitude”. I concentrate on the artificial horizon, the change indicator and the directional gyro. The sound of the rain hitting the metal roof of the cabin resonates with the engines sound.

What are you doing, out there in the rain?!

Neuhardenberg does not answer our call for a long time. Finally a confused voice comes on. “We are closed today. But what are you guys doing here in the rain, anyway?”. So we “divert” to EDCE (Eggersdorf). Not the first choice on a day like this as they have a grass strip which is not too comfortable when wet.

We are following the FWE VOR (Fürstenwalde) which should bring us right by Eggersdorf. I concentrate on staying below the clouds. Eggersdorf is not far and I look for the airfield ahead and to the right. When I spot it, we are almost past it already. We are still at 2.000 feet and I will not be able to get down to pattern altitude in the remaining distance.

“Delta Kilo Sierra flying over the runway”

The instructor tells me to fly along the runway, continue to loose altitude while following the crosswind leg and sink into the pattern on the downwind leg. This gives me time to see what is going on in the pattern and makes it easy to communicate where I am to the others. He says this is a good strategy for a “surprising arrival” at an airport. And he tells me that those can happen…

Airspeed, direction, possitive rate of climb

We are alone in the pattern and go through our program. Short landing, short take-off, simulated engine failure after take-off, landing without flaps. During our last round, the rain shower reaches Eggersdorf. The controller suggests the airport restaurant to wait for the rain to pass. “We would miss all the fun!”, the instructor answers. So I fly into the rain with very little visibility. “Check airspeed, direction and make sure you climb” says the instructor. That is what Captain Dave always pays attention to. For me it’s the first time that I need to check the instruments to make sure I have a positive rate of climb!

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 11, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/im-flying-in-the-rain/)

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