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Old 03-01-2016, 09:50 AM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,577
Default First flight since (yet another spinal) surgery

Yesterday morning I went up in the RV-9A with an instructor buddy, first flight since spinal surgery 10 weeks ago. The flight went well but I don't think that I'm recovered enough to fly solo yet.

Because I'd not flown since the surgery, and not yet having completed the advertised 12 week recovery, I took things slow and used the checklist carefully. Things came back quickly, but they had to come back -- my skills and knowledge of the relatively complex G3X Touch / GTN650 instrument panel were not at my fingertips, as they mostly were before surgery.

Winds were out of the west at 7 knots, but at 3,000 feet, they were forecast out of the west at 29 knots, and surface winds were forecast to pick up substantially shortly after our landing. We took off on runway 19 with a not bad at all crosswind, and I had no trouble flying the plane nicely on the assigned heading and desired altitude. However, as I was fussing with the avionics, I was not paying attention to where we were, a minor loss of situational awareness.

With that strong wind coming from across all of Georgia, my allergies were probably acting up. My standard allergy symptoms are that I get slightly woozy and sometimes a little queasy, as if coming down with the flu. (That afternoon, the last symptom finally showed up, a runny nose). I couldn't tell whether the general malaise was allergies or a lingering surgical hangover.

At altitude, the air was smooth and I did a steep 360 degree turn (45 degrees of bank) and then a stall. No problems, although I felt slightly dizzy after the turn. Then it was back to Savannah, and I had the autopilot fly the LPV approach to Runway 28. I got anxious when it seemed the autopilot wasn't going to capture the glideslope but eventually it did. However, when we got into the chop at about 500 feet, the autopilot was rocking the control stick fore and aft and I took over manually. While I kept the plane on centerline, marveling at the avionics (too many distracting cues on the screen and I didn't remember how to get rid of them), but I did a lousy job of tracking the glideslope. We had a lot of wind, 17 knots at 500 feet, and that made it seem like the speed was okay, even though I was a little fast. At 100 feet, the wind was down to 10 knots, and the touchdown with flaps 20 was gentle, on the centerline, but long.

On the next landing, tower asked us to land on the crosswind runway. Knowing that the winds right above the ground were only 10 knots, I accepted but also asked for a long landing. That was approved, and I had a good workout with winds changing with altitude, crosswinds, gusts, speed control, a no-flap landing because of the crosswind and all that. The landing was just fine, although I didn't keep the plane exactly on the centerline after touchdown because of the crosswind.

The original plan had been to make three landings, but whether due to allergies, surgery, or stress, two was enough. I was tired. After lunch with a buddy on the way home, I took a nap, out like a light.

All told? Not bad, considering. However, my performance standards don't make allowances for surgeries and allergies... and three spinal surgeries in the last 3 1/2 years is a pretty good excuse. I think I should give up spinal surgeries for Lent. Maybe for good.
RV-9A at KSAV (Savannah, GA; dual G3X Touch with autopilot, GTN650, GTX330ES, GDL52 ADSB-In)
Previously RV-4, RV-8, RV-8A, AirCam, Cessna 175
ATP CFII PhD, so I have no excuses when I screw up
Vaccines kept me out of the hospital but COVID still cost me a month of living, all told...
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:39 AM
Kevin Horton's Avatar
Kevin Horton Kevin Horton is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 2,365

Welcome back! Good luck with the recovery, and building up your proficiency again.
Kevin Horton
RV-8 (Sold)
Moses Lake, WA, USA
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:30 AM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ridgeland, SC
Posts: 2,935

very good Ed! Glad to hear it.
Tom Swearengen, TS Flightlines LLC, AS Flightlines
Joint Venture with Aircraft Specialty
Teflon Hose Assemblies for Experimentals
Proud Vendor for RV1, Donator to VAF
RV7A Tail Kit Completed, Fuse started-Pay as I go Plan, on hold while we develop new products for RV builders
Ridgeland, SC,
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Old 03-01-2016, 01:23 PM
flightlogic's Avatar
flightlogic flightlogic is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 1,674
Default remember when

Ed, remember when you and I were going over the operators manual for the very first synthetic vision system? Too many symbols on the screen !!! It was easy for me to forget, when teaching... that I could induce task overload in a student. Even a very experienced pilot. I had a Citation pilot turn to me once.... in mid sentence and tell me to just shut up. It was a good lesson to learn. I task saturated him and didn't even realize it. The glass itself can do the same thing. Engineers love it all. We just have to know when to ask for less and declutter the screens.
On the other topic... when I teach cross wind landings, there is a point in the landing.... just prior to touchdown, where it no longer matters where the center line is. Cancel the drift. Forget the center line. As long as you are on the runway and have cancelled all side drift.... it really doesn't matter any more where the middle is. In fact, chasing the center line at the last moment, rather than deal with gusts and dynamic changes... makes for worse touch downs.
It all happens faster than an instructor can speak. Well, me anyway.
Glad you are slowly building your skills back up. Back pain is so discouraging.
"Kindness is never a bad plan."

exemption option waived. Donation appropriate.
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:02 PM
woodmanrog's Avatar
woodmanrog woodmanrog is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 781

Thanks so much for your report. Last week I had a golf ball sized tumor removed from my bladder. As I write this I am trying to recover from the surgery. All went well and I should make a full recovery In a few weeks. The after care process doesn't fill me with excitement but we do what we have to do. I'm only aggravated that I probably won't be doing the first flight in our RV14A. Speedy full recovery to you and thanks again for a report that lifted my spirits.
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