Around the Pattern

Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Author: Tracy Page 2 of 114

In a Dry Spell

Snow-capped mountain near Susanville, CA.
Snow-capped mountain near Susanville, CA

It hasn’t really been since the middle of November since I flew last, it just seems that way…

I had a good string of flights going for a while – at least once a week. Then I took on a project installing an ADS-B solution for a friend. That is just about finished – not sure I’ll do that again for an aircraft that old (1968) with a full instrument panel and dual radio stack.

The wiring was a mess – not all the avionics were installed at the same time. Some came as replacement of previous radios, some just initial installations. It was obvious that some work was done on a time basis as unused wiring wasn’t removed.

Fogged-in mountain lake.
Fogged-in mountain lake.

That project is pretty much wrapped up – we had the transponder/encoder check done last week. He just needs to go fly it and get the ADS-B report, then apply for his rebate.

Of course, all of the time I was stuck under the panel we had weather with temperatures in the 50s. Now that I have my free time back we have barely gotten into the 40s and this is the second weekend in a row with winter storm warnings.

Those temperatures make it unlikely that I will work in an unheated hangar. Top it off with an annual that ran out December 31st and it appears that I’ll be grounded for a while. I need about a week of solid work to finish off the annual. Once in a while we have a string of nice temps that would permit it but nothing on the horizon for a while.

Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, NV.

So, like the rest of you in cold climates with winter weather, I’ll spend my time reading my magazines, watching videos and taking aviation courses until we thaw out. It’ll seem like a long time but it won’t be too long.

We can always start making AirVenture plans….

More Traffic Pattern Decisions

At the end of the last article I was returning from the practice area to land at the Stead Airport (KRTS).

The winds on departure, according to the AWOS, were 110/8 and I had selected Runway 08 as my departure runway. At that time there was no other traffic operating at the airport.

Since I had only been gone from the airport for about a half hour I was expecting not much change in the weather conditions. Aah, but this is Reno, NV.

The AWOS now was reporting winds at 130/12 so Runway 14 was the clear choice.I figured I’d do a few touch and go landings for practice.

As I was north of the airport and maneuvering toward a point where I could execute a 45 degree downwind entry to Runway 14 I heard other traffic call entering downwind for the same runway.  Normally this wouldn’t be much of a factor – just find the traffic visually and take the necessary spacing to safely share the traffic pattern.

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Decisions in the Traffic Pattern

I managed to get a short flight in over the weekend – only about 45 minutes but that was enough.

I wanted to fly on Saturday because a weak cold front was forecast to pass through on Sunday and to pick up the winds a bit (it did). A series of circumstances resulted in not getting into the air until about 2 pm.

Aerial view of the Reno-Stead Airport (KRTS).

There were no aircraft in the traffic pattern by that time of day so I listened to the AWOS to help in the runway choice decision. The winds as I taxied out were from 110 degrees at 9 knots. Hmm.

My airport has two runways 14-32 and 8-26. So, using runway 8 would have the wind 30 degrees right of the runway heading and using runway 14 would out it 30 degrees to the left. So, which would be better?

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