Thursday, October 07, 2010

Biennial Flight Review - FAIL!

Well, no, I didn't actually fail a BFR. I don't think you actually can technically fail. That said, I found a way.

It all started a few weeks ago when I ran into a CFI at Bolton that was getting ready to do a BFR with the guy two hangars down from me. We had met before and he has actually flown with me in the RV. As we were chatting he asked when my BFR was due. I didn't think it was due until next year some time, but as I was unable to remember the precise date I decided to check my log book.

Expires: Oct, 2010.

Well then. I figured I ought to get it done asap. I'm hoping to take the RV down to Parkersburg later this month to have some more repair work done on the cowls (they're definitely showing their age, and it's not work I'm comfortable doing myself) so I needed to get the BFR out of the way.  I tried to get it done this past weekend, but the weather was uncooperative. Today was the first day that met the conditions: decent weather, availability of the CFI, and my back is feeling back to normal.  What happened to my back? That story is here.

We met at the airport a little before 5:30. As I was preflighting the plane, Tony looked through my log book. As I was pouring in a quart of oil, Tony hollered out at me that my BFR isn't due this month, it's due in May, 2011. I had mistaken the expiration date of the last CFI's certificate for the expiration date of my BFR.


We decided to go flying anyway. I had been saving the gas for this for close to a week and I was feeling that I needed to get up and practice some landings. I was sure right about that! After working through same practice stalls, we headed over to MadCo. I entered a left downwind for runway 9 and struggled to figure out where the wind was blowing from (while wondering why wind socks are so darn small) with the idea that I could just cross over to the other side if the wind was favoring 27. After studying the itty-bitty windsock for a few moments, I decided that it looked like a direct crosswind and that runway 9 would work just fine.

I was wrong. I ended up high and close on final, but that's no problem in an RV-6. If there's one thing that wing knows how to do, it's to shed altitude in a hurry. Even after getting down to a landable altitude just over the numbers, it seemed like we were moving awfully fast. I often get that feeling when I haven't flown for awhile so I just shrugged it off as normal rustiness and landed. Well, while "landing" is the correct technical term for what happened, a more accurate description would be "bounced and swerved down the runway like an epileptic kangaroo."  Once I finally got the plane slowed down and under control, I took a closer look at the windsock. While it may have been indicating a direct crosswind while we were on downwind, it was quite plainly showing a quartering tailwind from where we were sitting on the runway.

Good thing it wasn't an official BFR landing!

We went around again and landed on 27. That one went a lot better. In fact, it would have been a greaser if I hadn't pulled just a bit too much in the final flare. I ended up with a few more little bounces, but nothing near as bad as the first try.

Then it was back to Bolton where I actually made a good landing. Just in a nick of time, too. I think I was this close to having to find a different CFI to do my BFR in May!

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