Expect Left Traffic

Cross Wind Simulator

Today I got to be the guinea pig for five instructors and my school’s new toy.  They are the proud operators of a new Xwind cross wind simulator, one of only seven worldwide at present.  This thing was a blast.  On a normal flight, if you’re lucky enough to get a cross wind (imagine, now I’m thinking of a cross as lucky…) you may get a few minutes of cross wind approach work each circuit around the pattern.  This thing will let you spend all the time you need getting lined up, holding it, and playing with the conditions.  It moves laterally and pivots on two axes to cover yaw and roll maneuvers. You can simulate a standard four seat high or low wing plane, tail dragger or tricycle, throughout and beyond the standard operating envelope.  At one point in time they had me in a 15 knot cross wind, with 5 to 10 knots of gust, and mild turbulence (we like to call that the Jeffco Factor).  It was educational, as you can see how hard it is to land a plane at it’s limits, and downright fun knowing that you can experience it with zero fear of bodily or property harm.  I got a lot of practice transitioning through crab angles and both slips and back, while minimizing drift off the center line.  I was hoping to do some cross wind work, and when they offered to let me try out the simulator instead of a plane (BJC was down to one runway anyway) I jumped right on board.  I drove to the airport nervous about how I’d do and glad I would get some safe practice, and left feeling drastically more confident.  I flew the simulator a hundred times better than I thought I would, once I got used to the responsiveness of the controls.  As a student it’s hard to really judge how well you’re progressing with some maneuvers, especially those involving landings and getting time in this thing has me excited for the next situation where I might exercise the practice.  As one of my instructors once said, “we like to play with cross winds, it should be fun, if it seems like work we probably shouldn’t be flying in them”.


I can’t wait for my next chance to play.

October 16th, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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