Remember that song......Well I had high hopes after watching the weather forecast for today. However, I got up to a windy overcast day with not a lot of promise. I burned up the lines checking the latest METAR and AWOS at 40N (Chester County). At 1:30 winds are reported as 320 13kts gusting 25. Well a quick check on the crosswind component chart works out to be an 8knt headwind with a 10 knt crosswind with gusts taking it to 16 knt headwind and a crosswind of 19 knts.
After my preflight we decided to work on VOR navigation. A smooth and straight taxi (knowing my CFI is really going to bust chops) followed by my run up and taxi to runway 27. Announcing my departure on 27 I am rolling with full right aileron rounding to level as I leave the runway. Bill comments on a very nice takeoff and right on centerline. We head to the southwest and climb to 2700 just below the report of ceilings at 3200 and OVC. Bill plays the part of ATC and wants my radio work and navigation to flow. First directive is to intercept the 220 radial at Lancaster and maintain ALT 2500. We do a mock communication through the intercom only but it really helps. I read back instructions and begin my task. First tuning the LRP VOR on 117.3, clicking on NAV 1 with IDENT to confirm. I check my current heading and keep an eye on a focus point on the horizon to keep steady with a secondary check of ALT. All the while turning the HDG on VOR 1 to pick up the 220 radial. Checking my heading and answering Bill's questions about my location relative to the VOR and my TO/FROM flag. I know by my heading and the radial that I am on that I will need to turn to the 040 with the TO flag to eliminate the reverse sensing. I make it so and turn my course the LRP 040 radial. OK, that was fun! We chase the DQO VOR on 114.0, the MXE VOR on 113.2 and back again to the LRP.
Well, all good things must end and its time to get home. It amazing but all that turning and VOR work with a few rounds of vectors and altitude changes complete with read backs in cockpit really helped with my comfort factor. My CFI says bring me home. I'm at 2500 and heading God knows where so I dial in the Modena VOR 113.2 with VOR 2 turning to check what radial I am on and get myself headed back towards N99. I also tune in VOR 1 to MXE with a heading of 52* knowing that the Airport Facility Directory lists MXE as 6nm to the field. As I cross over the station which I see over the nose I watch the flags on the VOR flip and I follow VOR 1 at the 52* heading. I announce "Brandywine traffic, Cessna 2746C on a 6 mile 45 for downwind 27, brandywine traffic". I enter the 45* at pattern altitude keeping a look out for traffic. Calling out my downwind turn I go through my landing procedures. Seat belts check, seat backs up, fuel selector both, mixture rich, landing /taxi lights on. Abeam the numbers I throttle back to 1500 rpm, settle, add 10* flaps let it settle and give a turn of nose up trim but not to much, I want a bit more speed to compensate for the crosswind. Announcing position as I turn base adding another 10* of flaps and trim nose down for 70 knts. Wow strong crosswinds have me talking out loud calling out my maneuvers. Banking right and adding a good deal of left rudder I slip in, adding the last notch of flaps and taking out all throttle I cross the numbers, flair (a bit to high) buffet in the gusting wind then settle down far left of center.......MORE right rudder! Whew.....that was really nice until I sat it down. I needed more right rudder.....now under control I roll out smooth and finally let off the back pressure on the yoke. Turning off to the taxiway beyond the hold short, I call down and clear of the active.
I am up again on Wednesday morning, I hope the weather is better. I'll be up again Saturday morning also. Bill reminded me that I did a really nice job (with the slips) right to the point to touch down. He wished the winds were better so that I could have soloed but he said its all on the weather now. I am going to work on flight planning this weekend and do some sim work on VOR Navigation.