I did a short (1.4 hour) currency flight yesterday that I was not happy with. I took off from Harvey and tooled around trying to decide where to go, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t flown into PAE in a while.
So I flew out east and kind of circled to PAE so I could use the long runway (better photos from the long runway.) Every thing set up nice and I entered the pattern for 34L and got some shots of the Boeing plant on downwind.
Here is where every thing went south (figuratively speaking…the downwind for 34L is south-bound so I was already going south.) I could not keep pattern alt, could not find traffic sharing the pattern, and was totally operating on memory rather than running my checklists. This is the hazard of flying and taking pictures at the same time.
I was cleared for my touch and go, and started my base leg when I realized I was still too high. Fair enough, better too high than too low. I added some more flaps, dropped some RPMs and the PAPI came up two white two red and every thing looks good until I flared too low and almost made a nose wheel landing. Ugly.
A couple more marginal circuits and I flew off to AWO for some time in an uncontrolled pattern. When I got to AWO I was surprised to find two aircraft in the pattern doing touch and go’s on runway 29.
Although the wind was out of 28, most of the time the folks at Arlington use the big runway (16-32) and take the crosswind. Naturally, once I got in the 45 for 29 a plane called in on the ILS to 32. Not to worry, everybody compensated. That is until every one decide to switch to 32 when I was in the downwind on my second touch and go, and a Meridian called in on the 45 to 29.
I could not see the Meridian so I climbed out of pattern alt and he came in under me, I picked him up off my nose and slid in behind him. I did my best landing of the day and headed back to Harvey, determined that I need to get in front of the airplane a bit more. I’m rusty in a way I have never been rusty. Maybe I need to save up some cash for while and do a hard core 3 day a week refresher for a month. Money and time…never the twain shall meet.