Gratuitous airplane pic!
Today was a New York trip - the weather was perfect except for a 120 knot wind which caused a few bumps in both directions. When we landed back in Toronto, it started to snow and by the time I made it home from the airport, there was a mini-blizzard going on. It's cleared now, but I was happy and sad that I have seen the first of this year's snow.
In other news:
I have been jogging every day and so far I have lost a pound. Hey, it's a start. I tell you though, it nearly killed me to go for breakfast in New York today and have a fruit salad with unbuttered toast and a mug of green tea. But it's worth it if I get to dress in a bear suit for my wedding.
Now to the point of today's post:
I did the return leg to Toronto this afternoon, and as we came in to land it was really windy and gusty. In fact, we got a taste of windshear - nothing too skeery, we just lost about 15 knots of airspeed on short final approach but I had already added 10 knots onto our normal approach speed due to the gusty winds, so it wasn't a huge deal and we weren't even close to stalling the plane or anything. As I watched the speed drop, I pushed the throttles forward in order to get more power from the engines, and after a couple of seconds they spooled up and gave me an extra boost, so I was able to make up the 10 knots of speed I lost in very short order. And I must say I had a sweet landing, even though it was in a 60 degree cross-wind of 12 knots, gusting to 28 knots. Hey, I get lucky once in a while :)
It was interesting though; in a piston engine or in a turboprop like the MU-2 (not in all turboprops though), the pilot has nearly instant access to engine power. If they need it, they just push the throttles forward and the engines will respond immediately.
In a jet, there is a bit of lag between the time you ask the engines for power and the time they actually deliver it - in our plane it seems to be a couple of seconds or so, and I have to take that into account when planning a difficult arrival. The lag is a result of the engines having to speed up considerably. In the MU-2 turboprop I flew, the engines essentially ran flat-out all the time, so power was constantly being generated, but in my jet, when I am close to landing, I will typically use a power setting of only 60% of the maximum engine speed. In a piston engine it's only a matter of a thousand rpm or so between a low power setting and a high power setting, but in a jet it's a matter of going from 20,000 rpm to 35,000 rpm and it just takes longer to do that.
End result: I have to anticipate some problems before they occur and be ready to deal with them very quickly, otherwise I could find myself needing power from the engines sooner than they are able to deliver it.
So I guess I have to pay attention.
And that's what I thought about today :)