46.5h – You Can’t Beat Circuits *video

Tons of landings again. 3.5 hours nonstop up and down.

During the last four flights I did more than one hundred landings. That’s totally crazy. My landings became pretty good now but I still didn’t like most of them. Tom’s trick is to fly a perfect arc until you are on the water. In order to fly a nice arc you need to know your height above the water. That is easy above rough water. But as soon the wind calms down the landings get difficult. Glassy water is beautiful but  it is the most dangerous water for seaplanes.


Sometimes there are smooth waves on the lake and you think it’s going to be a normal landing. Shortly before touchdown strange illusions start to form. Suddenly you think you are much too high. You add power to avoid falling out of the sky and keep the airplane at the perfect angle. The airspeed indicator reads less than stalling speed – don’t even look at it. You rely now only on your climb rate indicator and the engine gauges. 1900 revolutions per minute result in a descent of 150 feet per minute – these are your gauges now. As you are set up for touchdown you wait for the first contact with the water. Then, in the moment you think there are still ten seconds to go, the airplane starts shaking and the water splashes on your side. Surprise, surprise. Don’t mess with glassy water. At Kenmore Air my examiner told me, even after thousands of hours experience, the glassy water still can get you. That’s why you should be concerned if the wind is calm. It’s dangerously calm…

The best way to experience different types of water and to learn to control an airplane are simply landings and takeoffs. You can’t beat circuits…

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