Oh the headlines! Plane crashes! Well, in reality it wasn’t really a ‘crash’ just a momentary departure from the intended flight path and the ground happened to get in the way. Thankfully it wasn’t me though!
Today was one of those days where something just didn’t feel right when I got in the plane. It was just before noon and I was able to score an extra plane for some solo time. The controllers at this airport are generally pretty good at their job. Some not so much. It is a training facility, but that is no excuse for the kind of mistakes that were made today.
Tower: runway 22 clear for takeoff winds at blah blah blah
Me: 22 clear for take off
So I roll onto the runway and they immediately switch me the opposite direction
Me (in my head): are you fucking serious right now?
I manage to get in the air after a nervous takeoff since the abrupt change in direction makes me wonder if they forgot about the large military aircraft and Boeing jets in the vicinity.
The plane I was flying has issues with staying straight and level. It felt mushy the entire time. I don’t like it one bit.
When I decided to fly back to the airport, tower didn’t really have a firm grasp on what was going on. A plane announced that they were on final to land and tower cleared them to take off. (A plane in the air doesn’t need to take off anymore… ) the controller seemed to be getting overwhelmed and began losing interest in staying ahead of the game. She actually sounded drunk. Who am I to judge though…
I was cleared to land with partial instructions added. I was then told to disregard.
Tower:clear to land runway 22, p3 arriving 32 right, make long landing.
Me: Roger. (Thinking… What the hell do you want me to do?)
Tower: land runway 22… Clear touch and go
Me: (thinking again… There’s a big effing plane crossing my approach path… Whatever)
As soon as I touch down she hastily tells me to exit the runway. (This was supposed to be a touch and go). All of a sudden she tells me to disregard. Sooo, I was intending to take off again, but since this drunken idiot in control of all these aircraft doesn’t know what’s going on I’m in a real pickle. Is she expecting me to stay on the ground? Does she remember that I’m going to take off again? Did she put me in the path of an airliner? She already put me in a horrible position with the wind…
I take off, forgetting basic flying procedures because I’m concentrating on not getting obliterated by one of the many large aircraft flying around and I go to get set up for the next runway of intended landing. On the climb out a damn helicopter is converging.
Are you kidding me? We divert and I’m cleared to land another runway. Direct crosswind mind you and the wind reports from the tower were NOT what they really were. On my final landing, the wind was doing some wicked things on the surface. I was taxiing back and the plane actually lifted off the ground momentarily so I maxed the controls to get it back on the ground. Not cool.
After exiting the runway, I was head on with another aircraft cleared for the runway I just landed on.
At this point I really wanted to tell the tower to pull their heads out of their asses and look out the damn window to see what was going on. Apparently we aren’t allowed to do such a thing.
I got back in, tried to mention that the winds were picking up quite a bit but it seems that anything a student pilot says gets shrugged off as being paranoia or ignorance. Given the track record of many of these students, I don’t blame them.
Funny thing, we get a message a few hours later that a plane had made an emergency landing at the next airport over. Nothing serious but apparently it made contact with the ground because of some unexpected wind activity.
At this point the irritation of my day is being overshadowed by the fact that these preventable mistakes could end up putting the school on some stricter guidelines. End result, my progress gets put to a halt and because of careful coordination with VA, financial aid and the mere fact that I want to be done, this whole plan could fall apart for me.
Dare I mention the idiot that landed on a closed runway a few weeks ago?