I was rather doubtful about this club trip going ahead due to a lot of moisture in the upper atmosphere around the
Looking ahead I saw what looked to be a fairly thick layer of cloud and made the decision to fly under it. Climbing to 3500 feet would give us ample terrain separation, but the south easterly blowing at 25 knots would give us some chop, especially over the Kaimai ranges. We hit a few downdrafts but it wasn’t anything too major, it just wasn’t pleasant. My mistake in hindsight is that at that point I should have called up
I chose to head out towards the coast hoping that things would smooth out a bit and they did, but not too much. I was listening in on the inter aircraft frequency and it was fairly quiet. When we were about 10 miles out from Whakatane (our initial landing point) the Whakatane frequency burst into life. I deliberately stayed high to give us the best visibility of aircraft possibly overtaking us but at about 6 miles started our descent straight into runway 09.
I saw WAM descend in front of us at about 2 miles so settled in and followed them at a safe distance. It was when we were at short finals that one of my passengers was sick in the back seat. He had not flown in a light plane before and had only just started to feel ill when I slowed the plane up. Ironically the ride smoothed out tremendously when I did this. I guess it was the heat build up in the small cabin.
That added to my stress levels but I stated to my passengers that I was going to land. I then bent my concentration to the landing. We had a slight crosswind that died somewhat as we rounded out. I still lowered a wing into the wind but didn’t add enough rudder and we came down at an awkward angle. We bounced once and I managed to straighten JGP before the mains touched down again and held the nose wheel off as we slowed. I then opened the throttle to taxi to get to the taxiway and we picked up a nose wheel shimmy. I lifted the nose and replaced it on the ground and got us off the runway where I found a spot on the apron to park and shut down.
I climbed out and helped out passenger out of his seat with Chris’s help. We then set about cleaning the plane up as best we could. Chris was to fly the next leg to
Once the other planes returned from White Island we swapped passengers with another aircraft so the guy wouldn’t have to fly in JGP and Chris flew us back via controlled airspace at 5500. We still picked up a bit of chop on the descent through 4500 but it wasn’t nearly as bad as before. The setting sun made detecting the aircraft ahead of us difficult and we were cleared into the
Not my finest hour in flying, but many important lessons learned. Pics that I took on the ground at Whakatane to follow soon.