Turbulence

Turbulence is one of those things that I never realized existed in flying until I started taking lessons many years ago. It scared the hell out of me.  One day as we were bouncing along the instructor said here, give me the airplane, he promptly let go of the stick and pretended to be going to sleep, It made the point, sometimes it is possible to fight the airplane and make matters lots worst than they are.  Stop and analyze what is really happening, in keeping the wings level, are you about to get turned upside down or are the wings just not as level as you would like them to be.  When getting bounced around do not fight the machine, let it wonder, we are not flying IFR and need to maintain out altitude precisely, and so what is wings dip, chances are the next bounce will bring them back level.  If you get 300 AGL bouncing without getting bounced around that is good, enjoy the ride and let the winds move you around.  If you have ever seen a fire on a hill and watched the smoke as it blows away it never is in a straight line, it is going up and down, twisting and turning.  When we are flying we are in that air moving around and we can go with it and enjoy or we can fight it.  All aircraft from a Legal Eagle to a 747 to and F35 get bounced around in the wind as it moves.  Something else to do is study the weather, talk to sail plane pilots, find out as much as you can about the weather.  When there are nice fluffy clouds around it is almost always turbulent below them and smooth on top of them.  Winds as it moves across country can cause turbulence many miles away, we have a mountain peak, Mt. Diablo, it is possible to be flying on a dead calm day in the central valley, 30 miles east of this mountain peak and get bounced all over the sky because of air passing this MT. and then having turbulent in a wind peaceful area. 

                I do not worry about turbulence until I am concerned it may upset me, then I have training in what to do if it does.  When you are at altitude, even 300 ft agl you have room to work with, when you get into turbulence 10 ft above the ground it gets more serious because you have to be doing the proper thing to keep from stirring up the dust.  I would suspect you will be flying on calm days or days with wind down the runway until you get more time.  Look at the winds aloft for your area and study then each day, flying or not.  You will notice on the most perfect days, no turbulence anywhere winds speeds ( and wind direction) will be about the same a surface, 3000, 6000 and 9000 feet.  The more the wind speeds vary and more the directions vary will indicate more bouncing.  Sometimes on a sunny day just he color change between dark and light, plowed ground, meadow, trees, water, pasture ETC can cause a lot of bouncing because of the way heat causes air to riser and areas that adsorb heat, plowed ground the air is not rising as much. 

                If all else fails I like to form a ring with my fingers around the stick and just let it float in that circle, not quite like letting go but taking the pilot out of the equation to see if I am adding to the problem.

Practice, practice and lots of flying under all kinds of conditions help also.

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