From The Editor: Traffic, Gray Whale. 12 O’Clock, Low.
We never did see the whale. In fact, we never even looked for it. With the sharp reminder of the task at hand—flying—we refocused entirely on the airplane. I was disappointed about my takeoff. Marc was disappointed about his landing. But that was then; this was now. We had to put it behind us. SoCal Approach was issuing constant traffic alerts, and the TCAS was blaring. Our eyes were peeled for traffic—of the airborne type. With each additional nautical mile separating us from the busy Los Angeles basin, our workload was reduced, and we were able to relax a bit. The reward of Santa Barbara was another world: beautiful, quiet and calm.
Patty Wagstaff knows firsthand the impact a distraction can have. At the Dayton Air Show, an interruption during preflight on her Extra resulted in the engine cowl opening and bending backward mid-performance, after executing a knife-edge spin in front of 100,000 spectators. This month, Patty discusses the importance of procedures and checklists, and how to make them work for you each time. Like the rest of us, she doesn't like mistakes or surprises.
Surprises can come in all forms. Regardless of what tower or the wind sock is telling you, contributor Budd Davisson cautions that you need to be prepared to deal with whatever conditions are around your airplane at any given moment. In "Combating Crosswinds," Budd tackles 10 aspects that will reduce the surprises in your flying.