Well, my “$100 Burger Run” to Mau`i on August 14th was good. I took three friends from my bellydance class for their first ride in a small plane. The winds were interesting but not really scary. Winds were 050 at 20 (from 050 degrees at 20 knots) straight down the runway. It was the longest trip I had ever made to Mau`i at nearly an hour and 45 minutes. It normally only takes about an hour and ten minutes. The slow pace did have a benefit. It allowed my passengers to take many pictures of the cliffs on Moloka`i, so there were no complaints.
When we got into Mau`i, I had trouble getting clearance to land. There was a lot of Heavy (Big planes) traffic. Once I got clearance though, I put all my focus on the landing. I was landing with a 20-knot headwind and 25-knot gusts. I decided to come in with no flaps and extra power. I lined up for Runway 5 and decided at about 500 feet out to put in ten degrees of flaps. I kept my speed at about 75 knots because I didn’t want that headwind to slow me down to much. As I came over the numbers, I eased the plane down to the runway and greased the landing at Kahului. I pulled power, raised the flaps and began taxiing for Taxiway Foxtrot, when I was hit by a gust and suddenly was airborne again. A good 25 feet up! I immediately put in power and greased a second landing. Once down I “flew” the plane while taxiing. I realized my mistake was that I had started taxiing normally with just ailerons into the wind when I should have also put the elevator up by pushing down on the yoke. After the second landing the wind buffeted me good, but it didn’t pick me up and I taxied for Taxiway Alpha. Tower was even surprised. They had seen I was down, given me clearance to taxi and told the Heavy landing on Runway 02 I was no longer a factor. That’s how long I was down. I was actually rolling along pleased as you could be and then I just wasn’t. Very interesting. Once I was down again, they gave me clearance for Alpha and again told the Heavy I was no longer a factor in their landing.
Anyway, I was pretty upset about my DOUBLE landing, even though they were both so perfectly smooth my passengers weren’t even sure that I had landed the first time. As we were tying the plane down, I watched the Heavies coming in on Runway 02. They were wobbling and making rough landings. The Aloha 737 that landed after me went long on the runway after a wobbling landing; the Hawaiian 767 after him wobbled and then rolled on one wheel for a good 1000 feet! I felt much better. After all if the big guys were having trouble landing then I did really REALLY good.
I was exhausted by the time we got to Mau`i though. I needed the break on the ground before we could fly back. I actually fell asleep in the car as we drove to the Hideway restaurant. It’s good that I have a rule of someone else drives when I fly. I really needed it that day. Apparently the girls even stopped at Long’s Drugs on the way to the restaurant, but I was knocked out. Of course when we got to the restaurant, I probably drank about three gallons of water. Didn’t even realize how dehydrated I was. The flight took a lot out of me. I ate the Hamburger steak while my passengers talked about the trip and enjoyed the view of Kahului Harbor. It was a very relaxing lunch.
Because of the extra long flight, our time to return to Honolulu came quickly. Again, I fell asleep in the car on the way back to the airport after we ate. But I was fine once we got to the airport. We untied the plane, and received clearance to depart. We took off from Echo on Runway 2. The crosswind wasn’t too bad. The winds had shifted to 18 at 040 making a 7.2-knot crosswind, but after my flight at Kalaeloa, that was no problem. Then again, I’ve never had trouble taking off in a crosswind.
The flight back was the fastest flight I had ever had from Mau`i. We got back to Honolulu in less than 40 minutes from Takeoff to Landing where it normally takes about 1 hour. Even Honolulu Radio was surprised at the speed I was moving when I made my PIREPS, (Pilot reports on flying conditions.) We did hit a little turbulence about mid-channel of Moloka`i and O`ahu so I had to slow some, but all in all our speed was amazing. Definitely made up for the flight there. When we came in to Honolulu, I had to enter the left downwind for Runway 4 Left at 2000 feet. Apparently there was a helicopter that was rushing to get passed the approach lanes before I arrived. Well, he didn’t make it, so Approach had him hover above Ford Island and gave me clearance to land when I was at the 45-degree angle from the numbers. Basically they gave me clearance to land at the point I turn onto the Base leg of the landing pattern, (perpendicular to the runway.) Not the best place to turn and descend when you have passengers. Passengers normally get squirrelly if you point the nose down to sharply or turn the plane on it’s side.
I checked the end of the Runway 8 Right, the runway that runs along the landing edge or Runways 4 and verified there were no planes there. I also checked the sky on approach to runway 8 and didn’t see any planes on Final preparing to land on Runway 8 Right. I acknowledged the clearance and asked Approach for a long final. They approved it and I extended my downwind.
The winds at Honolulu were 040 at 15-knots. Again, straight down the runway. Not a problem. My only concern was how to lose the altitude I needed to get down. I had pulled power and was descending, but slowly. I turned onto the base leg and was still at 1000 feet. I decided to surprise my passengers with a quick sideslip instead of a forward slip. I figured they could handle it. Everyone was in a good mood. So I turned the plane on it’s side and Slipped in the base leg to about 500 feet. Much better. I took a quick glance at my passengers and saw smiles, a very good sign. I turned onto final at about 400 feet and slowly descended. I kept power up and again at about 500 feet out I put in 10 degrees of flaps. As I came in over the numbers, I felt the Mains (wheels) touch down lightly. I pulled power and gently lowered the nose wheel down. Once down I raised the flaps and kept the yoke pushed down as I taxied to Foxtrot. A perfectly greased SINGLE landing. Who could ask for more?
All in all, my passengers enjoyed the flight, and we returned to Honolulu safe and happy. The slip I threw in at the end had everyone talking. They had so much fun when I did it they were wondering why I didn’t do more. Although most passengers don’t want the plane to feel like it’s in any form of unusual attitude, apparently these girls like the “Yank and Bank” of flying. It was definitely a good flight.
After we closed out the plane, and paid our cost for the flight, $69 each, we went for ice cream at Ronnie’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant. Again all the girls talked about how exciting the flight was, and how they couldn’t wait to get pictures developed. Everyone wanted to do it again. The highlight of the trip seemed to be the Slip I did at the end. All the girls were excited and extremely happy. I was happy but exhausted. We left Honolulu at 10:46 am and returned at 3:52 pm. It was a long day. I felt like I had run a marathon. We finally left the ice cream parlor around 6:30 pm. I went home, took a shower and was in bed by 8 p.m. and didn’t wake up until 9:30 am the next morning. A good end to a good day.