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Terry finally had surgery to remove a bulging disc in her neck, and fuse the two vertebrae that were above and below that disc. It took about eight weeks from when she was put on the waiting list until she had the surgery. She had two previous scheduled surgery dates, the two weeks before, but both times the surgery was delayed a week or so, as there would be no room available for her on a ward after the surgery. The swine flu “pandemic” has put many people in hospital, and this has created bed shortages.

Her surgery on Wednesday went well, but it turned out that several patients who had been expected to be discharged from the hospital had to stay another day. Terry was one of nine patients who had surgery, but then had no bed available on a ward. They spent the night in the recovery room. She finally got a bed in a room on the Neurosciences ward on Thursday at lunch time. She spent two nights in the hospital, and I picked her up to bring her home late Friday morning.

She is wearing a cervical collar to keep her neck immobilized while those two vertebrae fuse together. This makes it hard for her to do many normal activities, so we spent much of the last two days figuring out practical workarounds. It still isn’t clear whether the surgery has solved the pain she was having in her shoulders and arms. The pain is much less frequent, but it is still there once in a while. We’re hoping that the pain she is still having is due to swelling around the area of surgery, and that it will go away as she heals. Hopefully she will be able to go back to work sometime next year.

I didn’t get flying this weekend, as I really need to spend time helping Terry do all the things she used to be able to do by herself. Yesterday was sunny, but there was a howling crosswind, so I couldn’t have flown anyway. I eventually hope to expand the crosswind envelope to 25 kt, or more. But I don’t want to go all the way there in one step. So far, I’ve flown in crosswinds of about 10 to 12 kt. I’m looking for something around 15 kt or so for the next step in the crosswind expansion.

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  • Hi Kevin

    Let me know if i'm exceeding my monthly allotment of questions.

    The other thing that it seems would be important to know is the altitude lost
    in a 180 degree turn (e.g. if the closest landing site is behind you)

    The effect of winds aloft seems pretty straightforward, but that may just
    mean I don't understand it well.

    I recall an article several years ago that suggested that a 45 degree bank at
    best glide speed and a nominal 1.4 "g" minimized altitude loss for a return to
    the airport after an engine failure. The NTSB website suggests that this is
    something most of us don't do well.

    James Freeman

  • You are quite correct that the optimum turn for minimum altitude loss is with
    45 degrees of bank, with the angle of attack for best lift/drag. The speed
    should be 1.19 times the speed for best glide with wings level, as this will
    give the angle of attack for best glide in the 1.41g turn.

    You are correct that the altitude loss in a 180 turn is a factor in deciding how
    high you must be to cross a body of water. The uncertainty in the winds
    between the cruise altitude and the surface is also a factor.

    I should do the sums to calculate a predicted altitude loss in that 180 deg
    turn. It would also make an interesting flight test.

    Kevin Horton