Went for a flight yesterday, overall it was a nice day, but the winds were up from my last few flights. Actually the winds were more like normal in Oklahoma than my last few flights. Took off from KOUN and headed north. Was going to go to Enid (KWDG) but went to Ponca City (KPNC) instead. Climbing out in gusty conditions made life interesting. I was bobbing my way up to 5500 msl. Talking to OKC App and listening to others on the freq. shooting approaches and not able to use the radio at the same time (obvious IR students). Finally I got above 4000 and things started to smooth out. Leveled at cruise alt. and cleared the northside of the Class C. I elected not to use flight following on this trip so I was "radar service terminated squawk VFR". The flight was nice as I watched Stillwater slide by on my right and then Enid on my slightly distant left. Punched the GTN-650 and checked the airport information again at KPNC. Dialed in the freq. and it was fairly quiet. I called a 5 mile final straight in to 35. No other traffic within 100 miles, I know because there was only one other plane on the frequency and I knew that airport was that far away. As I started to descend the mechanical turbulence and gusts became something of a handful to compensate. Got slowed but still had a significant turbulence making the final round out and flare more difficult than normal. Finally, go it on the ground, a little firmer than desired, cleaned up and finished the touch and go.
Climbing out on a left downwind departure, I decided to use flight following on the return trip to make the Class C crossing easier. Got up to 6500 and was enjoying both the smooth air and the tail wind. Again, resorted to the 650 and pulled up the ZKC frequency for my location, dialed it in and made contact. The 650 was reporting 150kts GS with an IAS of 125 kts. Subsequently handed off to OKC App and given a 4500 at or above instruction. I stayed high to avoid the bumpy air below, OKC removed the restriction and handed me off to the tower some 18 miles out. Once I got close was given a right downwind to 36, left downwind is standard for this runway. I descended and was cleared number two to land. I was thinking a lot about that ugly KPNC landing and did not want a duplication. Set up on about a 1.75 mile final and had two notches of flaps. Got to 1700 msl and about 1/2 mile final put in the final full flap setting. The 650 had me at 65kts with a higher IAS in the ASI, about a slightly left quartering 15-20kt. headwind. There were two waiting for me so they could depart. I made the round out and flared touching down right at stall and very lightly on the mains. Held the nose up until it dropped on its own. Rolled out to Bravo taxiway, which is the first turn off and cleared the runway.
This was a flight I needed. Bumpy and swirling winds near the ground. Only took one landing to knock the rust off and then my second one was back where it should have been. I had gotten a little too persnickety about good conditions, those are rare here. Needed to get back to the real world where 20kt winds are common if you fly in the Great Plains.
Blues skies to all!