Sunday, September 14, 2014

Solo flight to Michigan for a family visit

Plane: Cessna 172 
Route: 40I-OZW
Weather - 40I: Scattered clouds, 64 degrees, wind 090 degrees at 4 knots
Weather - OZW: Broken clouds, 60 degrees, wind 220 degrees at 8 knots

I needed to head up to Michigan to see my dad this afternoon. I drove up last week and wanted to save some time; the weather was also much more conducive to flying today. So, with the plane reserved for about 48 hours, I hopped in the 172 after lunch and pointed the nose north.

Highlights from tonight's slightly-less-than-two-hour flight (lots of ATC)

Columbus Approach quickly issued me a squawk code when I called for flight following abeam Wright Brothers. They turned me about 10 degrees right to stay clear of the arrivals/departures at DAY but the frequency was relatively calm; most calls were planes from the local drop zones announcing "jumpers away." Eventually I got cut loose at the end of their airspace near Lima.

North of Lima, I called Toledo Approach. They were able to get me into the system so I'd have flight following the rest of the way. That frequency was also pretty quiet, save for a few guys hugging Lake Erie's south shoreline on the way to Put-in-Bay.

Sometimes navigation's too easy; I followed this road for about 50 miles

Eventually I got handed off to Detroit Approach, which moved me about a mile west near Tecumseh to avoid a jump zone. Other than that, it was bumpy sailing the remainder of the way to Howell. A couple other planes were in the pattern but left the area before I entered. I crossed midfield to enter a left downwind for Runway 13. The wind was steady at 8-10 knots, a direct right crosswind that I negotiated on short final. Landing intentionally long to shorten my taxi to the fuel pad, I touched down pretty softly on the right main after a slight initial balloon.

I have to note that it was seriously bumpy. For the entire flight. Not enough to make me nauseous or anything (though I was glad to be flying solo) but the bumps never let up. I was constantly on the controls trying to maintain a semblance of the correct altitude and heading. Climbing to get above the bumps wasn't a great option since the cloud deck was broken (I'd have had to go to 7,500 feet to be high enough above the clouds - and find a hole to descend through in Michigan) and then I'd also be trading calm winds aloft for a headwind. On the flip side, visibility was spectacular - I spotted Detroit and Columbus from >60 miles away!

OZW has a beautiful new terminal (and intimidating ramp decorations)

The drive is between three and half and four hours; today's flight was a bit under two hours. Of course, I spent some time taxiing, running checklists, and filling up the tanks at the self-serve 100LL pump (with a $0.20/gal discount on weekends!) after I landed. However, the view was certainly a hell of a lot better and that qualifies as an unquestioned success in my book.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 2.2 hours
Total Time: 314.5 hours

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Caesar Creek Soaring Club's Youth Camp

I just came across this and absolutely had to share it. It captures the magic of flight - and sharing it with kids in particular - in spectacular fashion. Just a damn fine video all-around.

Caesar Creek Soaring Club is only a few miles (by air, of course) from Stewart. I've landed there numerous times myself, including on my first-ever Cub lesson. If you're interested in glider flying, they're a great place to check out!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Red Stewart Airshow + EAA Fly-In this weekend!

It's that time of year again - Labor Day weekend means it's time for Red Stewart Airfield's annual airshow. The show is FREE for everyone and includes numerous aerobatic performances by local pilots. Check out the Dayton Daily News' article for more details.

On Sunday, the local EAA chapter will have a fly-in / pancake breakfast from 7-11. Afterwards, they'll be giving free Young Eagle rides for children; I'll be flying kids in the 150 myself. If you're in the area, definitely consider heading down to Waynesville for a bunch of fun this weekend!

Like usual, I'll be at the airport pretty much the entire weekend. Get in touch if you'll be at Stewart and want to say hello!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summertime safety piloting

Plane: Cessna 182 RG
Route: MGY, Local 
Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, wind 300 degrees at 4 knots

This summer has felt and looked a lot more like fall. That trend continued today with extremely comfortable temperatures and great visibility; I'm pretty sure you could see 50-60 miles from a couple thousand feet above the ground. Mike needed to shoot some approaches and we originally planned to fly tomorrow morning. However, we'll both be busy biking the Tour de Dayton, so we pushed our original plans up and went flying tonight after work.

Flying over my office in the Miami Valley Research Park

Kettering Fairmont High School, where Gina teaches

We took off from Wright Brothers around 6:00 and headed north. Mike made a teardrop entry into the approach for Runway 23 at Middletown. There were skydivers in the pattern as usual (there's a very busy skydive outfit at MWO) and I kept them in sight as Mike flew under the hood. He went missed at decision height and I told him to climb slowly at first - there were still open parachutes nearly directly above us.

Soon we were again level at about 3,000 feet and lined up for an approach to Runway 33 at RID. Mike had already knocked off a bit of the rust and this one was quite stable. I took some photos of the lush, green farmland surrounding the airport as we shot down final. The pattern remained completely empty as we again went missed and pointed the nose back towards Dayton.

Great Miami River and one of the bike trails I regularly ride

Long final for Runway 33 at Richmond Municipal Airport

Everything is seriously green out here right now!

Shadows cast across a golf course near Richmond, IN

A blimp was flying over Mason, OH (I believe for the Western & Southern Open, a tennis tournament) that lined right up with our initial approach fix; we flew directly at it and it slowly grew in size as we got closer. About five balloons had been getting ready for takeoff when we took off from Wright Brothers (what I assume to be) some of them were visible on the horizon.

That's a hot air balloon about a mile off the right wing

Short final for Runway 2 at Wright Brothers

Two or three other planes called in on the CTAF as we flew the approach to Runway 2, which is roughly 10 miles straight in. Everyone had landed by the time we were on short final and Mike touched down softly a little past the numbers. All told, we spent about an hour in the sky. He's now current and, for me, the view was certainly worth it!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours (SIC)
Total Time: 312.3 hours

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Touch and go, then fly back home

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: MGY-40I
Weather: High overcast, 67 degrees, wind calm

Sometimes flights just aren't that interesting - but flying's still flying, which means it's beats most everything else one could be doing! That pretty much describes this morning. I had to return the plane to Stewart after yesterday's night currency flight and threw in a couple extra laps around the pattern for good measure.

Since I actually don't do touch and goes very often, I opted for two on my way out of Wright Brothers. Everything went smoothly and I was reminded why I always see students practicing them there - they sure save a lot of time over taxiing back for takeoff! Recall that I'm spoiled at Stewart; it's totally feasible to complete a full-stop trip around the pattern in 0.1 on the Hobbs.

I headed east and was soon entering an empty pattern. Crossing midfield I could still see some mist in the Little Miami River valley. I turned downwind and extended so I could practice a short field landing. By the time I was stabilized on final all 40 degrees of flaps were hanging in the wind and I was maintaining about 55 knots. Crossing the trees and power lines, I pulled the throttle to idle, touched down on the soft morning grass, and rolled out in about 1,000 feet.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.5 hours
Total Time: 311.5 hours