Plane: Cessna 150
Weather: Clear, 91 degrees, wind variable at 4 knots
There was no escaping the heat today, and along with the warmth came some bumpier air. I could not wait to get the engine started and feel the breeze off the prop through the open windows while we taxied. Departing from Runway 8, we turned towards Wright Brothers so I could get more experience at other airports. Dave had been telling me before the flight how an examiner who is based at Wright Brothers was just talking to him about some of the crazy (and by crazy I mean people who do stupid things in the air) pilots who fly there. So in a sequence we could not have scripted any better, we were treated to a full display of such wonderful piloting after we landed and departed again from MGY.
I had been calling out our position properly when we first entered the pattern, landed, and was again doing so on departure. Then in came two planes from the North and East who announced over the radio the thought the winds (which were variable and actually slightly favoring Runway 20, which we were using) favored Runway 2 so they were going to land in the opposite direction we just took off from. Of course, any pilot arriving at an airport is supposed to comply with the current traffic pattern and we had clearly "established" that Runway 20 was in use. Anyway, I turned crosswind and then downwind so we were out of their way. Then a third plane called their position on downwind as one of the original two was also on downwind for Runway 2. Dave and I looked to the West and watched these two guys nearly have a mid-air because they were clueless as to where the other was. Having seen enough of that dangerous nonsense, we decided to get the hell out of there and fly over to Middletown. When it comes to the craziness and/or stupidity of some of the folks flying out of MGY, umm, point taken.
Hook Field Municipal Airport (MWO) in Middletown has some history associated with it, as it is where the Aeronca Corporation (the folks who built the Champ, amongst other planes) was headquartered and manufactured aircraft for many years. Here we worked on takeoffs and landings, I did one touch and go, and I did short field takeoffs for the first time. To do a short field takeoff, you taxi as far to the end of the runway as possible, hold the brakes, apply full power, and then let the brakes off while maintaining neutral control pressure. When the plane's ready to fly, you just pull back and off you go into the air. We also had some fun on one landing where I landed just past the threshold and hit the breaks to get us stopped so we could take the first turnoff on to the taxiway, which you can see in the GPS track. Believe it or not, a Piper Cherokee even entered the pattern properly, made the right calls over the radio, and followed us in the pattern for a couple circuits - what a novel idea!
I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the Cessna so now I think that I'm at the stage where I need to focus more on the details. Paying attention to the turn coordinator, holding my airspeed through attitude on climb out, watching my airspeed on approach and final, rounding out and flaring at the right height above the runway... these are some of the main things I have noticed with my flying. There have been a few great landings but I can tell that I got too used to the sight picture (sitting slightly lower to the ground) in the Champ and I have had a tendency to not flare soon enough. Good thing Cessna installed some hefty landing gear to keep me from looking too stupid. My radio work is really feeling good and Dave kept saying I seem really comfortable talking over the airwaves. I can't tell you why, but it just feels natural so far.
Interesting and stupid pilot tricks aside, it was a great day to spend some more time in the old 150 and fly to another new airport. This whole flying thing's fun in itself, but it's a heckuva lot cooler when you end up somewhere other than where you started. Due to the business travel it will be too long until I'm up next, but when that day comes Dave said we'll work on getting me soloed in the trusty old Cessna. Until then, safe flying everyone!
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.6 hours
Solo/PIC Time: 4.3 hours
Total Time: 28.3 hours