Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 78 degrees, wind 170 degrees at 8 knots
Hard to believe, but it was exactly one year ago today that I first flew at Stewart. Joe and I went up in the Cub for my first taste of grass strip aviation and I was hooked the second we left the ground. So today is what I hope to be the beginning of an annual birthday tradition of taking to the skies in the very airplane that got me back into flying.
Let's see, in these last 365 days I have:
- Passed my checkride and received my Private Pilot certificate
- Started this blog and met countless people (worldwide!) through our love of aviation
- Flown some light aerobatics in a Pitts Special
- Traveled to Germany, Austria, Japan, and Montana for the first time
- Bought my first house
- And, most recently, crossed 100 hours in the left seat
Today was, weather-wise, the reason aviation is so spectacular. Deep blue skies, light winds, warm temperatures... what more can you ask for than to be able to look out on the world below? It was the perfect day to get comfy in the Cub and we enjoyed it the only proper way, by flying around for an hour and a half with the door off. Engine noise, wind noise, and nothing but the clear air in sight. True grass roots, vintage aviation as far as I'm concerned.
Look, no door!
Soaring through the spectacularly clear sky
Gina and I took the fun Cub (those extra 20 hp make all the difference, let me tell you) up and didn't do much of anything other than a few fun maneuvers and sightseeing. There was a decent almost-direct crosswind at takeoff but it had mostly subsided by the time we returned. I flew us down over top of Kings Island for a new sightseeing experience before returning up the valley at 1,000 feet agl. We flew over top of the lake and the beach at the State Park and I made sure to wave with the wings at all the folks down below soaking up the sun.
Is there anything better than a Cub on a clear Spring day?
Flying over top of Kings Island
I had a little fun again too, pulling the carb heat before executing a steep descent and then pulling back to level off while shoving us into the seats. I also pushed over real quickly at the top to really give us that diving feeling as we started to head towards the ground. Good fun as always in the Cub. I made some steep turns during the course of the flight, and had an awesome one on our way back to Stewart where I completely hit my own wake as I leveled out while exiting the turn. Haven't done that in a while.
Mmmmmm, Ohioey farms below...
We flew over the house again to attempt some photos and just generally tooled around up there for the whole hour and a half. I did manage to get in a couple S-Turns for the first time since my checkride I think... I did alright. Looking at the GPS track, I obviously didn't produce an even half-circle on both sides of the road so I suppose it's something I should go up and practice one of these days.
I flew over top of Stewart at 2,800 feet on the way back to check the winds, since they were already becoming rather variable when we departed. Sure enough, they were slightly favoring Runway 8 now so I flew out past the airport and then set brought us into a nice, quick forward slip to bleed off the altitude before entering the 45. I felt a bit high in the pattern but kicked over into a mild forward slip on short final once clear of the trees and managed to bring us in for a smooth, near-greaser of a landing.
Work's slightly calmer now and the weather forecast is consistently awesome (low to mid 80s and clear skies) thru the rest of the holiday weekend so I'm hoping to take advantage. At a minimum, Gina and I are planning on a $100 pancake run on Saturday up to Urbana. And if I'm able to escape from work tomorrow or Friday, I might have to wander down to Stewart and head up again just to get in some more practice.
A final word of thanks again to all the readers, commenters, and friends I've connected with thanks to this blog. It's hard to believe it's only been a year since I started it all up when I think about all the emails and other communication we've had. I really appreciate the helpfulness of the pilot community at large and the folks I've met on here have done nothing but reinforce that sentiment. Oh yeah, as my birthday comes to a close there's one last thing I got for myself...
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 102.4 hours