Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, wind 190 degrees at 8 knots
Hard to believe but it's been exactly one year since my first solo in the Champ. I'll never forget that night, just as I suspect no other pilot will forget his or her own. Luckily the weather tonight was quite conducive for a commemorative flight so up I went.
As you might recall from my last post, there's a 90-day currency rule and it's been much longer than three months since I last flew the Champ. That meant it wasn't a true one-year-later flight as I had to take the Cub up instead. Not that I'm complaining, as the 85 hp Cub has to be the most fun you can have solo for $61 per hour.
Driving to the airport I was thinking about what I should do in honor of my first complete year of solo aviating and I decided some good ol' fun was what the doctor ordered. I climbed out of the pattern and up to about 3,000 feet and did a bunch of steep turns, steep descents, and pushed the nose over a bit for some weightlessness. Then I climbed up to 3,500 and flew over the pattern at Wright Brothers and circled above our house.
It was more of the same on the way back as I did some more steep turns, both of the 360-degree variety and some other random ones where I just yanked over and turned the plane on a dime. I even hit my wake a couple times when flying a complete circle. Basically I spent a good portion of the evening doing all the fun stuff you don't usually do when there's a passenger on board.
Once back in the pattern at Stewart, the Stearman was flying around and overhead as they were practicing wing walking. Cub, one of the Stewarts - not a plane, is doing the flying and a couple different girls are standing out on the wires. I first saw some photos a few weeks ago - I believe the plan is to eventually perform at air shows. Definitely fun to watch even if it still looks a bit crazy.
I made three landings, getting progressively better each time. The first two I rounded out about two feet too high and set the plane down a little hard. I didn't bounce at all but they still weren't nice greasers. The final time around the pattern I pulled the power abeam the numbers and circled around for a simulated engine out landing. A bit high and fast on short final, I transitioned in and out of a forward slip and touched down very gently about 1/4 of the way down the runway.
Again, it's amazing that a whole year has passed since my first solo. I've certainly had many awesome flights and milestones since then, but this one's definitely special to me. Even better is the upcoming trip I have planned - a flight to Put-In-Bay, a small island in Lake Erie just off the Ohio coast - on Saturday the 15th. It's going to be my first real cross-country 'destination' flight and I'll get to meet some fellow pilots who belong to the Great Lakes Pilots group. If you're in flying range, come join us!
Today's Flight: 1.0 hours
Total Time: 115.0 hours