Video of our time in the sky along with some of the action at Lee Bottom
We met at the airport about 8:45 and John already had the airplane ready to go. The weather was nothing short of perfect - clear and CAVU with the wind out of the west at about 6 knots. John climbed in and I hand-propped the engine to get the 65 hp Continental moving, then climbed in myself. It was around 9:05 when we lifted off Stewart's dry grass (we are in serious need of some rain here!) and climbed into the gorgeous blue sky.
The air was smooth as glass the entire way down as we cruised at 2,500 feet. We went direct Cincinnati West (I67) and then direct Lee Bottom to stay under the shelves of Cincinnati's Class Bravo airspace. The Luscombe doesn't have an electrical system so that means no transponder and no entry into the Bravo. I never realized how many radio control clubs there were down this way - we passed almost directly over top of two of them and I could see people out flying their model airplanes.
The Miami Valley Radio Control Club's runway, near Lebanon
Passing over the Lebanon Correctional Institution
Trader's World, the giant flea market next to the charred remains of Touchdown Jesus
Hamilton Area Wireless Kontrol Society - notice the planes flying up top!
The rolling hills of southern Ohio begin to appear as we approach the Ohio River
Looking out the front while cruising at 2,500 feet on this CAVU morning
We were passed by this RV that was also enroute to Lee Bottom
More rolling hills as we passed by Friendship, IN
The recommended pattern entry was to fly west of town, aim for a white water tower, and then fly to the old power plant to enter an upwind leg. I spotted traffic as we approached the area but we successfully sequenced ourselves into the flow. The only crazy thing was one guy that appeared to be going directly towards the old power plant. He was pointed almost head-on at us and John had to make a right turn for spacing. Both of us thought this guy would turn at some point but he didn't seem to me moving!
Due to the tall (I'm guessing about 400 feet) hills on the west side of the field, the downwind leg is always flown over the river. We were number three by the time we were over the Ohio and John flew a great pattern and spaced things out perfectly. He used a healthy forward slip (the Luscombe's got great rudder authority!) on short final to drop us in over the trees and we touched down gently on the smooth grass.
Lee Bottom Flying Field and the Ohio River while flying the upwind leg of the pattern
Turning downwind with the beautiful grass field off to our right
Aeronca Champ landing on the grass - this is what I flew on my first solo
"Buster" - the Luscombe 8A that flew us safely to and from Lee Bottom
This was an interesting plane to see up close, a Republic RC-3 Seabee
Winner of the "worst paint job on the field" award
Row after row of airplanes - nearly 300 were on the field!
A gorgeous Great Lakes 2T-1A
The Questair Venture has a crazy short fuselage, 280 hp, and weighs 1200 lbs empty!
Watching a Robinson R44 depart after spending some time on the ground
They even landed a DC-3 at Lee Bottom!
This long line is why I skipped lunch and we flew home in time to beat the traffic
As you can see from all the photos, we walked around looking at airplanes for a couple hours. There were 150+ on the ground when we arrived and the arrival flow didn't slow down much until just before we left. So many beautiful airplanes on a perfect flying day on a great grass strip - talk about vintage aviation exemplified.
The line for lunch was extremely long so I elected to skip that so we could get out and beat the rush. It was around 1:00 when I hand-propped the airplane, climbed in, and we taxiied all the way down to the end of Runway 36. Takeoff was short and we got a great view of all those airplanes still on the ground as we climbed out. The return flight was much bumpier than the flight down. We had to stay below 3,000 feet due to the Bravo airspace so climbing to smoother air wasn't an option.
Crossing the Ohio River on our way home
Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Int'l Airport from about 15 miles out
The Great Miami River and downtown Hamilton, OH
With the prevailing winds from the west, the return trip was about 10 minutes quicker than our flight down. The bumps continued all the way to the pattern at Stewart but they didn't phase either of us. You do tend to get used to these things as a pilot. He set Buster down nicely at the home field and we got everything shut down and pushed the plane into the hangar. It was a great day of flying and airplanes and I'm really glad I was asked to tag along as an extra set of eyes. It's kind of fun to be a passenger once in a while and just enjoy the view. Thanks again, John!