Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking Gina's aunt up in the Cub

Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Partly cloudy, 92 degrees, wind 010 degrees at 7 knots

Gina's aunt and uncle came down for a few days this week to visit and see some local attractions - the USAF Museum, Columbus Zoo, etc. We of course offered up an airplane ride if they were interested and her aunt Toni said she was up for it. Given the intense heat (the heat index hit at least 110 today) there was no way I was flying anything other than the Cub. I consider the open door a requirement when it's this hot out!

We all drove together to Stewart and I did my preflight and hooked up the portable intercom. This is actually the first time I've used an intercom and headsets in the Cub; I figured it was the only way to actually say anything to each other and I wanted Toni to be able to ask questions. I couldn't squelch out the wind noise (my intercom and headsets aren't really designed for open-cockpit use) but it definitely allowed us to talk up there.

Dave helped me push the Cub up onto the grass

After we were situated in the J-3, we were propped by Emerson and that got the much-needed wind blowing. Gina and her uncle Dave watched us as I ran through my pre-takeoff checks, then made a 360 and took off on Runway 26. There were some storm clouds popping up in the thick, humid air so I flew south towards I-71 to stay in a clear area while pointing out some of my usual sightseeing points of interest.

I flew much of my usual scenic route and also flew over our house

Toni was surprised at how much farmland and forest there was in the area. It really is one of those things you probably would never see or realize if you're always stuck on the ground. We may live in a relatively flat part of the country but it is rather pretty to look down on when everything's green.

I could see rain coming out of the clouds over Caesar Creek Lake so I didn't fly that direction. Instead, I turned north and headed back towards the airport since it looked like there were some darker clouds headed towards Stewart from the north. Once we entered the pattern I could see well off past the one dark cloud and things were quite clear, so I decided to keep flying and climbed up to 3,000 feet where the air was MUCH cooler and more comfortable.

Buckled in and ready for come Cubbin'

We flew over towards Wright Brothers and I was able to point out the MetLife Blimp that's been on the ground there for a couple days. It took a minute of explaining reference points, but I was even able to point out our house and neighborhood! Then I flew us a few miles away from the airport and let Toni take the controls for a couple minutes, making some gentle turns and even climbing and descending slightly. She commented that the stick was more touchy than she expected... but she did a great job flying!

I asked if she wanted to try a couple slightly more "fun" maneuvers and she said yes. We made one steep turn to the left and Toni said she didn't think it was that intense. I also made one very gentle push forward on the stick to show her how you can get that somewhat weightless feeling. Finally, I made a semi-steep spiral to drop down to pattern altitude - it's a quick way to lose 1,000 feet. During all of this I told her to let me know if anything bothered her and I'd stop instantly... but she said it was fun and felt fine.

Checking the intercom after starting the engine

I crossed mid-field and entered the pattern but wasn't planning on landing just yet. We flew around - downwind, base, final - but I kept the power in and made a pass probably about 150 feet above the ground and waved the wings at Dave and Gina, who were watching from one of the benches next to the runway. Then I explained to Toni what a forward slip was (since it's a bit unusual for someone new to small airplane flying) and made an approach at idle power. After a full forward slip from base to final we touched down quite softly and taxied back to the hangar area.

Toni told me she had a great time and I'm glad it went well - you certainly want to make sure someone's first "little airplane" ride is a good experience. She thanked me again later in the evening, so I figure it might have been fun for her. Sharing general aviation with new people is one of the best things about being a pilot - I'm glad to have been able to do so again this evening!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 202.7 hours


  1. "Sharing general aviation with new people is one of the best things about being a pilot"

    I completely agree, Steve!

  2. Yup, I know I'm not the only guy flying with that sentiment!

  3. You are a great advocate for general aviation. No better way to protect the privilege to fly than the a one on one connection.

  4. By the pictures it looks like she enjoyed the flight. What better airport to intro one to what we love to do. Good post!