Weather: Clear, 41 degrees, wind 200 degrees at 7 knots
Gina drove up to Michigan tonight for some last-minute wedding preparations and I was blessed with some beautiful fall CAVU weather. With the end of Daylight Savings Time there aren't many non-weekend opportunities to fly anymore so I jumped on this one. I left work a little early and drove down to Stewart to get in a little flying. Given all the things we have to do (and the aforementioned early darkness) next week this is going to end up being my final flight before our wedding next weekend.
It was almost three months ago that I took my boss and his kids flying in the 172 so I had to take the ol' Skyhawk up tonight just to maintain my 90-day currency in the airplane. Someone else was finishing up flying it when I arrived at the airport. Perfect for me since that would give me a warm, easy-to-start engine. A thorough preflight indicated that she still had a solid 18 gallons (two hours) of fuel, plenty for the hour I had left before sunset.
I figured some solid surface takeoff and landing practice would be a good way to spend my time, so I took off and flew the short seven miles to Lebanon-Warren County Airport. The pattern wasn't too busy - a helicopter based there landed and departed and one of the 150s from Stewart was also there practicing. I made three takeoffs and landings (one being touch-and-go, another a simulated engine-out) to help knock the rust off.
Well look at that - I can still fly circles around churches!
After that, I headed back to Stewart and stopped partway there to practice a couple turns around a point. The strong winds from the south made for great conditions for ground reference maneuvers. I flew them around a church I've used for similar practice in the past. They were ever-so-slightly egg-shaped but I'm pretty happy with them... especially considering it has been almost eight months since I last practiced TAPs.
So there you go - my days as a single aviator have come to a close. From here on out I might have to take a cue from Gary and start referring to Gina as my Bride! The best thing is she enjoys flying and has even taken a few lessons on her own over the past couple of years. I'm looking forward to many, many years of flying trips throughout our new life together... and even introducing our kids to airplanes one day!
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.7 hours
Total Time: 209.5 hours