Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waving at balloons and other fun with Rob

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Partly cloudy, 59 degrees, wind 300 degrees at 3 knots

My best friend Rob made another journey down from Kalamazoo this week and - as always - we planned on some fun in the Cub. We also spent a lot of time watching and photographing the twenty B-25s in town for the 70th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. I'll have a post with photos and videos from that incredible event up sometime soon.

Tonight the weather was pretty decent - a tad cloudy but otherwise a nice evening to fly with good visibility. We took off and flew up towards the USAF Museum in hopes of seeing all the B-25s lined up on the runway. Unfortunately they had already moved them to the east end of the field in preparation for tomorrow's departure and flyover, which made them harder to see due to the airspace surrounding the field. It's inside Wright Patterson AFB's Class D that we had to remain clear of since the Cub has no radio.

On our way up there (right after takeoff, actually) we spotted a hot air balloon flying up around 2,500 or 3,000 feet. I always enjoy seeing them close by so I pointed the nose in that direction. One of the pilots from the local balloon companies has actually told me before that their passengers get a kick out of seeing us up close. We flew up level with them, remaining safely away, while I rocked the wings and Rob waved out the window. Everyone in the basket waved back at us and then we continued on our way. Sometimes the simple things are the most fun.

Watch us say hello while flying past a hot air balloon - yes, they waved back :-)

Once we had realized the photo opportunities near the USAF Museum would be lacking, we decided to head back down towards Stewart for some fun. I climbed up to around 5,000 feet then we tossed a roll of toilet paper out the side and sliced through it about five times as it slowly fell towards the ground. It really is too much fun... so we climbed back up and went after a second roll. Rob made a couple good passes at the controls and hit the streaming paper - very good work for his first time! On my final pass, I came in high so I pulled the throttle to idle and used a massive forward slip to catch it with our left wing. Not going to lie, I was quite impressed with my work on that one. As always, we took the proper precautions to ensure safety during all of this.

Rob wanted to do a little more fun stuff so I made a few steep turns (hit my wake on the first one, which is always a treat!) and made a steep spiral down to get to pattern altitude before heading back to the airport. I made three landings in order to help extend my tailwheel currency. The last two were power-off 180 landings; I landed too long on the first but the second was great with a touchdown about 50 feet past my aiming point. All in all, another fun day of aviating in a Piper Cub!

Today's Flight: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 213.0 hours


  1. That DOES look like fun - even with the legal disclaimer. :-)

    1. Oh it is, trust me! If you ever get down this way I'll make sure you get to give it a whirl.

      You just never know who reads these things, so I always put that at the end.

    2. I'm eying a trip in your general direction for later this year...

      I think you should have that disclaimer fashioned into a placard and pasted onto the instrument panel of the Cub. :-) And you're right, you never know who is reading things. I tracked site traffic more closely on my old website and used to see hits there from the FAA and DHS from time to time.

    3. Awesome - let me know if and when you decide to head out this way!

  2. Sounds incredibly fun! If I was in the hot air balloon, I would love to see a Cub fly by. I've only flown in one once and loved it. Now I'm doing my PPL training in a Sport Cub and having a blast.

    1. Sounds great - what a great way to learn to fly.

      Where I fly (Stewart) everyone flies either a Cub or Champ up through first solo. You really learn to use the rudder correctly from the beginning that way!