Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 81 degrees, wind 110 degrees at 3 knots
Another year has come and gone as I sit here writing about my annual birthday flight. It's hard to believe that I've already been flying at Stewart for four years; it's still as great as it was the first time I set foot there in 2008. Today there was a new twist to the annual fun - my friend Mike went flying in the other Cub at the same time.
Before we get to that, however, this past year included:
- Flying a few more Pilots and Paws flights with Mike
- Learning a lot about weather flying during a trip to and from Syracuse
- Attending the final launch of the Space Shuttle
- Taking coworkers, friends, relatives, fellow bloggers, and future pilots on their first flights
- Spending a day at Oshkosh for my first-ever visit to Airventure
- Enjoying my first flight in a Stearman
- Getting married!
- Logging a new state, Hawaii, when I flew a 172 around Kauai
- Plenty of streamer cutting and other fun in the Cub
Even though my logbook only totaled 28 hours, it wasn't a bad year at all!
We both took off on Runway 8; I trailed Mike by about 30 seconds. I had chatted with him before we started the engines to come up with a plan for flying in loose formation. That's definitely not something you want to do on a whim while in the air without a radio. Gina and I were in the bigger Cub so we slowly gained on them and I eventually settled into position a few hundred feet behind him and to the right.
That's us as seen from Mike's J-3
Mike and Elizabeth in their J-3 (yes, the lens was zoomed in a bit!)
For the next few minutes, we snapped some photos of each other while climbing up over the lake. I broke off and re-joined as they got close to leveling off. I wanted to slide into position because I knew he would soon be dropping a roll of toilet paper out the window and we wanted to capture that on video. Gina did a great job with the camera but the memory card unfortunately was nearly full. Still, you can check out the very brief clip below.
After breaking off, we flew further east to give them plenty of room in the sky to have fun. I had our own roll of toilet paper (usual disclaimer here) and launched it out the side at about 5,500 feet. We sliced through it a few times on the way down. Interestingly, it bunched up in a very neat-looking pattern after I sliced part off of the main roll. It actually formed into a shape that looked almost like a model airplane at one point.
The airflow forced this streaming piece of toilet paper into a neat formation
I stopped the streamer cutting higher than usual so we had some extra altitude to play with. After a couple steep turns and sightseeing, I used a steep spiral over the center of the lake to lose those 1,500 feet in a matter of seconds. It might be an important commercial maneuver for emergencies but it's also a lot of fun!
Another successful birthday flight for the two of us
We entered the pattern on a 45 to the downwind and I added a touch of power to remain in ground effect for an intentional long landing. The wheels touched ever-so-gently in a perfect three-pointer. That's two-for-two in my last two flights. A fitting birthday present, for sure! :)
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 215.7 hours