Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fun with a tire and a brand-new flier

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 68 degrees, wind 070 degrees at 5 knots

I've been meaning to take Jessica, a friend and former coworker of mine, flying for a while now. The weather was so gorgeous this evening (and has been all week!) that I simply couldn't stay on the ground. I called Stewart to see if any Cubs were available and sent her a text message to see if she was free. Both were and she was, so we had a post-dinner plan.

We hopped into the first Cub (Why am I saying first, you ask? Read on...) and strapped in, CFI Joe propped her to life, and I started taxiing. Very quickly I realized something didn't feel right; at first I thought Jessica may have had her heels on the brakes. But no, that wasn't the problem and I needed way too many RPMs to move. I looked at the tires and - sure enough - discovered the culprit. I pulled back towards the hangar and shut down. Out came CFI Joe with some air and we filled the left tire back up.

It didn't appear as though any air was leaking, so we gave it a second go. Engine propped, off we went. I taxied to the end of Runway 8 (about a half mile) and the tire looked good as I stopped for my pre-takeoff checks. Once those were finished, I added in some power to check for traffic and... we weren't going anywhere. Obviously this was a serious leak. I shut down again and saw a golf cart heading across the grass in our direction. We caught a ride back to the hangar with Joe and, thankfully, the second Cub was available.

After a quick pre-flight, we once again got situated and Joe brought the engine to life. I taxied back down the end of the runway, past the large yellow lawn ornament we just left as a decoration. Everything checked out (even the tires!) so off we flew into the wonderful evening air. Third time's the charm, right?

Our not-so-trusty steed

Needless to say, it needed more than an air compressor

Jessica and her husband Adam recently bought some property near the airport; I circled overhead so she could snap a few aerial photos of their lot. We then took a bit of a scenic tour of the area. I flew out over Caesar Creek Lake and we saw a few boats out in the water. Then I followed the Little Miami River and valley down to I-71.

She was up for a little fun so I climbed up to 4,500 feet to give us some room to maneuver. I let her take the controls for a couple minutes and she flew straight and level and made a couple shallow turns. Then I showed her a steep turn, which she said was fun. Even hit our wake while rolling out - always a nice confirmation of holding altitude.

I asked and she said she wanted to try some streamer cutting so I obliged. We made a couple passes before she decided it wasn't her favorite thing in the world. I immediately leveled out and flew back towards Stewart.

Very colorful evening light and shadows casting over a neighborhood

Public beach at Caesar Creek State Park

A boat made a 180 degree turn, causing this cool wake vortex

To help keep things smooth and stable, I made a very gradual descent to pattern altitude. I added in a couple hundred extra RPMs on short final so we could intentionally land long. The wheels all touched together in what was one of my smoothest three-point landings in a long time. 

The sun was close to setting when we entered the pattern

Short final for Runway 8 at Red Stewart Airfield

Even though she streamer cutting got to her a little bit, she said she had a great time. She really enjoyed the steep turns; we'll stick to those in the future if she wants more excitement than straight and level. I notched my first "first flight" of the year; I always enjoy introducing people to general aviation. Hopefully I have many more opportunities to do so in the coming months!

Our roughly 40-minute flight, color-coded according to altitude

It's always fun to see flights through the eye of your passengers - thanks to Jessica for taking all the great photos in this post.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 214.9 hours


  1. Nice pictures! I really have to start using the camera and leave the iPhone in my flight bag.

    Fun flight for a first timer! I haven't had anyone new to fly in ages, I need to work on that.

    1. Yeah she had her Nikon dSLR with her - and the Cub with the door open is pretty much an ideal platform for avoiding all the usual photos-from-inside-an-airplane pitfalls.