Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Scattered clouds, 82 degrees, wind 210 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 14
I've reached the Wooden anniversary of my first flight at Stewart! I suppose it's fitting that I'm flying a plane that (used to have) a wooden spar, huh? The big Cub actually got new, all-metal wings last summer. Last year's birthday flight was literally the plane's last before it broke. Wasn't my fault, thankfully! Regardless, this is the plane I flew on my first Cub/tailwheel flight in 2008.
Highlights from the past year's aerial tomfoolery:
- Flying a bit more frequently (51 hours in the past 365 days!)
- Having the Stearman pull up on our wing in the Cub last July
- Landing at Blue Ash before it was too late
- A weekend trip to MI with visits to both my childhood airports and a great view of Detroit
- Making a couple more Pilots N Paws trips with pilot friend Mike
- Lots of solid practice of the basic private and commercial maneuvers
- Getting hit with a laser for the first time (not fun per se, but certainly interesting!)
- A bit of formation flying with friends - which never gets old
- Annual view of the fall colors that only pilots get to enjoy
- Cub on skis!
- Logging some cross-country time visiting friends and with friends
- Celebrating our first anniversary with a Cub flight
- Having the honor of flying formation over a memorial service last weekend
You'd be hard-pressed to determine if this photo is from 2013 or 1943...
Back to tonight, Gina and I trekked down to Stewart after work for the 2013 edition of my annual birthday flight. It was a bit windy but that wasn't going to keep us on the ground. After a few minutes spent getting the engine turning (the 85 hp Cub can be temperamental; hand-propping is sometimes more art than science!) we took to the humid skies around 7:00.
We flew south and circled around King's Island for a couple minutes. Cathy mentioned on Sunday that Cub would be performing down there tonight and they said I should fly over. Not sure if they saw me - guess I'll find out next time I see them!
88 miles over the ground in 1.5 on the Hobbs - not bad by Cub standards
Once we turned back towards the lake, our groundspeed rapidly increased with the now-tailwind and I climbed up to 5,000 feet. I attempted to fly backwards like I was successful in doing a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, it wasn't windy enough tonight - we only got down to about 20 mph. I did a couple stalls and a brief falling leaf, then we dropped some toilet paper (requisite disclaimer here) and had some fun slicing and dicing with the wings.
I headed west and eventually we flew over a coworker's neighborhood. For the first time in years (I literally fly over his house like every third time I'm up; it's only a couple miles from Stewart) he was actually outside, mowing! I did a couple steep, descending turns and saw him waving up at us. We made one final pass from north to south as I rocked the wings vigorously to return the hello. Air-to-ground communication success!
My first landing attempt resulted in a go-around. It was salvageable but I overcompensated for the wind and tuned base-to-final too soon, coming in a tad fast. Full power, around we went, and the next attempt was just perfect - a nice smooth touchdown even with the crosswind. History suggests I should quit while ahead. So of course I didn't. Landing number two wasn't terrible by any stretch, but where the first was a solid 8 the second was more like a 5. On the Richter scale.
The view as we climbed into my car to head home - never gets old
Final mediocre landing aside, it was still a perfect birthday flight. Flying around with the door open was extremely refreshing on this muggy, almost-summer evening. Stewart's just the kind of place where everything else melts away into pure, vintage aviation goodness.
Here's to the next five years.
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 267.1 hours