Weather - 40I: Scattered clouds, 60 degrees, wind 300 degrees at 8 knots
Weather - BAK: Scattered clouds, 62 degrees, wind 330 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 15
Not that I'm complaining, as we've had quite the cross-things-off-the-bucket-list year, but Gina and I haven't hopped into an airplane to fly somewhere and share a meal in a long time. January 1st, specifically. And if you're not counting that annual local breakfast tradition or fly-in BBQs it's been something like three years. Yikes! I certainly don't know where all that time went.
Back home in Dayton - briefly, at least - I'm doing everything I can to take advantage of some seriously spectacular fall weather. I've often said that September and October are the finest flying to be had in these parts and 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best since I was finishing up my PPL back in 2008. Gina had to work at the airport this afternoon so I booked the 172 for a morning brunch flight. I first ventured to Columbus, IN just over two years ago with my sister and her boyfriend and thought today was a great time for a return trip with my better half.
It was a beautiful day to fly!
Piloting - I do still like our new Halo headsets
Passing just south of Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport (MGY)
Climbing above the clouds enroute to Indiana
We departed to the west, foregoing flight following for a change and tracking slightly north of a direct course to remain clear of Cincinnati's Class B airspace. One of the skydive planes out of Middletown was ascending into their drop zone; I spotted him as we climbed around some of the scattered clouds on our way to our initial cruise altitude of 4,500 feet.
A small cemetery tucked in amongst farmland in Palestine, IN
Approaching Brookville Reservoir
About halfway there the clouds started to inch higher so we descended to remain clear. They were scattered enough that I could have climbed above but I didn't feel it was worth it to slow down to climb 2,000 or 4,000 feet only to have to descend again in less than 50 miles. So we endured the light bumps as we scooted towards Columbus Municipal Airport.
Now down level at about 3,000 feet to stay below the clouds
Lake Santee in Decatur County, IN
Downtown Indianapolis from about 40 miles away
As we approached BAK's Class D airspace and I went to call the tower, my push-to-talk (PTT) switch suddenly decided not to cooperate. For a brief second, I thought we may have to turn back for home - I actually started to turn south to remain clear of the airspace when the PTT suddenly came back to life and I was able to make my radio call. Normally I carry a handheld radio in case of such issues, but I temporarily loaned it to a friend. Go figure.
Comfortably in contact with the controller, I was cleared to land behind a Piper Meridian. He was on a long straight-in final to Runway 23 so I turned right for a very short downwind before turning base and final to follow him in. We touched down softly in gusty, direct crosswinds and taxied to the ramp.
Our trusty 172 on the ramp upon arrival at BAK
They've been remodeling the terminal - new signage and everything!
I love the old look of the control tower in Columbus
It really was a beautiful fall afternoon - bright, white, fluffy clouds set against a brilliant blue sky. We enjoyed the view of the ramp and the local traffic while waiting for our food. A USMC C-130 landed and picked up a group of Marines who entered and grabbed a quick meal (copious quantities of cheese fries, if you're curious) while we were there.
I had a rather healthy meal myself; a Skyhawk Pie - sausage, green peppers, onions and cheese covered in sausage gravy over potatoes with two basted eggs on top. Being Sunday, I almost went for their one-day-a-week fried chicken special, but the breakfast foods won out this time. Gina had slightly better self-control and enjoyed a similar layered feast with many more veggies, sans meat. It's definitely diner fare but I still really enjoy the menu at Blackerby's Hangar 5. You should consider a flight to BAK if you're in search of a $100 hamburger destination.
Cruising home from brunch
Sparse cloud cover between Columbus and Dayton
One of the more wooded sections of SE Indiana
Passing over Brookville Reservoir again, now with no cloud cover
We departed around 1pm into a still-gusty crosswind. The clouds had cleared considerably since the outbound leg and the return was a little smoother. I deviated slightly north partway home in order to snap a photo of Oxford and Miami University.
The campus of Miami University in Oxford, OH
Nearly back to Stewart after a nice Sunday flight with the wife
Approaching Stewart, I entered the pattern from the SW on a 45 degree entry to a left downwind for Runway 26. The airport was hopping like one would expect on such a nice day; I think we sequenced in between a taildragger or two of some sort. We crossed the treeline on the east side of the field, set down softly on the green grass, and taxied back to the tiedown.
All in all, this was certainly not the worst way to spend a splendid Sunday!
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 2.1 hours
Total Time: 335.6 hours