Friday, September 18, 2009

Low and slow with the door hanging open

Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 76 degrees, wind variable at 6 knots

I hadn't planned on flying today but I found myself already tempted to head to Stewart before I even arrived at the office this morning. By the time 4:00 rolled around and it was still one of those "why am I on the ground?" days, I packed up, called the airport to snag the plane, and headed down for some time in the Cub.

It was also a great excuse to try out the RAM Mount that I just purchased, which screws into the tripod threads on a camera. The mount then attaches to the yoke adapter that came with my Lowrance 600c GPS and I'm able secure it to the Cub's metal tube frame. A picture would probably make a lot more sense than what I just wrote - I'll work on that.

A short clip with highlights from this evening's flight

Since I didn't have tons of time (we play volleyball with some friends on Fridays and I had to be home by 6:30 or so) I elected to remain in the pattern. It's never a bad thing to spend time practicing takeoffs and landings, after all. The winds were quite shifty, generally almost straight out of the North but occasionally coming out of the Northeast. However, traffic at Stewart was using Runway 26 the whole time so that's what I used. That meant there was occasionally a slight tailwind component on landings, which isn't a big deal when you're flying a Cub that stalls at 35 mph and you have 3,000 feet of grass in front of you. Nonetheless, it resulted in a slightly higher groundspeed than I'm used to and I think that may have thrown me off on a couple landings.

I discovered that Stewart had installed a new airspeed indicator in the plane. Again, it's a Cub, so most of the time I'm flying by feel anyway and therefore was surprised when I looked up and saw 60 mph on climbout. The wings were in the right place in relation to the horizon and everything felt right, but that was too fast. I quickly realized it was a new instrument and it must be accurate, as the old one always read 10 mph slow. Once I made that mental note everything else fell into place as far as making sense of what the airspeed indicator was - uh, well - indicating.

After one takeoff I flew a couple miles to the North and descended to about 500 feet above the ground while overflying some empty fields and a riverbed. You can't beat low and slow in a Cub with the door hanging wide open - good times. Aside from that, it was just basic pattern work for the evening. I made one really good landing and the rest were so-so. My main issue was in the flare; things just weren't as smooth and fluent as I aim for. They also need to tighten a piece on the tailwheel assembly as it's a tad loose and that resulted in a good deal of shimmy upon landing. What I'm really looking forward to is going up with Dave tomorrow... the plan is to knock out a bunch of maneuvers for practice along with some good old-fashioned fun in the J-3.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.9 hours
Total Time: 130.0 hours


  1. Flying how it was meant to be....good stuff!

  2. Excellent! Looks like a great little Cub.

  3. Yup, 1946 J-3, 85 hp upgrade. Love it. Can't wait to buy my own some day!