Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two years later

Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Few clouds, 82 degrees, wind 140 degrees at 3 knots

Technically it's two years plus three days later since events conspired to prevent me from flying on my actual birthday this past Thursday. The forecast of sunny skies quickly proved itself wrong as it started drizzling by the time I got off work. I was also quite exhausted (jet lag, as I had returned from the UK less then 24 hours prior) and, in hindsight, calling it no-go based on the F in the IMSAFE checklist was a wise decision.

Continuing the spirit of last year's post, in the past 365 368 days I have:
It's always amazing how everything adds up when you take a look at the big picture.

Even though I was quite pissed off about having to cancel my annual birthday flight (I try and fly in the 85 hp Cub every May 20th since my first lesson at Stewart was in that exact plane on my birthday in 2008) I was happy to be able to take to the air a couple days late. With weather that unmistakeably screamed "summer's here!" there was no better place to be than in the Cub with the door wide open. Gina rode along and we had our usual great time watching everything underneath the bright yellow wings.

Enjoying ourselves in the timeless Cub

The wind was almost totally calm but the warm, rising air made for a slightly bumpy ride at 2,000 feet. I departed the pattern with my standard right turn to the north. Gina wanted some photos of a church she had found online - we're still deciding where to have the wedding - so I circled around while looking for it. There was some confusion about which road it was on as I made some gentle turns north of Waynesville. Once I realized she meant it was in town I headed back that direction and made a large circle so she could take the pictures.

Waynesville United Methodist Church

Another shot of the church from a different angle

I wanted to enjoy some low and slow time so I turned out towards the north end of Caesar Creek Lake. It took about five minutes to get there and then I turned back south and lazily followed the curving lake, knowing the air would be nice and smooth over the water. We passed over a ton of boats out enjoying the warm afternoon and flew over the beach where everyone appeared to be working on their tans.

Turning out over Caesar Creek Lake

Just a perfect day for flying - and boating!

Plenty of people were sprawled out on the beach at the State Park

As we crossed over the dam at the end of the lake, I headed out over some empty farmland and descended slightly as we watched the trees and fields pass underneath us. I hate to be repetitive but there's just something magical about a Cub on a warm summer day with the door wide open. After a minute of that I climbed up to 3,000 feet and made two steep turns - neither of which were perfect but I think they were within PTS limits. At this point we had been lazily cruising along for over 45 minutes and I turned back towards Stewart in order to get in a few takeoffs and landings. I always like to get in at least three when flying a taildragger to ensure my passenger-carrying currency is extended.

Open to the air while skimming over the trees

Quite a few gliders were up this afternoon

Crossing the Little Miami River Valley on our way back to Stewart

The first landing was pretty good but I came in slightly fast and touched down longer than I would have liked. On our second approach things got interesting as the Stearman and Champ were in the pattern ahead of me (all of us landing Runway 26 - it's the preferred calm/light wind runway) when I saw the Pawnee (that had been towing gliders) circle in and land on Runway 8. Things can always be a bit unconventional at Stewart (gliders and tow planes generally land on the taxiway north of the runway) but this seemed to confuse everyone as the Champ broke off from short final in a right-hand turn and the Stearman also turned away. I was on base and decided to hang a right and get the heck out of the pattern until they all sorted things out.

Looking at Stewart over top of Holly Hills Golf Club

Turning base for Runway 26

Once it appeared the Champ and Stearman were going to stick with Runway 26 I made a mid-field crosswind entry and proceeded to land behind both of them. Again, it was serviceable and perfectly safe but I also know I can do much better. My third and final takeoff was great but the landing was roughly on par with number two - turns out my first was the best of the afternoon. Needless to say, I've already scheduled the Cub for a couple hours on Tuesday after work to go knock the rest of the rust off in the pattern.

Taxiing past the Stearman - they'd been practicing wing walking

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.4 hours
Total Time: 149.2 hours

No comments:

Post a Comment