Friday, October 22, 2010

Crankin' and bankin'

Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 61 degrees, wind 250 degrees at 5 knots

This was a short, simple flight - sometimes the kind that's the most fun. I was staring out the window all day at work at yet another October afternoon of wonderful CAVU conditions. That means I have to go flying if a plane's available, of course. The big Cub was open so Gina and I headed to Stewart at about 5:15 and CFI Dave hand-propped the 85 horse Continental to send us on our way.

I love the cool fall air - we were already at 1,500 feet by the end of the runway and I departed to the south. The climb up to about 4,000 feet was rather quick and we enjoyed the view even though most of the colorful leaves have already fallen to the ground. Gina's never done a wingover (I did them with Dave last year) so I asked if she'd like to do a few. Apprehensive until I explained them, she agreed and I did a couple after the requisite clearing turns.

I must note here that what I call wingovers aren't aerobatic maneuvers. Instead, it's a gentle pitch down to build airspeed followed by a pull up to an attitude less than what you'd usually see during power-on stall practice. The engine torque rotates the wing over so that the plane banks and descends without any additional control input. So, in summary, it's a non-aerobatic maneuver that does not require a parachute per FAR 91.307.

Next up was something I've long heard about but haven't ever done on my own - streamer cutting. I climbed back up to over 4,000 feet, cleared the area of traffic, flew over the lake and tossed about a quarter roll of toilet paper out the window. It quickly unfurled and I spotted it as I flew past and made a 180 to head back. I got close on the first pass but the streamer was still about 50 feet to the left of the airplane. After another pass to get in better position I pointed the nose at the streamer and split it into two pieces with the left wing... success!

Again, a note about the legality of such things since I am posting this publicly. FAR 91.15 states that the regulation "does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property." We were over a large lake, toilet paper is lightweight and highly biodegradable, and I stopped when we were above 1,500 feet AGL. Based on this, all precautions were taken and the streamer cutting shown in this video was completely safe and legal.

That was a whole bunch of fun and I've got to recommend it as long as you take all precautions, follow all regulations, and fly the airplane safely within its envelope. Sorry for all the legal rambling above but I don't want anything I post here to be misconstrued since I am posting it online. I had Gina take the controls briefly and she flew us into the pattern, then I took back over and brought us around to land. The setting sun was directly in my eyes on final but I still managed a perfect three-point landing, touching down just as I pulled the stick all the way back. Maybe a little luck was involved, but I'm not complaining!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.5 hours
Total Time: 180.3 hours


  1. Ahhh...the need for legalease. Along the lines of anything you say will be used against you, especially online.

    Sounds like FUN!! I have never tried that, maybe one of these days. Besides, it sure can't hurt the flying skills, we always need the practice.

  2. Yeah it's always been my policy to be completely open and honest about my flying adventures on here. Even though I've never broken an FAR (to my knowledge!) that means I need to put out the occasional disclaimer.

    Oh, and it is tons of fun - you should try the streamer thing sometime. :)

  3. Sounds like fun...where's the video for this one? :)

  4. You'll have to look forward to that in the future - this was a trial run!

  5. Haha that's great. The little joys in life. :)

  6. ^ Something tells me this isn't a good idea for your first airplane ride with me whenever we get around to that...

  7. I am amazed at how much u get done in the air with such little hobbs time! This one (stream cutting) is a gr8 idea... Now if I could only figure out how to open the window on my Cirrus in flight ;-)

  8. "I am amazed at how much u get done in the air with such little hobbs time!"

    ^ There are some serious advantages to grass strips at times! The lack of any true taxiways (i.e. I can turn off the runway anywhere I want) and nearby areas for maneuvering are definitely two of them.