Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buzzing around with the boss and family

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: 40I-MGY-40I
Weather: Clear, 78 degrees, wind 160 degrees at 3 knots

One flight that I've been trying to schedule for a couple years now is a sightseeing jaunt with Russ, my boss, and his kids. After checking the forecast yesterday and realizing tonight's weather would be near-perfect, I asked Russ if they were available. They were, so we finally were going to get to go flying.

I'd hoped to fly us all down to Cincy Lunken for dinner at the Sky Galley but the 172 wasn't available until 7:00 pm. No worries, we'd just do the usual sightseeing tour instead. Russ and Jake are avid golfers, so they requested that I fly over some nearby courses. After that, I figured I'd just point the nose at whatever they wanted to see. One of those little joys about flying airplanes.

Since it was still kind of warm out, I elected to fly over to Wright Brothers and meet them. Better to have 5,000 feet of concrete in front of me than 2,900 feet of grass... at least that's how my mind works, regardless of what the book says. Plus, they live right around the corner from MGY (as do I) so it was just a short drive from their house to meet me there.

It was just about 7:15 pm when I landed and taxied to the ramp and they walked out of the building just after I hopped out of the airplane. Talk about great timing. Everyone climbed aboard, I explained the seatbelts and door operation, and started her back up. Jon was quite interested in all the flying stuff so I explained the dual ignition system as I went through the runup. Nobody was in the pattern and I departed on Runway 20 via short field technique.

Jake sure was ready to go flying

Explaining the magneto check to Jon during the runup

Our shadow just after takeoff from Wright Brothers

China Cottage in Springboro, just south of MGY

After takeoff, we flew south and passed over Springboro High school. Lots of hot air balloons were flying and they enjoyed seeing those from the air as I slowly turned west and then north. We crossed over Moraine Airpark (I73) and then turned east, circling around NCR Country Club a couple times so Russ could take a bunch of photos.

That's near where Dayton's airspace starts and not too far from WPAFB so I held altitude at 2,200 to 2,300 feet to remain in the clear. I flew us further east, pointing out the USAF Museum and WPAFB before we passed over Kettering and the Research Park where our office is located. That was about two minutes from NCR by air - sure beats the 15 minutes it takes by car!

NCR Country Club

Research Park - our office is in the foreground

Kodak office - this be where I work!

The Greene - one of my common sightseeing points of interest

Looking west along Dorothy Lane in Kettering

Hot air balloon just south of Greene County Airport

Once we were east of town and clear of all the airspace, I climbed up to 2,500 feet and let Jon take the controls. He had a blast flying the plane and did a really good job coordinating rudder with ailerons once I explained why we do that and what all the controls do. He flew us over Centerville High School where the marching band was practicing and then over towards their house. I took the controls back and flew a couple semi-steep turn around their house.

Jon took to the controls like a natural

Centerville High School - the marching band was busy practicing

I think everyone enjoys seeing their house from the air!

You sure couldn't beat the scenery tonight

Jon took the controls back and I had him fly a couple headings to get us over Caesar Creek Lake. He was asking some questions about learning to fly and (after I explained it's the hardest part for most students) landing. After explaining how the controls get mushier at slower speeds I figured what the heck and put us into flow flight to show him what I meant. I slowed down, added flaps, and eventually had to add quite a bit of power to maintain 60 mph and stay level. Nothing like a quick illustration of the backside of the power curve.

Describing slow flight, if I recall correctly

Looking for traffic like a good pilot should :-)

Close to entering the pattern as the sun started to set

The sun was close to the horizon at this point, so it was time to head back and land. They all said they like roller coasters so I put us into a steep spiral to lose 1,000 feet and get down to pattern altitude. That elicited three grins (four if you count mine) and a bunch of good comments. Phew, my not-having-to-clean-up-the-airplane streak is still intact.

Winds were basically calm and the traffic in the pattern was using Runway 8. I hate landing into the sun (it basically points straight down the runway at Stewart) so that was much appreciated. I set the plane down pretty softly but we hit a couple good divots just as we touched. As I said to them, "that's the difference between concrete and grass!"

Turning from downwind to base at Stewart

Turning final for Runway 8 at Stewart

Short final - I really like this shot (thanks for the photos, Russ!)

Even shorter final, this time focused inside the cockpit

Attaching the tiedown ropes while explaining something

Jake seemed to enjoy the left seat

Glad to see both brothers enjoyed the flight

Another photo to add to my wall of folks I've flown

We were treated to a beautiful sunset

I hate to repeat myself and I know I just said this a month ago, but sharing general aviation with new people is one of the best things about being a pilot. They all had a great time and we couldn't have ordered up better weather. Jon sure seems to want to learn to fly and hopefully I can take him up in the Cub soon so he can see that side of things. Of course, then he'll probably be completely hooked. I should start getting a commission... ;-)

(Thanks to Russ for taking all the photos that I've included in this post!) 

Today's Flight: 1.3 hours
Total Time: 206.4 hours


  1. So, you picked them up at Wright Bros., but dropped them off Stewart? Nice...

    That's one way to recoup your costs without needing a Commercial: charging them for the ride back to their car. Genius!

  2. Yeah, I suppose I did leave that little detail out of the post!

    And yeah, that'll be a free flight and $25 taxi fee, plus a $225 fuel surcharge... ha, I wish. ;-)

  3. Looks like a great night. I really liked the shots of the hot air balloon and the marching band practicing. Nice, crisp images - you had some great light.

    Must have been something in the air last night, I was doing the exact same thing (flying coworkers).

  4. Very nice. What a concept - flying to fly, without a destination!

  5. Chris - yeah, the lighting was awesome. Russ' nice camera and lenses helped, too!

    Mike - you should try it sometime!

  6. Ooo! Looks like the marching band formed an angel! Sounds like a memorable flight, especially for your passengers!

  7. Looks like a good time had by all!

  8. Flying with passengers who take good photos - win win. Have you noticed that we pilots always want to get those around us hooked on aviation? Your post was the perfect flight - sharing and looking and no specific destination. Just follow the prop.fa

  9. Nice information! I'm really enjoying reading your blog here, and I'm looking forward to more!