Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cousins, a tiny runway, and a short repositioning hop

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: OZW-45G-Y47
Weather: Clear, 72 degrees, wind 270 degrees at 3 knots

After a fun day with the family at the Henry Ford Museum (the location of our airplane-themed wedding reception nine months ago) it was time to move the airplane. Tonight we're staying with Gina's parents so it made sense to move the plane closer. It's only about 20 miles but hey, part of the fun of flying is the convenience of all the small airports in this great country!

There was one fun thing to do before making that move, though... take my two cousins for their first small airplane ride. I didn't have an opportunity to take them up when we flew to Akron a few years ago; we had to head straight home after visiting my grandma to land before dark. We didn't have a ton of time tonight but with over an hour of daylight remaining there was time enough to take to the sky.

I explained a couple basic things, went over a safety briefing, got them strapped in, and we taxied out to the runway. They gave me the "we're ready" thumbs-up and I smoothly advanced the throttle. Before long we were flying about 1,000 or 1,500 feet above the beautiful Michigan lakes and trees.

The entire flight with the cousins, most playing at 5x actual speed

It's a bit weird for me to take people on a "first flight" somewhere other than Stewart. I've developed somewhat of a standard sightseeing route at home, filled with interesting places to see from the air. Here I was as much of a newbie to the scenery passing below the wings as my passengers. We all enjoyed the view, which was great thanks to the lowering sun that added a wonderful dimension to the shadows and terrain below.

My cousin RosaLia snapped this during our short sightseeing flight

After about 20 minutes enjoying the sights I re-entered the pattern and prepared to land. We touched down relatively smoothly and I taxied back to the small terminal where my dad, sister, and two aunts were waiting. Both of my cousins, RosaLia and John, said they really enjoyed the flight. Regular readers know how much I love introducing people to general aviation so that's always my favorite outcome. If I'm keeping track correctly, that makes 25 people now that I've been fortunate enough to take up for the first time.

Sightseeing, passing through, and our final destination - Google Earth style

Gina and I said our goodbyes and hopped back into the 172. The destination was New Hudson, an airport I first landed at back in 2009 when we visited the area overnight before continuing on to Put-In-Bay. However, in yesterday's spirit of checking childhood airports off my "flown-to" list, I decided we had to stop at Brighton Airport on the way. We would be passing almost directly overhead and it's another place I used to sit with friends, watching airplanes for hours on end.

Taxiing out to depart on our very short repositioning flight

I do believe this is me waving the wings just after takeoff

It's only about 10 miles from OZW to 45G so I was halfway there by the time we leveled off at pattern altitude. I called that we would be crossing midfield to enter a left downwind for Runway 22. Due to the relatively short and narrow runway, I set up for a semi-short field landing. I was a tad high on short final but idle power, combined with all 40 degrees of flaps in the old 172, would drop us in quickly.

The sink was a little much but I was slightly distracted by the very narrow runway. It wasn't a dangerous situation at all but I should've arrested the sink with about 50-100 more RPM in the flare. I remember it being a cozy place, but man... it sure didn't look like I'd be able to land more than a foot off either side of the centerline! We touched down firmly and I could finally relax and enjoy the fact that I'd landed at my other childhood airport. With tall trees at the end of the runway, followed by a water tower not much further along, I was quite glad I didn't even consider a touch-and-go. But that runway... did I mention it was narrow? Seriously - 24 feet! That beats out the narrowest one I'd landed on before (at 15G) by 13 feet, or about 50%. Whew, good times. :)

We taxied up the narrow taxiway, passing all the houses with attached hangars. Man, I'd forgotten what an awesome place it must be to live. Another plane was inbound a few miles away as I held the brakes, applied full throttle, and shortly thereafter leapt off the runway with a short field takeoff. Such a fun and challenging little airport. I'll definitely return again some day!

Our very brief but enjoyable visit to Brighton Airport's tiny runway

The next hop was about as quick as the first. We followed I-96 east for a couple miles, then I turned south to enter a left downwind for Runway 26 at New Hudson. The airport's surrounded by tall trees on all sides so the threshold is seriously displaced - about 850 feet for us and 1,250 feet in the other direction. I opted for another short field landing, bringing in all 40 degrees of flaps for a power-on approach at about 70 knots. We touched down just past the threshold and turned off onto the taxiway about 1,000 feet down the runway. By the time we were tied down and unloaded, Gina's parents had pulled up to drive us home for the night.

Our little Michigan adventure continues...

Flight Tracks: Sightseeing | Repositioning
Today's Flight: 1.0 hours
Total Time: 231.5 hours


  1. Man, that is one narrow runway! We have one near my home airport (Campbell, C81) with 40 foot wide runways that gives me the willies. I keep thinking I ought to go up there and take a few laps.

    I empathize with dropping it in. I do that sometimes at least in the 172.

    1. Yeah, it doesn't leave much room for error. Must be a great place to dial in your crosswind landings!