Sunday, May 5, 2013

Backwards flying, free plane washes, and a taco

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 59 degrees, wind 100 degrees at 8 knots, gusting to 14

Making up for our inability to go Cubbin' on Friday, I drove down to Stewart with Rob and Abby around 10:30 this morning. Gina was working so we obviously said hello once we arrived. It was still a bit windy, but blowing mostly down the runway. I made sure everything checked out and then I hopped in to take Abby on her first flight in the venerable J-3.

Video of Abby's first Cub flight - you can hear me explaining things a bit

We leapt off the ground into the wind and were quickly at pattern altitude. I leveled off and we flew down the valley, past the glider port, and eventually circled around King's Island. My usual sightseeing route, basically.

Rain showers were isolated all over the area - one of those views only a pilot can appreciate. They were easy to avoid as we climbed while heading back towards the lake. We made very slow progress. Due to the headwinds, we were heading east at about 40 MPH.

Eventually we were over the lake and I decided the conditions were perfect for a fun little pilot trick. We were going to try to fly backwards! Not literally, in the air, but across the ground. I slowed the plane, pointed the nose into the wind, and hung there on the edge of a stall (about 35 MPH on the airspeed indicator) while we stared down at the ground. I can't say we could tell from 5,000 feet up, but the GPS track confirmed it... we briefly went backwards!

I do believe the arrow shows where we briefly flew backwards

Such simple things are often such fun. I asked Abby if she wanted to see how a Cub stalls and then pulled the power to idle; we stalled nearly instantaneously and the nose gently dropped through the horizon. Then I went full-power and did a power-on stall. Again, the nose gently dipped and we kept on flying. I think she was surprised by just how tame stalls can be in a Cub.

After some streamer cutting - requisite disclaimer here, I headed back to Stewart and made a less-than-perfect-but-still-acceptable landing. She hopped out (and said she had a blast!) and Rob hopped in. Joe hand-propped the 85 hp Continental and we headed back into the sky.

I took Rob up for about 30 minutes to screw around like we usually do

We did much of the same, sans the sightseeing as Rob's been up with me numerous times. The rain showers had moved closer and we actually flew through one or two on our way out to the lake. A much-needed free plane wash! We leveled off, tried the fly backwards trick (I couldn't quite get it slow enough this time), and then dropped a roll of toilet paper for a little fun.

On our way back to Stewart, I quickly pushed the nose over a couple times for a little weightless flying. As I noted in the caption on the video above, we tend to just screw around and have fun. That's what little airplanes are for sometimes. Especially a Cub.

There was one final item on the to-do list. Gina got off work at 2:00 and I took her for a very quick lap around the pattern. It wasn't just any regular flight, though, as you can see below.

I certainly would've thought my teacher was awesome if she did this when I was in high school

So what the heck was that all about? Long story short, I've been helping her make video lessons to use in her high school cooking classes. It saves a lot of time/money by not having to demo each cooking lab for each class. At the end of one, she took a bite of the wrap she'd made and the students thought it was hilarious. Then she didn't sample the next one and the students were quite disappointed. Apparently they also requested a cameo since I'm always behind the camera.

I told her we might as well have a bit more fun with it. Or maybe I just figured out how to incorporate aviation into something like usual. No comment on that point. Regardless, I thought it would be fun to show her enjoying the taco in flight. Logically illogical enough to a pilot, right?

So that's what we did. It was literally 0.1 on the Hobbs from engine start to shutdown. But we captured the fun on video. Although I'm sure you'd love to learn how to make turkey tacos, I only uploaded the aviatin' to the interwebs. I heard the kids loved it. Hope you get a kick out of it, too.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.7 hours (over 3 flights)
Total Time: 265.0 hours


  1. And from that modest beginning, a successful in-flight catering business was born! :-)

    1. It's certainly makes for a much classier arrival than your average pizza delivery boy's 1999 Neon!