Monday, May 20, 2013

Five years later

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Scattered clouds, 82 degrees, wind 210 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 14

I've reached the Wooden anniversary of my first flight at Stewart! I suppose it's fitting that I'm flying a plane that (used to have) a wooden spar, huh? The big Cub actually got new, all-metal wings last summer. Last year's birthday flight was literally the plane's last before it broke. Wasn't my fault, thankfully! Regardless, this is the plane I flew on my first Cub/tailwheel flight in 2008.

Prior Years: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Highlights from the past year's aerial tomfoolery:
In hindsight, I really packed in quite a bit. I'm slacking horribly on my IR studies, though!

You'd be hard-pressed to determine if this photo is from 2013 or 1943...

Back to tonight, Gina and I trekked down to Stewart after work for the 2013 edition of my annual birthday flight. It was a bit windy but that wasn't going to keep us on the ground. After a few minutes spent getting the engine turning (the 85 hp Cub can be temperamental; hand-propping is sometimes more art than science!) we took to the humid skies around 7:00.

We flew south and circled around King's Island for a couple minutes. Cathy mentioned on Sunday that Cub would be performing down there tonight and they said I should fly over. Not sure if they saw me - guess I'll find out next time I see them!

88 miles over the ground in 1.5 on the Hobbs - not bad by Cub standards

Once we turned back towards the lake, our groundspeed rapidly increased with the now-tailwind and I climbed up to 5,000 feet. I attempted to fly backwards like I was successful in doing a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, it wasn't windy enough tonight - we only got down to about 20 mph. I did a couple stalls and a brief falling leaf, then we dropped some toilet paper (requisite disclaimer here) and had some fun slicing and dicing with the wings.

I headed west and eventually we flew over a coworker's neighborhood. For the first time in years (I literally fly over his house like every third time I'm up; it's only a couple miles from Stewart) he was actually outside, mowing! I did a couple steep, descending turns and saw him waving up at us. We made one final pass from north to south as I rocked the wings vigorously to return the hello. Air-to-ground communication success!

My first landing attempt resulted in a go-around. It was salvageable but I overcompensated for the wind and tuned base-to-final too soon, coming in a tad fast. Full power, around we went, and the next attempt was just perfect - a nice smooth touchdown even with the crosswind. History suggests I should quit while ahead. So of course I didn't. Landing number two wasn't terrible by any stretch, but where the first was a solid 8 the second was more like a 5. On the Richter scale.

The view as we climbed into my car to head home - never gets old

Final mediocre landing aside, it was still a perfect birthday flight. Flying around with the door open was extremely refreshing on this muggy, almost-summer evening. Stewart's just the kind of place where everything else melts away into pure, vintage aviation goodness.

Here's to the next five years.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 267.1 hours


  1. A perfect birthday! Happy Birthday my friend, thanks for sharing your flight.

  2. Happy birthday, Steve! I hope the air was as beautifully calm for you last night as it was for me.

    Is it just me, or does "dropped some toilet paper" sound like some kind of euphemism? Hmm. Probably just me.

    "I'm slacking horribly on my IR studies, though!" I'm proof positive that that's really easy to do. I'm sure you already know this, but once you get going with the flying part, keep pushing until you're done. Don't take a six month break in the middle like I, unfortunately, had to do (stupid real life getting in the way, *grumble, grumble*).

    1. Yeah, it's been more of a need-to-wait-to-spend-the-money thing thus far. That's why I haven't started any of the flying... ideally, I hope to avoid that break.

      I can see how drop the TP sounds funny! :)

    2. Sounds like a good plan. And there's plenty o' book learnin' to do in the meantime.

  3. "You'd be hard-pressed to determine if this photo is from 2013 or 1943..."

    Challenge accepted. ;) How about 1959 or 2013? The Pawnee....

    Congrats on your accomplishments. I really enjoy following along.

    1. Gah - I knew someone was gonna notice that... and thanks! :)

  4. Happy Birthday (Belated) What a great post and wonderful idea. I hope you'll keep this up until your 100th year.