Sunday, July 14, 2013

Breakfast in Columbus (the other one)

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: MGY-BAK-40I
Weather- MGY: Clear, 81 degrees, wind 150 degrees at 6 knots
Weather - BAK: Few clouds, 84 degrees, wind 140 degrees at 7 knots
Weather - 40I: Broken clouds, 85 degrees, wind 160 degrees at 8 knots

If last night was about the "let's have fun in an airplane" side of general aviation, today was more of a "yes, there is some practicality in it!" demonstration. I decided to finally make the often-considered but haven't-yet-attempted flight to a new $100 pancake destination: Blackerby's Hangar 5 in Columbus, IN. The restaurant gets rave reviews from pilots and locals alike. Best of all, instead of a two-plus hour drive, it's only a 45 minute flight.

Today's two takeoffs and landings plus a bit of ATC chatter

My sister, her boyfriend, and I all drove over to Wright Brothers around 10:00. Gina wasn't feeling great this morning so she unfortunately had to pass on the flight. The three of us climbed into 2814L and soon I had us at the end of Runway 20, ready for takeoff. A minute later we were climbing out at a good clip, 500 to 700 feet per minute, in mostly smooth air.

Heading west after takeoff from Wright Brothers

Although I nearly always call for flight following on cross-country flights, I didn't do so this morning. No real reason - it was just nice to fly along VFR and we were occasionally chatting as I pointed out things on the ground and Lauren took some photos. We were level at 4,500 feet under nearly clear skies. I never did see more than an airplane or two.

Passing over Oxford, OH and Miami University's main campus

Greensburg Municipal Airport - a solo cross country destination five years ago!

Base to final for Runway 14 at Columbus Municipal Airport

Columbus Municipal Airport (BAK) doesn't have an ATIS; I tuned in the AWOS and called the tower about 10 miles out, descending, and said I had the weather. The controller told me to report a left downwind for Runway 14. As I'd spotted the airport roughly five miles prior, I already had a mental picture of my approach.

Until I got about three miles out, saw a plane lift off from Runway 14, and realized I was setting up to enter a left downwind for Runway 5. Sheesh! This isn't the first time I've made such a mistake in the cockpit. Although I've caught it well in time on both occasions I still need to do a better job staring at the airport diagram when I'm dealing with multiple crossing runways!

Fortunately, I was still in a perfectly good position when I caught the error - I made a gentle turn to the left, then banked right and was on the left downwind for Runway 14 as instructed. I called the controller and was cleared to land. We touched down, turned off on the first taxiway, and shut down on the ramp.

The food most certainly did not disappoint

The meal was excellent. All those reviewers on Adventure Pilot, Yelp, Urbanspoon, and TripAdvisor certainly don't lie - Hangar 5 cooks a mean breakfast. We actually had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated when we arrived. I don't think I've ever had to wait for a seat on a $100 hamburger flight before!

I had the Skyhawk Pie - sausage, green peppers, onions and cheese covered in sausage gravy. Healthy? Oh heck no. But it sure was delicious. Besides, I flew there in a Skyhawk, so I had to order it... right?

Lauren and Scott enjoyed their meals as well. Prices were very reasonable (check out their menu) and the service was relatively quick once we were seated. We spent about an hour on the ground in total and were back in the air a little past 12:30.

Heading east with full stomachs shortly after takeoff

There were far more clouds on the way home!

As the tailwinds were (slightly) more favorable the higher we went, I climbed up to 5,500 feet and leveled off. Within 10 minutes it became obvious that the clouds were starting to get a bit closer together. I dialed up the AWOS at Wright Brothers and it was reporting a ceiling of broken clouds somewhere between 4,500 and 5,500 feet.

The skies had been almost totally clear on the way there; less then two hours later, they were quickly filling with clouds. Nothing like a hot, humid summer afternoon to condense moisture into white puffy things! I immediately started descending down to 3,500 feet. It would be bumpier, but I wouldn't be forced to try and find a hole closer to home.

I wondered about my decision for a while - the skies remained scattered for the next 30 or 40 miles - but soon enough I knew I'd made the right choice. Looking up as we descended towards Stewart, the clouds were definitely broken. There were a few holes but I'm quite sure it wouldn't have been fun to find the right one from above.

Brookville Lake - a nice visual checkpoint near the Ohio/Indiana border

Coming in from the west, I angled slightly north of the field, then turned southwest to enter the pattern on the 45 for Runway 8. There was a glider off our left wing as I pulled the power abeam the numbers. He popped his spoilers and landed on the north taxiway as I was turning final. Like usual, I landed intentionally long over the hump and we were soon parked on the concrete pads, engine off, hopping out of the 172.

All three of us really enjoyed breakfast and the flight. We pilots all know how much fun a $100 hamburger - or pancake, in this case - can be. It's always fun to take others along for the ride!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 2.2 hours
Total Time: 278.3 hours


  1. Steve,

    Excellent post! Some of my favorite flights have been brunch/dinner runs. There's something to be said about replacing the weight you burn in avgas... ;)

    1. Thanks - I agree, it's one of the best things about flying!

  2. Sounds like a fun trip and nothing beats great eats!