Sunday, September 1, 2013

To fly like a Young Eagle kids like

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Scattered clouds, 75 degrees, wind 240 degrees at 6 knots

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it's been over two years since my last Young Eagle flight. Not that I haven't taken any kids flying - I brought my cousins up in the 172 last summer, in fact. Still, it had been far too long and I'm glad I had the opportunity to fly two more this morning!

As part of the annual Labor Day Weekend airshow and fly-in at Stewart, the local EAA chapter coordinates Young Eagle flights once the pancake breakfast is dying down. I got to the airport around 10:00, preflighted the Cub, got a hand from Jamie to push it out between the mess of airplanes lining the runway, and taxied down to the fuel pumps to top the tank off.

My first passenger was Dawson, a local kid who lives just around the corner from the airport. He was excited for the flight and we chatted about the Cub for a couple minutes while I waited for someone to come over and prop us. He asked a few questions, which I answered, and I explained some of the very extensive instrumentation inside the J-3's cockpit.

Taking Dawson, my first Young Eagle of the day, flying

Engine running, I went through my pre-takeoff checks, explaining what I was doing. Then we took off and headed out over Caesar Creek Lake. He thought it was really interesting when I pointed out how you can see where a road is submerged underwater - it's the old alignment of Route 73 that was flooded when the Little Miami River was dammed to create the lake back in the 1970s.

Before long, we were back in the pattern, and I touched down softly on Runway 26. Dawson had a big smile on his face as he climbed out of the plane and I'm glad his first small airplane ride was such a great experience. Hopefully we inspired another future pilot in the making!

After filling out his logbook and saying our goodbyes I met my next passenger, Chaston. This wasn't his first flight - in fact, he's got me beat. He went on an aerobatic ride in the Citabria with Emerson a couple years ago! Still, he's a high school kid who hopes to become a pilot and make a career out of it. And he'd never flown in a Cub before. I was glad to do my part to help out!

Chaston is in high school and hopes to become a pilot

We talked about airplanes and aviation as I waited for takeoff; the pattern was packed all morning with fly-in guests, local traffic, and us Young Eagle guys. Climbing out into the morning air I noted how you can see the miles upon miles of straight dirt lines where the recently-installed pipeline now sits beneath the ground.

Heading towards the lake, Chaston spotted his neighborhood and house. He pointed it out to me and I circled around so he could get the full 360 degree view. Then we continued on to the lake before turning back towards Stewart.

Briefly chatting after Chaston had climbed on board

Pointing out some of that previously-mentioned extensive instrumentation

Engine started and ready for takeoff

Departing on Runway 26

I spotted skydivers and pointed them out to Chaston as we were approaching the airport. I think he got a kick out of seeing them from the air at our altitude. To stay out of their way, I flew a long upwind north of the runway then turned back.

We landed - twice (hey, we all bounce sometimes, right?) - back on the grass. Chaston waved hello to his parents, who were busy snapping photos, as we taxied back. Thanks to his mom, Sheraine, for letting me share a couple of those great photos on the blog!

Back on the ground after a great Cub flight!

I shut the engine down and we talked about his flying aspirations for a little bit. I pointed out to him and his mom that he's already old enough to solo a glider, should he want to go that route. I really hope he's able to pursue an aviation career! He was my second and final Young Eagle for the day, as our assortment of pilots knocked out all of today's free rides in short order.

P.S. Apologies to both Steve Miller Band and Yoda for the title of this post. I simply couldn't resist the urge... ;-)

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.7 hours
Total Time: 288.6 hours

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