Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adjusting my Weight & Balance - Month 7

Two years ago today, I married my wonderful bride. Gina still puts up with - and participates in, without too much chagrin - my love of flying. She's quite the keeper. Love you babe!

Two years ago today, I was married to another, much less positive data point - my weight. It was nearly 40 lbs more than my scale reported this morning. I'm happy to have left that behind.

I'm now down over 30 lbs since April and weigh <5 lbs more than my all-time low, which was back in the summer of 2005 when I interned in Texas. That summer, I basically did nothing but work out (and also was not yet a consumer of good beer and wine...) and came home in tip-top shape. The next seven years consisted of a gradual but steady increase until I got my ass back in gear this spring.

So it's been a success. I've even started running over the past month. And I hate running. Come to discover, however, that losing 40 lbs puts a bit less strain on your legs! Biking is mostly out of the equation for the next few months since it's dark by the time I get home from work. So that leaves running - which is surprisingly not a bad cardio option - for the time being.

I've achieved the goal of "an hour of fuel" in weight loss in multiple aircraft. I can honestly say I have now gained an hour's worth via increased payload in the Champ, Cub, and 150. Don't think I can - or should - lose another 10 lbs to add the 172 to the list, though!

There aren't too many other numbers to update since last month. I know my waist and body fat are slightly smaller/less but I honestly haven't measured them in a while. It's an extremely hectic month between work, homework, and travel/holidays so that will have to wait a little longer.

As for flying, the aforementioned full plate hasn't left much time for airplanes. Plus we've reached the annual few months of long nights and short days; unless I leave work early or take a vacation day, weekends are really the only time I can fly. So it might be a little while before I make it down to Stewart again. Still, I'm hoping to hit 300 hours by December 31st...

P.S. For those of you who like to pick nits, yes, I realize my all-time low was many, many years ago. But I'm just counting my adult life, not my hefty <6 lbs at birth. ;-)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stick time, foliage, and a little formation with the Stearman

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Broken clouds, 46 degrees, wind 040 degrees at 5 knots

It's been a busy fall. Somehow, in between yardwork, regular work, school work, and other flights I hadn't flown the Cub in nearly two months! Gina was working at Stewart this morning and emailed to say a hole in the schedule opened up. It worked out perfectly - I was able to make some laps around the pattern (passengers love circling the airport) while she finished up work, then she hopped into the front seat for our first flight together since August.

Oh, and I flew a little formation with the Stearman in between. Read on, friends.

Yellow Cub. Green grass. Blue sky. What pilot needs anything more?

Takeoff and landing practice was the first order of business. I ended up making four laps - three for landings. The first landing was great, then I lined up for a short field takeoff and was quickly in the air in between the 200-foot span of a set of cones. Not sure what happened with the second landing but I flared a tad too soon, bounced, didn't like how it was feeling, and poured on the throttle. Go arounds are (generally) always an option!

After two more successful laps around, I pulled off and saw Dave standing next to the runway. He's a coworker, pilot, and owns a nice little Porterfield. We ran into each other in the office before I went out to do my preflight and he told me a friend (Verlin, another coworker, it turns out) was there for a Stearman ride. We made plans with Joe to try and fly up alongside them later if we had time. So, to cut to the chase, Dave climbed into the front seat and we were soon on an aerial hunt for a blue and yellow PT-17.

Approaching the Stearman from the right

Opposite view at about the same moment looking at us in the Cub

As you can see, we were quite successful! Dave spotted the Stearman shortly after takeoff and I slowly brought us into position over the Little Miami River. I waved my wings at Joe, he rocked the Stearman's back, and I pulled in off his right wing.

Sliding into the lead...

Looking back at us again

After a minute or so, I slid into the lead. Then I waved my wings again to signal I was going to break off and I turned east. We followed the Stearman back to Stewart, entering a left downwind for Runway 26 and touching down quite softly on the grass. Thanks to Dave and Verlin for the photos - or, more accurately, the videos they were each recording; I took screen captures and those are what you see here.

Breaking off to the east

Dave wiggled his way out and Gina climbed in. We spent about five seconds deciding we'd just fly around and enjoy the view. I handed her my phone so she could take photos of the colorful foliage. All the photos in the remainder of the post are her handiwork!

Trees changing near the intersection of OH-73 and OH-48

A particularly colorful neighborhood

The trees lining this driveway stood out from miles away

A wider angle of the aforementioned colorful neighborhood

More fall colors along OH-73 near Waynesville

It's been an interesting fall color-wise. Compared to last year, everything seems more muted. There hasn't been a particularly clear-cut change, either. All the trees have been gradually morphing from green to orange to brown on their own accord.

That's not to say there aren't pretty pockets here and there. We enjoyed the views and spotted some very colorful groupings. I'm really glad we squeezed in our annual color flight before it was too late.

Trees on the eastern shoreline of Caesar Creek Lake

Another colorful patch in Caesar Creek State Park

I meandered back towards Stewart and again entered the pattern from the south. We spotted a Pawnee towing a glider, climbing out of the gliderport as we flew past; I waved our wings to say hello. Touching down on the soft grass, I felt completely back at home in the Cub's back seat. Nothing like a little practice, some formation, and good views from the low and slow perch to fill one's aviation bucket for the day!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.2 hours
Total Time: 295.2 hours