Friday, February 28, 2014

Ending the week with a hop back into the saddle

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 34 degrees, wind 150 degrees at 7 knots

We've been luckier than many of our northern friends down here in Ohio; nearly all our snow has melted away. That still hasn't led directly to much flying. In fact, it's prevented it! The warmth resulted in mushy ground and puddles on the runway last weekend, closing the airport.

But today turned out to be perfect.

It's been hovering around freezing so the ground is solid again. The sky was clear and a 7 knot crosswind provided great conditions for hopping back behind the stick. I drove down after work, pulled the Cub out of the hangar, topped off the tanks, and taxied down to the end of Runway 8.

Doing my runup just before takeoff

With only my (lighter) self in the back seat, the 85 hp Continental had me quickly climbing into the evening sky. I was at 1,500 feet before I crossed the opposite end of the runway. I made three initial trips around the pattern to test out my stick and rudder skills.

Since the crosswind was off to my right I held in a bit of right aileron on final every time, touching down on the right main. The ground's a bit bumpy this time of year but every landing was good, if not completely smooth. I felt great after the third - gradually pulling back on the stick back, I ran out of elevator just as the mains touched down. Total greaser.

Only a few patches of snow are still visible

Everything felt in order so I headed off towards the lake. It turned out to be an awesome sight. For perhaps the first time in the nearly six years I've been flying at Stewart, it's almost completely frozen. That's what an extremely cold winter will do for you!

Approaching Caesar Creek Lake

Totally frozen around the dam

Looking east over the west end of the lake

Some ice was starting to break up along the shoreline

One more eastward view from this beautiful, CAVU day

You could probably walk to all the islands this winter!

More ice near the campground on the east side of the state park

Anyone familiar with my flying probably knows I tend to prefer more practice than what you get in the traffic pattern. Especially after a prolonged break. So I climbed up to 3,500 or 4,000 feet after my sightseeing run around the lake and got to work on it.

I only spent a few minutes but I ran through a bunch of maneuvers - Dutch Rolls, steep turns, power-on and power-off stalls. All felt good, other than gaining altitude on my steep turns to the right. I think I did those three times until I was satisfied. Normally I'd end with a steep spiral down to lose altitude but it was quite chilly up there! So I just screwed around for a couple more minutes to descend without shock cooling the engine.

Yankin' and bankin' is often best done solo. Gina's always a fun (and willing!) passenger but it's not something I do with most people. But today, up there all by myself, I enjoyed a few minutes of fun. Just me and the airplane, one with the controls, you know... pilot stuff.

Looking east towards Waynesville (and a little more remaining snow)

The sun was getting lower in the sky - and dragging the temperature down with it - so I turned back towards the airport after flying west of Waynesville. I entered the pattern and reduced the power to idle, setting up for a simulated engine-out landing. As I tend to do, I planned to land long to avoid a long taxi.

I rolled over to the right and put in left rudder to the stop. Holding the control inputs, I turned from downwind to final while in a healthy forward slip, rolling out just above the runway. I planted the wheels back on the turf, taxied between the hangars, shut down that Continental, and pushed N98286 back where I found her.

Truly the perfect way to start the weekend!

Daylight Savings Time starts next week, so you all know what that means...

Prime flying season is almost here again! :)

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.0 hours
Total Time: 302.0 hours

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A visit to Sweden's Aeroseum

I've been saving these for a good time - namely, the middle of winter when there's no flying.

You'll have to forgive my month-plus blogging hiatus. Between some very long hours at work and this year's arctic weather, Cubbin' (or Cessnain') has been difficult, to say the least. It actually warmed up this week but now the field's too soft. The joys of being based out of a grass strip!

So, back to the topic of this post. I traveled to Sweden on business last June. Since I was there a couple weeks, I had some time to myself and took the opportunity to travel up to Gothenburg. While scanning for things to do I discovered they have an aviation museum. You can probably imagine I didn't think twice about embarking on such a weekend excursion.

The Aeroseum is pretty unique. You see, it's housed in a formerly top-secret, nuclear-bomb-proof underground bunker; it was only declassified in 2003. I think it goes without saying that's a pretty awesome backstory.  So, I hopped a train up to Gothenburg, caught a bus to the airport, and walked the final kilometer up a winding road to reach the museum's entrance.

It did not disappoint.

There isn't much to see from the entrance near the bus stop...

...although a Saab J-35 Draken does greet visitors

Further down the road, the actual entrance appears

Entrance fee paid, you walk down into the side of the hill

Looking out, the taxiway exits up towards the airfield

Thick concrete blast doors let you know this is a serious bunker

Stepping inside, the underground taxiway begins a gradual descent

Saab 91A Safir - a three-seat, single engine trainer

J29F "Flying Barrel", built by Saab

Saab J35J Draken, the first Swedish-built aircraft to exceed Mach 1 in level flight

Saab AJSH 37 Viggen, equipped with a camera pod for maritime surveillance

The Viggen's rear end

The tunnel could be sectioned off with fire doors/curtains in an emergency

HKP2 Alouette II (right) and HKP 3C Agusta Bell 204B "Huey" (left)

"Nose" art on the HKP 3C helicopter

Saab 99 equipped to measure runway friction

The fifth wheel was used for braking action reports

Saab J35J Draken and a Reims Cessna F337G Skymaster

Turntable on the floor to turn aircraft so they could be rolled into servicing bays

Saab J35J Draken Cockpit

Saab J35J Draken Cockpit

Saab J35J Draken Cockpit

Ejection seats

Map of the museum and the tunnel network

Saab J32E Lansen (the "sports" model with an afterburner)

They had numerous simulators you could fly while seated in a real cockpit

HKP4 Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, built in Japan by Kawasaki

You could see the blasted rock walls in spots throughout the bunker

de Haviland DH.60 Gill Moth Major, a 1920s touring and training aircraft

Focke-Wulf Fw-44J Stieglitz, used by the Swedish Air Force as a trainer

Looking down one of the long tunnels towards the restoration area

The Gothenburg Veteran Flying Association stores and maintains their aircraft in the tunnels

I mean, what's not to like?

Anyone with the good sense to have a Cub gets an A+ in my book!

Another project aircraft in the GVFA area of the bunker

As you can see, all types of aeronautical toys are stored 100 feet underground

A radar on display

Saab AJSH 37 Viggen Cockpit

Saab AJSH 37 Viggen Cockpit

Saab AJSH 37 Viggen Cockpit

Walking back up towards ground level on my way out of the museum

Talk about an absolutely unique experience. Although the collection of aircraft might not be vast (I do live near the USAF Museum, after all) the Aeroseum is still 100% worth a visit. How often do you get to go inside a (formerly) secret Cold War nuclear bunker and look at airplanes?

The staff were also very friendly and helpful - and spoke English! The museum wasn't too busy the Sunday I visited but I'm not sure if that's the norm; it's a bit of a trip to visit on a regular basis. I should also note that the price was quite reasonable - 100 SEK (about $15 USD) for an adult admission. I highly recommend AeroResource's great article about the museum if you're interested in learning more about its history.

Regarding the photos - apologies for the graininess present in many of them. I brought my smaller, non-DSLR camera with me on the trip since it travels better. However, it also doesn't have nearly the same low-light performance.

I had a few more hours in town after visiting the museum. Gothenburg is a beautiful city and I walked around, taking in as many sights as possible. I also grabbed a bite to eat, a seriously delicious lunch - give Moon Thai a shot if you're ever there.

Vasa Church (Vasakyrkan) 

Storgatan (High Street), where I had lunch

Walking along the canal that encircles the city center

Gothenburg Central Station (Göteborgs centralstation)

Trädgårdsföreningen (Garden Society of Gothenburg) 

Canal and lock next to the train station

As for the present, I haven't flown since New Year's Day. There really haven't been more than a couple opportunities since then. I'm hoping to get back into the groove a bit; Daylight Savings starts back up in only a couple weeks, so that always helps.

Until then, I hope this post provides a bit of aviation amusement!