Monday, April 21, 2014

Door open, low and slow

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: High overcast, 73 degrees, wind 240 degrees at 3 knots

Summer is here. Or, if we want to be technical, it's certainly right around the corner. To me, it's summer anytime I can fly the J-3 with the door hanging open!

I put out a request on Facebook this afternoon after I booked the plane, hoping that someone would want to occupy the front seat. My friend Mike called dibs and met me down at Stewart. It's been a while since we last flew together - August 2010 in the Cub, in fact.

Low and slow with the door open - how a Cub is meant to be flown!

He's taken lots of lessons and soloed but life's gotten in the way so he hasn't finished his Private yet. I did my part this evening - he said he had the itch back by the time we landed! Hopefully he can finish up and pass his checkride just as soon as he's able to start taking lessons again.

Since he's well-versed in Cub operations, I had him on the controls in the cockpit while I hand-propped the 85 hp Continental. After a couple blades "off and closed" the engine roared to life on the second blade after I yelled, "contact!" I walked around the wing and strapped myself into the back seat.

We flew a leisurely, scenic route... north of the airport, then east over Caesar Creek Lake. I think I spotted a few folks in boats down below waving to us; I rocked the wings to return the hello. Then I made a low approach at the gliderport, enjoying the always-gorgeous view of the rolling landscape dropping out below us as we climbed out west.

I re-entered the pattern at Stewart about 20 minutes after we took off. Throttle at 1500 RPM, I backed it off slowly as we crossed the power lines and touched down extremely softly on the grass, just past the displaced threshold. Total greaser, which Mike confirmed. I really felt like one with the airplane tonight and, to top it off, I was able to get a friend back in the sky.

Felt like a summer evening, indeed.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.5 hours
Total Time: 305.5 hours


  1. * Ahhh... *
    That's my sigh of contentment after reading this. I could almost feel the warm breeze on my face. It's been a long winter and a long time coming.

  2. Summer IS just around the corner! Good to get your friend back in the air and enjoy a nice flight. I was waiting to see the TP cutting exercise.....maybe next flight.

  3. Yeah, I'm overdue for some fun with TP... looks like I haven't had such fun since last July!

    Cubs with the doors open are pure flying, plain and simple. Chris - you've gotta get down here so you can experience Stewart firsthand. Gary knows what I'm talkin' about.

    1. It really is on my list, believe me! I still long for those warm Mochigan summers and flying in the Stearman along the shore of Lake Michigan. Those memories are nine years old, but still very vivid.

    2. Yeah, that's the one thing I miss living down here... Lake Michigan is such a spectacular place. If only more people knew how beautiful it is!