Friday, July 25, 2014

Quick flight before a flight

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: High overcast, 74 degrees, wind 300 degrees at 5 knots

This has been a bit of a down year for my flying. It's funny, really, in that it doesn't particularly feel like I haven't flown much. Then I look at my logbook (and see just under 10 hours) and the calendar (and see it's the end of July) and wonder where all the time has gone!

I was looking at said logbook the other day and realized that my tailwheel currency was about to expire. Occasional winter break aside, it's been years since that was a concern! Fortunately, I was able to take a few minutes (literally - only at Stewart can you get current in 0.3 on the Hobbs) this evening for some laps around the pattern.

Never a bad way to start a vacation

Gina and I are on our way to Washington, DC for a weekend getaway. So we swung by the airport for a brief Cub flight before heading to the other, slightly larger airport for a brief CRJ-900 flight to DCA. I knew I could quickly knock out three takeoffs and landings, thereby extending my currency for another 90 days.

I hopped in, Emerson gave me a prop, and I made a normal takeoff. The first landing was of the normal variety and quite smooth. Then I made a short field takeoff and came back around for a short field landing, dropping into a forward slip just as soon as I crossed the power lines at the end of the runway; I rolled out in under 500 feet. I made the final takeoff and returned with a power-off 180, touching down about 10 feet past my aiming point.

Landings (bottom to top) - short field, normal, power-off 180

All my takeoffs were just decent while the landings were quite good. That's a bit of a departure from the "good takeoffs and bad landings" situation many pilots often find themselves in, especially student pilots. I'll have to put an emphasis on takeoffs next time I hop in the Cub.

A little aviating is always good for the soul and tonight was no exception. Off to DC!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.3 hours
Total Time: 309.8 hours

Friday, July 4, 2014

Formation with the Fly Baby (and fireworks!) on the Fourth

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, wind 330 degrees at 4 knots

June sure turned out to be a busy month; I was out of town for eighteen of its thirty days! Mostly work, some fun. In the end, there wasn't any time to fly.

July is beginning on a better note as I had this entire week off. My sister came down to visit yesterday and - after some coordination with friends - we all decided to head to the airport this evening. Tommy would be there and already had plans to take the Fly Baby up for a spin. Well, not literally. As far as I know.

We arrived around 8pm and I checked the plane over. All was well like usual so I topped off the gigantic 12 gallon tank and Tommy gave me a prop. Lauren (mi hermana) was up front with my camera. Thanks to her for all the photos that follow.

Soon after, we were rolling down the very green grass. Tommy was closing on our right wing before we had cleared the departure end of the runway. The air was nearly calm and smooth as butter, visibility unlimited, and the lighting perfect.

I'll just let you enjoy the series of photos without any additional comments...

With me as lead, we flew a gentle arc north of the airport and then turned back towards Stewart. I spotted what looked like balloons off to the west. Looking at the photos on my computer after the fact, it seems I actually saw skydivers over MWO. I'd venture a guess that they were the start of Middletown's fireworks show since one appears to have a large flag attached.

Crossing midfield, I turned downwind then base to final. Tommy held his position and we zoomed over the runway to say hello to our significant others and other friends on the ground. I pulled up and broke off, heading towards the lake for a little sightseeing with the little sister.

A large group of skydivers near Middletown

I love this shot of the Cub's strut against the setting sun

Tommy in trail as we made a low pass over Stewart

It truly was a perfect evening to fly

Caesar Creek Lake - I seriously love the lighting in this shot

One final glance at the orange orb before it crossed the horizon

I climbed to 3,000 feet as we flew over the lake. Level, I made a few steep turns in each direction then did a bit more crankin' and bankin' for good measure. I pulled the power to idle, did a couple power-off stalls, then banked into a steep spiral and quickly descended back to pattern altitude. Lauren's a willing sport and she was having a blast, though I probably should've given more warning before the stalls. I thought we had done those before. Whoops.

[insert mean big brother comment here]

The sun was hovering just above the horizon as I entered the pattern from the south and came around to land on Runway 8. I held in a little power and landed intentionally long, the wheels touching back down on the grass in one of those oh-so-soft, perfect three-pointers. Really! I've had some good luck in the landing department with the Cub this year.

Everything packed up, we drove across the field towards where the pond used to be. Beer and pizza and many fireworks ensued with friends. I'd say we knocked this year's celebration of freedom out of the park. Happy Fourth!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.6 hours
Total Time: 309.5 hours