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


  1. Steve -

    What a great set of photos, just really outstanding! Such a beautiful day you had.

    Thanks also for taking some time out of your busy schedule to hang out while you were in town. It was great to see you again.

    1. Yep, it was gorgeous. Perfect Cub weather.

      I'm certainly glad we got to say hello as well. There will always be some time on my schedule to grab a beer or two with a fellow former Kalamazooian!

  2. Wow nice story Steve. Makes me wanna do the same!

  3. Looks like a great flight! Awesome shots, thanks for sharing.

  4. I love to fly my wife's J-3 Cub on these great summer days!

    Excellent photographs including the air to air with the Fly Baby too.

    Hope you wore a good pair of aviator sunglasses to keep your eyes safe.

  5. Neat shots...I've passed them on to the Fly Baby gang on Facebook!

    1. Awesome - glad you enjoyed the photos!