Friday, August 29, 2014

Red Stewart Airshow + EAA Fly-In this weekend!

It's that time of year again - Labor Day weekend means it's time for Red Stewart Airfield's annual airshow. The show is FREE for everyone and includes numerous aerobatic performances by local pilots. Check out the Dayton Daily News' article for more details.

On Sunday, the local EAA chapter will have a fly-in / pancake breakfast from 7-11. Afterwards, they'll be giving free Young Eagle rides for children; I'll be flying kids in the 150 myself. If you're in the area, definitely consider heading down to Waynesville for a bunch of fun this weekend!

Like usual, I'll be at the airport pretty much the entire weekend. Get in touch if you'll be at Stewart and want to say hello!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summertime safety piloting

Plane: Cessna 182 RG
Route: MGY, Local 
Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, wind 300 degrees at 4 knots

This summer has felt and looked a lot more like fall. That trend continued today with extremely comfortable temperatures and great visibility; I'm pretty sure you could see 50-60 miles from a couple thousand feet above the ground. Mike needed to shoot some approaches and we originally planned to fly tomorrow morning. However, we'll both be busy biking the Tour de Dayton, so we pushed our original plans up and went flying tonight after work.

Flying over my office in the Miami Valley Research Park

Kettering Fairmont High School, where Gina teaches

We took off from Wright Brothers around 6:00 and headed north. Mike made a teardrop entry into the approach for Runway 23 at Middletown. There were skydivers in the pattern as usual (there's a very busy skydive outfit at MWO) and I kept them in sight as Mike flew under the hood. He went missed at decision height and I told him to climb slowly at first - there were still open parachutes nearly directly above us.

Soon we were again level at about 3,000 feet and lined up for an approach to Runway 33 at RID. Mike had already knocked off a bit of the rust and this one was quite stable. I took some photos of the lush, green farmland surrounding the airport as we shot down final. The pattern remained completely empty as we again went missed and pointed the nose back towards Dayton.

Great Miami River and one of the bike trails I regularly ride

Long final for Runway 33 at Richmond Municipal Airport

Everything is seriously green out here right now!

Shadows cast across a golf course near Richmond, IN

A blimp was flying over Mason, OH (I believe for the Western & Southern Open, a tennis tournament) that lined right up with our initial approach fix; we flew directly at it and it slowly grew in size as we got closer. About five balloons had been getting ready for takeoff when we took off from Wright Brothers (what I assume to be) some of them were visible on the horizon.

That's a hot air balloon about a mile off the right wing

Short final for Runway 2 at Wright Brothers

Two or three other planes called in on the CTAF as we flew the approach to Runway 2, which is roughly 10 miles straight in. Everyone had landed by the time we were on short final and Mike touched down softly a little past the numbers. All told, we spent about an hour in the sky. He's now current and, for me, the view was certainly worth it!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours (SIC)
Total Time: 312.3 hours

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Touch and go, then fly back home

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: MGY-40I
Weather: High overcast, 67 degrees, wind calm

Sometimes flights just aren't that interesting - but flying's still flying, which means it's beats most everything else one could be doing! That pretty much describes this morning. I had to return the plane to Stewart after yesterday's night currency flight and threw in a couple extra laps around the pattern for good measure.

Since I actually don't do touch and goes very often, I opted for two on my way out of Wright Brothers. Everything went smoothly and I was reminded why I always see students practicing them there - they sure save a lot of time over taxiing back for takeoff! Recall that I'm spoiled at Stewart; it's totally feasible to complete a full-stop trip around the pattern in 0.1 on the Hobbs.

I headed east and was soon entering an empty pattern. Crossing midfield I could still see some mist in the Little Miami River valley. I turned downwind and extended so I could practice a short field landing. By the time I was stabilized on final all 40 degrees of flaps were hanging in the wind and I was maintaining about 55 knots. Crossing the trees and power lines, I pulled the throttle to idle, touched down on the soft morning grass, and rolled out in about 1,000 feet.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.5 hours
Total Time: 311.5 hours

Friday, August 1, 2014

Current past sunset once again

Plane: Cub, 85 hp / Cessna 172 
Route: 40I, Local / 40I-MGY / MGY, Local
Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, wind calm

Gina was working at the airport tonight so I took advantage of our more-convenient-than-usual transportation situation. As I've mentioned before, night flight at Stewart is more complicated than at most airports since it's an unlit grass strip. So it's always nice to be able to simplify the logistics of shuffling cars, airplanes, and people between airports!

Before grabbing the Cessna and heading over to Wright Brothers, however, I hopped in the Cub for a few laps around the pattern. You may recall my less than stellar self-evaluation of my takeoffs last week. Well, I'm glad to be able to report that all were much improved this evening.

Tonight I intentionally used more forward stick in the initial takeoff roll; that held the mains on the runway longer and alleviated the bouncing. My final landing was a power-off 180 in a full slip from downwind all the way around to about 50 feet off the ground, followed by a soft touchdown.

Laps around the pattern at both Stewart and Wright Brothers

I pushed the Cub back in the hangar, hopped in the 172, and taxied over to the fuel pump to top off the tanks. A family was sitting on the benches; turns out they live nearby and the dad and his young son (he said he was five) walked over and asked to look into the cockpit while I pumped the 100LL. I told them about the upcoming annual airshow later this month and we talked for a couple minutes. Gotta do one's part to promote GA and our local airports whenever possible!

The sun was now below the horizon. After my final pre-takeoff checks, I turned onto Runway 26 and was soon on a 45 to a left downwind for Runway 20 at MGY. I touched down softly, taxied over to the ramp, and shut down. Gina, who pulled out of Stewart a few minutes before my takeoff, pulled up in her car about five minutes after I walked out in front of the FBO. We headed across the street to Graeter's for ice cream while I waited for the darkness to fully set in.

With the FAA's one hour past sunset requirement met, I did my third preflight in under two hours and had the engine turning again around 10:00 pm. I made my requisite three laps around the pattern; all the takeoffs were super smooth and the landings were quite good as well. My second approach involved a slight overshoot of final but a gentle turn straightened things out well before touchdown; the final landing was just a tad flat.

Altogether, I'm now about as current as a pilot can be. Tailwheel day and night for another 90 days, which covers nearly every flying scenario I'm legally allowed to initiate. It's been a relatively slow year for me in the left/back seat... but I'm making the most of the time I've spent there!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flights: 0.3 hours (Cub) / 0.9 hours (172)
Total Time: 311.0 hours