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

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