Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cruising home and crossing 100 hours in the Skyhawk

Plane: Cessna 172 
Route: OZW-40I 
Weather - OZW: Broken clouds, 63 degrees, wind 180 degrees at 11 knots
Weather - 40I: Clear, 63 degrees, wind calm

After a couple more days in Michigan tending to some family business, it was time to head home. I originally thought we might be able to head home yesterday but low clouds hung around longer than originally forecast. But things finally improved today and by lunchtime the forecasts made it clear we could safely fly home mid-afternoon.

My dad's neighbor very kindly drove us to the airport. She's never flown in a small airplane and was curious; I showed her around and answered her questions while doing my preflight. I owe her a flight! I settled the fuel bill at the FBO (making a phone call to have your tanks topped off with 100LL never gets old!) and we said goodbye. We had to back-taxi down the runway due to some paving activity on the taxiway. A few minutes later, we were airborne off Runway 13 and I waved the wings to say goodbye as we climbed straight out before turning south on course.

Proof that, while clearly rusty, I still know how to call FSS and give a PIREP!

A final pre-takeoff check of the METARs and TAFs enroute indicated broken clouds remained near home. So I leveled off at 2,500 feet and contacted Detroit Approach for flight following. About a half hour in, after a handoff to Toledo Approach, it became clear the weather was quickly changing. I pulled up the METARs again on my phone and, low and behold, everything ahead was in the clear. I told Toledo we were climbing and went on up to 6,500 feet. Once I leveled off, we'd gained 10-15 knots thanks to a slight tailwind. I even did my pilot's civic duty and called Cleveland Radio with a PIREP confirming the sudden clear skies near Findlay.

Everything smoothed out above the (former) cloud tops and we had a very comfortable remainder of the trip. We were making 115-125 knots across the ground and quickly ticked off the remaining miles. Columbus Approach stepped me down as we neared Dayton and I essentially maintained a constant descent all the way to pattern altitude. After a very minor deviation over Kettering so Gina could take a photo of the high school where she teaches, I entered the pattern at Stewart. We touched down softly on Runway 26 under clear blue skies.

Our full trip up and back, which consumed just under two calendar days

The trip home today also included a new logbook milestone. I crossed 100 hours in a single airframe for the first time! As of today, I have in 101.9 hours N2814L. We came quite close on the way up; when I shut down Monday night the Hobbs had me sitting at 99.9 hours. It used to seem certain that I'd first cross the milestone in N60338, but I just don't fly the 150 that often anymore. I'll likely check it off before too long, however, since I'm only 5.1 hours away in her.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 2.0 hours
Total Time: 321.4 hours

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