Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Flying a few friends in the Cub

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Overcast, 37 degrees, wind 290 degrees at 8 knots

Two of our friends, Stephanie and Stuart, drove down to visit today. Gina was one of Stephanie's bridesmaids and the converse was true for our wedding three years ago. We don't get to see them very often, since they live in Texas now (though we actually flew down to visit over Labor Day weekend).

I had to work but managed to leave a little early and met them all down at Stewart. We had been hoping to all fly together but the 172 was booked, so we decided Cub rides were the next best thing. By the way, in this pilot's opinion, Cub rides are the best thing, but I digress.

Stuart elected to go first (or maybe Stephanie just told him that's what was going down, I'm not sure - marriage and all that) so he hopped in front after I explained the contortions required to board a Cub. The engine was totally cold and it took a while to get it turning - thanks to Ed for having more patience than I do when it comes to hand-propping. Once the oil temperature reached a happy place on the gauge (which took a few minutes) we took off on Runway 26.

Gina was on the ground and captured rare videos of me flying from outside the cockpit!

I meandered south towards I-71 and pointed out a few things along the way. He made a few comments about the views and enjoyed the new perspective. As I was making my way back towards the airport he asked if there was a dam (spoiler alert - there is, as is the case with most large bodies of water in Ohio) near the lake over to the right. So, as is conveniently doable when flying a small plane, I turned towards Caesar Creek Lake to give him a better view.

Daylight was fading and I still had one more passenger in the queue so I again turned towards the airport. I touched down reasonably softly on Runway 26 and was reminded that winter is nearly here at the end of my rollout; the engine began to sputter. A quick advance of the throttle kept everything purring and I taxied back over to where Gina and Stephanie were waiting.

Taxiing to the runway after Stephanie climbed on board

I turned the engine off and Stuart hopped out - or, more accurately, Stephanie manhandled him out of the front seat. She's a registered nurse and, well, sometimes it shows. :-) He was instantly where he needed to be (safely out of the plane) and she quickly traded places after doing her own version of the Cub dance to climb aboard.

Everything was now warmed up so I taxied back down to the end of the runway. Wanting to try something slightly different, I held the brakes and used a short field takeoff technique. We were off the ground in roughly the span of a set of cones - you can see yourself in the video above.

Stephanie was up for a little more in the air; I slowly eased her into the sensations of light airplane flying with progressively steeper turns. We ended up doing a 45 degree bank, give or take, before I turned out over the lake for some more sightseeing. A few minutes later, with daylight fading and needing to head back to land, I did a pseudo-steep spiral to lose 500 feet to get to pattern altitude. She got a kick out of it.

I crossed midfield and turned downwind, the only plane in the pattern. The wind had shifted since the first takeoff, no longer directly down the runway but now a slight right crosswind. So I used a right forward slip on final to lose some extra altitude and speed, rolling out 50 feet or so above the ground. It sure felt like all three wheels grazed the grass at the same time, a total greaser.

My two rookie Cub passengers for the day

Stephanie and Gina after we landed and tied the airplane down

Both Stephanie and Stuart said they really enjoyed their short flights. I wish we'd had more time to fly but I'm glad we managed to squeeze in a few minutes. We sometimes only see them every couple years and it was nice to show them a little bit of what we love here in Southwest Ohio.

After the flying ceased, we continued on down US-42 to Mason where we all enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Wildflower CafĂ©. If you live nearby or are ever in the area, I highly recommend the place. Awesome local food, daily specials, and a great beer and wine list. What's not to love?

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 323.4 hours

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Aviation: The Invisible Highway

This looks spectacular.

I absolutely love One Six Right, which was also produced by Brian J. Terwilliger. It certainly looks like he's created another epic aviation film.