Thursday, May 7, 2015

First door-open Cubbin' of the year

Plane: Cub, 65 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 80 degrees, wind 120 degrees at 7 knots

It's been too long. Since I flew a Cub with the door wide open. Since I flew in general, really.

Since my last flight, I've spent nearly two weeks out of the country for work in Canada and Switzerland. Not that I'm complaining - I do love to travel, after all. Work's been kind of hectic besides the travel, too. We're also still in the middle of a kitchen remodel. Needless to say, the flying has been rather sporadic thus far in 2015.

Tonight was absolute perfection in terms of flying, however. Relatively calm winds, great visibility, and plenty of warmth to facilitate said door-ajar aviating. Gina and I headed down to Stewart after I got home from work for our first flight together since the first day of the year.

She's relatively well-versed in Cubs and tailwheel procedures by now, so she sat in front at the controls while I hand-propped the 65 hp Continental to life. Propeller-turner turning, I climbed in the back seat and ran through my preflight. We taxied to the end of Runway 8, did a run-up, and I pushed the throttle in.  We were soon rolling down the soft grass and quickly airborne.

Circling back around, I made a landing to check my level of rust. Initial reports came back negative, as I completely greased it. Don't worry, I don't always achieve such aerial prowess; read on. We took off again and I flew east to check out the lake and do a little sightseeing.

I swear she enjoyed tonight's flight more than this photo appears to indicate

Flying over the northwest edge of Caesar Creek Lake

As I mentioned after both the New Year's flight and in March, they've drained Caesar Creek Lake in order to build a new marina. It seemed even lower tonight as I was able to spot more remnants of its before-it-was-a-lake past. We spotted a couple old roads and even an old bridge that normally lie well beneath the water's surface. The old road / old infrastructure geek in me was quite satisfied with these findings.

Crossing over OH-73 in the middle of the lake

Old roads and a bridge that usually lie under the water

They've clearly brought in some fill dirt to help construct the new marina

Leaving the lake behind and flying west, I made a low pass over the gliderport, then briefly flew down the valley before climbing up to 2,500 feet. I did two 720-degree steep turns, one to the left and another to the right. Neither were perfect but I held altitude within 100 feet and speed within 5 knots, so I was relatively satisfied. I think Gina was more than ready to be done at that point, too, so I didn't attempt any further refinement.

Heading south down the valley after sightseeing over the lake

We descended into the pattern behind the 150 and I came in for a normal landing. Not having followed my standard "thou shalt cease all flying after a greaser" philosophy, I promptly flared too high and the wings decided they were done flying about one foot above the ground. Thud. Yep, that was more of an arrival than a landing.

I came back around one more time and gave a better performance for the nonexistent airport bums. Going for a power-off 180, I went full right rudder and left aileron to make a turning forward slip from downwind all the way to landing. I lost the altitude perfectly but rolled out with about 5-10 knots of extra airspeed. We touched down smoothly but bounced slightly as the wings weren't quite ready to stop flying. Sort of the opposite of landing numero dos, I suppose.

All in all, having not flown a Cub in two months (!!) it was a successful evening behind the stick. If my travel schedule and free time stop conspiring against my logbook, I certainly hope to fly much more in the near future. Either way, both of us sure as heck enjoyed the warm breeze through the open door at 1,500 feet this evening.

Cubbin' is the way to go. Especially when it's warm out. Trust me.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 327.8 hours


  1. I practically felt the warm spring breeze on my face, Steve! Looks like a wonderful time.

    I don't full understand my own fascination with it, but I am a total old infrastructure geek, too. Flying really feeds that in a big way. I remember coming home and telling my wife about the old bridge pilings across Cayuga Lake that I observed one spring day when the water was unusually clear. She listened politely, but it was clear that she did not share my enthusiasm. :-)

    1. Ahh yes, I've been known to do similar things. I can't even begin to add up the amount of time I've spent clicking through the historic imagery in Google Earth when I get home after I've spotted something while driving or flying.

    2. Yup! Or just running searches trying to figure out what I saw. The aforementioned pilings pre-dated satellites.

  2. Steve, you and Gina surely looked like you were having fun. Spring has sprung and the wx is finally providing perfect days for flight and snooping out those hidden treasures.

    I was recently turned on to the abandoned roads and tunnels along the old Pennsylvania interstate system, fun reading and I hope to fly over the locations one day to check them out.

    FYI, Mary and I are heading out to I67 in Ohio for a few days to visit friends, maybe we can meet up if you're in town. I'll check to see how far from you later today.

    1. Oh yeah - I've read all about the abandoned sections of the turnpike. I believe it's on one of them that they first developed/tested median rumble strips.

      Let me know about the travel, I think I'm free from business trips for the next week or two!