Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall foliage before the sun sets too soon

Plane: Cub, 85 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 60 degrees, wind 080 degrees at 10 knots

The weather was perfect, if slightly windy, for our annual fall foliage flight this evening. We always try our best to take to the sky for one final evening adventure in the Cub before Daylight Savings Time comes to an end and I'm relegated to mostly weekend-only flying. Gina met me down at the airport after work, Tommy propped the old Continental to life, and we were taxiing across the grass shortly after 5:30.

With a half-tank of gas and about 60 minutes before sunset, we quickly set off to enjoy the scenic views. I first flew east towards the lake, then down the valley, passing over the gliderport. I spotted a combine harvesting a field but it had stopped by the time I circled around for a photo.

Next I flew north, passing along the south and west edges of downtown Waynesville. I alternated between opening and closing the door, balancing warmth against the optimal photo-taking configuration. We spotted some driveways lined with vivid red trees and Gina snapped a photo of one of them; she (wo)manned the camera for most of the flight. The sun was getting lower, enhancing the shadows and washing everything in that beautiful yellow that only twilight brings.

Unfortunately we didn't have enough fuel or time to fly all the way to downtown Dayton. I'd hoped to do just that since we spotted some awesome colors there driving home from Michigan yesterday evening. However, I did spot some very vibrant pockets near Kettering so we crossed I-675 and circled around for a few more photos in the increasingly golden evening light.

Upon our return to Stewart the pattern was ours alone. I pulled the carb heat on downwind, brought the throttle to idle, and executed a pseudo-power-off 180 landing, touching down surprisingly softly in the moderate wind blowing almost directly down the runway. We taxied over to the hangar, pushd the J-3 inside, and shut the doors. Walking to my car, I spotted a large moon rising over the horizon and couldn't resist the urge to snap just one more photo.

With all my travel this month (20/31 nights away from home!) I'm very happy I was still able to fit in the annual foliage flight with the wife. We didn't just keep the tradition alive; we were treated to peak colors on an exceptionally beautiful evening. Fall has definitely arrived.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 345.8 hours


  1. Great pics Gina! I love the red trees on the long driveway.

    I think we got to see more colors driving around here than we did flying. Good to see you and your Bride enjoying the beauty Fall provides.