Saturday, August 5, 2017

Currency, Part 1: Taking the 172 all over town

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: 40I-I73-I44-3I7-I62-MGY-40I
Weather: Scattered clouds, 75 degrees, wind 260 degrees at 8-12 knots

What do you do when mom and baby are out of town for the day? You fly, of course. Couple that with a list of local airports you've never landed at despite being a pilot for over eight years and you've got yourself a mission!

It's already been over a month since I last flew. Much better than earlier this year, but still more of a gap than I'd like. So this seemed like a good way break up the takeoff ans landing practice with a (tiny) bit of pilotage and navigation.

I popped into about half the airports around Dayton today

I departed Stewart and first landed at Moraine Airpark (I73) for the first time since 2009. Coming over the levee on very short final, the rising air caused me to briefly float down the runway before touching down relatively softly. Takeoff was smooth and I climbed straight out to 1,700 feet (per the A/FD and sign at the end of the runway) before turning north.

The first new airport was Dahio Trotwood (I44), a notably run down strip that's so desolate it's a tad hard to spot from the air at first. The runway is so cracked that I deemed it smart to first do a low approach and check for any obvious problems or obstructions. I didn't see anything that would preclude a landing so I circled back around and landed on Runway 22. It's an interesting place - corn rises up on both sides so you can't see much of anything once settled on the as-bumpy-as-expected runway. I back-taxied and departed on the same runway without ever seeing any signs of life.

Next up was Phillipsburg (3I7), which was acquired by a local business owner a few years ago to prevent closure of the airport. It's not the busiest place but here there were clear signs of life; a Cherokee called in 10 miles away when I was in the pattern and landed after me. The runway is pretty narrow (reminds me a little of 45G in Brighton, MI) and the shifting winds during my roundout led to probably the worst landing of the day. Again, I back-taxied after the Cherokee was clear and took off again on the shortest leg of the day.

My final new airport was Brookville Air-Park (I62) and it's only a very short 3.4 nm flight from Phillipsburg. This is another unique, lightly used local strip. The runway and airport are actually separated by a road; to cross you pull up to a gate that opens and there are stop signs to remind you to yield to the cars driving by. You also pass quite close to some tall trees off your left wing when landing on Runway 27. The pavement is somewhat bumpy but my touchdown was reasonably smooth; again, I back-taxied down the runway and took off to continue my little local adventure.

Since I'd be passing right by Wright Brothers (MGY) and haven't landed there in nearly a year, I planned it as my final stop on the way home. It's 19 nm from Brookville so I had a few minutes of level cruise to just enjoy the view and relax. The pattern was busy as usual; I crossed midfield behind two other planes in the pattern to land on Runway 20. I landed a tad firm in the slight crosswind. Seeing two or three other planes lined up on the taxiway while I was in the pattern, I'd decided not to wait in line. As soon as the flaps were raised up, I pushed full throttle back in and was soon flying the final leg back to Stewart.

Before long, I was back in Waynesville. I spotted one of the jump planes quickly descending and called him on the radio to say I had him in sight and would follow him in - they have a way of zooming thru the pattern like rockets. I turned slightly right, then circled back to enter a 45 for a left downwind to Runway 26. With the wind almost directly down the runway, my final approach was stable and smooth and I touched down smoothly a few hundred feet past the threshold.

This was a lot of fun. I've been meaning to pop into some of these airports for years and I'm glad to finally have done so. I still want to try out the road-crossing at Brookville so I'll have to land there again some day. Just as exciting and important, I could feel the rust coming off the more I threw myself into both new and familiar situations. I think I'm now current enough in the 172 that Mariella's first flight will soon be in the cards...

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.4 hours
Total Time: 376.4 hours


  1. Sounds like a busy day of flying. It's always fun getting back in the saddle and knocking off the rust.

  2. That had to have been good for the soul!