Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ten years later

Plane: Cub, 65 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees, wind 060 degrees at 4 knots

Compared to the past couple years, I've been on a downright tear in 2018. Less than six months in, my hours are already more than double what I flew last year! And I'm actually on track to fly more than I did in 2016, 2015, or 2014. Life isn't much less crazy for me these days, but I think I've finally managed to strike a balance that ensures I get to spend enough time in the cockpit.

Prior Years: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

This is also quite the milestone. I've now been writing this blog for a decade, which is honestly a bit hard to even wrap my head around. Of course, that also means I've now been flying for a decade. My first lesson was on May 20, 2008 in N98686 - the same plane I flew this evening.

Now for technicalities. I did actually fly on my birthday a few days ago, and I suppose that should be the official "ten years later" flight. But the tradition has really always been about flying the Cub on or soon after my birthday, so I'm counting tonight's flight. Deal with it. :)

So what was particularly special from this most recent trip around the sun?
  • Our daughter has grown from a newborn to a walking, talking, generally super happy and incredibly lovable little toddler that we love more than anything in the world (bonus points for her loving to fly so far)
  • I joined a flying club with a Cessna 182 RG, which has led to most of my recent uptick in flight time - and has added Complex and High Performance sign-offs to my logbook
  • Gina and I took a wonderful trip to Barcelona (where we got engaged, if you recall) over the holidays and celebrated New Year's Eve there
  • Back in December, I started a new job after a decade at Kodak - it's a great opportunity to do something new and I'm enjoying it thus far
Despite all the recent flying, my grass field vintage airplane stick time has been nil since last summer. But with the Skylane checkout complete, I wanted to get current in the Cub again ASAP. In my opinion, there's still no better way to experience the pure joy of flying, especially over the summer months.

There's just something special about a Cub in an old hangar...

There's also just something special about a Cub on grass

Tommy was kind enough to squeeze me in before his first student tonight. I got to the airport early, pre-flighted the plane, and topped it off with 100LL so I was ready to go the second he arrived. He propped the now-65 horse engine to life (they had to replace 98286's engine and they didn't have another 85 hp available, so the Big Cub is now Big in name only) and I taxied down to the end of Runway 8.

Similar to last year's flight after a long hiatus, it seems you really don't forget how to fly a Cub. I was a little worried about re-calibrating my sight picture after 15 straight hours in the 182 but it all just sort of came right back to me. My first takeoff and landing weren't great; I trimmed too far forward on takeoff and I didn't get the stick all the way back on landing, so we bounced a little. But the second time around was much better. Tommy was satisfied, so he hopped out and I taxied back for one final solo lap around the pattern.

Flying over the very green farmland on downwind for Runway 8

Pointing south on a left base for Runway 8

Takeoff was smooth and I reached pattern altitude much quicker sans Tommy. I did take a couple moments to just look around to enjoy the view and the warm evening air blowing in my face through the open door. Abeam the numbers, I reduced the throttle and began a gradual descent from 1,800 feet.

I intentionally held in some power to land a little long for a shorter taxi. Moving along in ground effect about halfway down the runway, I reduced the throttle to idle and gently touched down on the green grass. Everything felt right back at home.

So I'm officially Cub current again. Still, considering how little I've flown them over the past couple years, I'm going to try to go up on my own again soon to practice takeoffs and landings, stalls, slow flight, steep turns, etc. I think once I've done that it'll finally feel like I'm permitted back in the camp of truly current pilots.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.5 hours
Total Time: 395.3 hours


  1. Belated Happy Birthday!!

    I'm sure it feels great getting back to your 'grass' roots. I still haven't flown in a Cub or landed on grass, I really need to fix that.

    After you posted about the number of years maintaining your blog I went back and looked at my first post, June 21st 2005. Yikes! it will be 13 years!

    Keep up the excellent posts and pictures!

    1. Thank you sir!

      You're always welcome to pop over here. The open invite for Cub time remains indefinitely.

      As for blogging, like you, I'm in it for the long haul! :)