Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

A day for a perfect cross country. Started with KUUU – Newport to 42B – Goodspeed – the land and water runways side by side in the river in CT. Dan and Debbie who share a 150 out of KUUU suggested we go there and we meet up at the field. Dropping in over the river a sudden right crosswind just before touchdown required a steep slip to get back to centerline and a nice shortfield drop onto the runway.

Taxi in and drop $5 in the honesty box…….

and then claw out over the bridge, the hill and power lines and a drop down south to SNC – Chester – just 6 miles away. I was last here on my first cross country pilotage exercise from school. It was as pretty as I remembered with the ends of the runway built up on either side of the hill to make it long enough.

36 departure at SNC. Short field out and on to KMMK – Meredith Markham Municipal. Nice enough but plenty big.

Taxi around and press onto 4B8 – Robertson. Easy enough to find – just to the west of a ridge with two enormous towers on it. Land and taxi round then climb out past the notice to maintain runway heading to 1100ft AGL for noise abatement. This puts you right in the lee of a sharp cliff with radio towers on it.

On a windy day I can imagine that you will suffer ridiculous lee turbulence. At a lowering of the ridge I turn east and pick up LIMA at KHFD – Brainard Hartford and drop in on 02. As I taxi round for the off – I joke with ground control that I am late for AOPA Air Venture – held last month in torrential rain – but at least the weather is nice today. Funnily enough in all my training and back and forth across New England – I have never been in here before! Hartford sends me north and all the way to the edge of the Bradley Class C to avoid the TFR over the stadium before I break east for KIJD – Windham. I haven’t been here since a solo on my training.

I call for advisories and get the equivalent of a full blown PIREP! As I get closer I realize it is from an instructor who is doing engine out and slips to landings with his student. I turn final and discover I am horribly high.

The displaced runway number 9 which I judged the turn on has actually been blacked out and the runway restored to full length. I could go around or I could Flaps 40 and pitch up – which I do – and 41G drops like a stone till I make the glideslope and I drop in and taxi off. I watch the CFI and student do their thing and snap some photos of them.

Then as I taxi out I see a bright yellow 150 converted to a tail dragger. I take 36 for a straight out to the north and C44 – Toutant.

I was here the other day. It is a peach of a 1700ft field on the top of a knoll with an escape to the north through well trimmed trees. I drop in – a little long but I get stopped in plenty of time.

As I taxi back a small herd of deer watch me then break for the woods. I taxi back and get my tail hanging over the end of the runway so I have maximum length then I short field out and head for KSFZ – North Central. I’ve been going nearly three hours and it is time for fuel. I get a discount at KSFZ through my RI tiedown at KUUU. I fuel and watch the Providence school planes doing touch and goes.

Then off for KPVD – Providence to visit the school. It is Chris the manager’s last week here – he is moving on to very exciting pastures new and I want to say good luck to him. We sit and chew the fat for a bit and discuss ways of pulling off the impossible turn with an engine failure at takeoff. One of the CFI’s has a method which he says works well but must be practiced at higher altitude till it is instinctive. It is news to all the CFI’s and we all discuss practicing it in the Practice Area sometime soon.

As I taxi out I see 3SP in the sunset. I passed my Checkride in her 4 months ago today.

Then a flip home to KUUU. Though I get a long vector out to Fall River which I get stuck on as Departure reads someone up a long IFR clearance. I finally get a word in and ask if I can head for KUUU. Providence apologize and I get to go home.

181 miles and 4.1 hours PIC. GREAT day!

It is also 4 months to the day since I passed my checkride. I’ve put in 124.9 hours in 41G,
50 hours of cross country flying,
57 hours of solo flying,
9 hours at night and
222 Take offs and landings – 16 at night.

We have visited 47 airports in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Are we having fun yet?

30 young people got a flight at EAA Chapter 196’s Columbus Weekend Young Eagles event today.

3 got to come in Cessna 150 N6141G! All were completely into it – applied their math schooling to the problem of fuel endurance after we sticked the tanks (to the delight of parents and grandparents). Helped with the rest of pre-flight – including fuel sampling and then after a cabin safety brief – we were on the way!

The very first things we do is stress the fundamental “positive handover of controls” – “Your controls – My controls – You have the controls”, with visual confirmation that the other really is holding the controls. We practice this a few times, then a gentle demonstration of turning left and right (like leaning a bike) and a little bit of up and down. Then – “Your controls…..” and the young person gets to keep the controls for a bit. In these pictures they really are flying the plane. They HAVE the controls. They are like sponges – absorb it all – take it absolutely seriously and within a few minutes are flying the plane without prompting.

William snuck back for a second YE flight – Hey William – were you not out with me last month?

All that simulator time is telling – he is flying standard rate coordinated turns without really thinking about it. Get it locked in, look out the window, fly it.

Abbey hates math but was able to work out the fuel endurance after we sticked the tanks – she is 8

When we closed the door on her Dad – Grace announced “Everyone says I am a Klutz”. With very little
encouragement she proved everyone wrong – flying turns and maintaining altitude to PTS.

Grace flew me over Maynard and pointed out the high, middle and elementary schools. She told me
the brown mud pile will be the new high school.

Abby helps chock 41G at the end of the flight.

Then Alex and I flew over to KFIT – Fitchburg for lunch. Then Alex took off from Fitchburg and flew us home to Newport.

Hurricane Irene

So there was a small weather window this morning to get out of Newport and over to Providence after the cloud lifted and before the winds started to blow too hard for my little Cessna 150. Later in the day the winds will ease but the visibility will be dreadful, then there will be thunderstorms and then the winds will slowly start to build as Hurricane Irene plods its way up the coast this weekend.

I shot into the airport but the cloud was looking pretty low over the field. The automated weather said 1200ft. Well that meant I was OK to 1,000ft and within a mile of the field but I could not set off to Providence in Visual Flight Rules. However this was really my only window to “get out of Dodge”. I dragged the bit out my training I said I would never use on a departure – I would need a “Special VFR clearance”.

I preflighted and fired up and while the engine warmed up I managed to tune the distant weather at Providence and catch part of it. Didn’t sound much better over the field there. I got out onto the runway and lined up and then took off. Thank goodness I practiced strong wind take offs and landings yesterday. As I got to the gap in the trees I was able to predict the puff from the left that would try and spin me on the runway and I held her and climbed out. I bucketed up through the turbulence while trying to tune for Providence Approach. It was hard to hold onto the radio control knobs in the bumps. At 800ft I met some wisps and if I carried on to 1,000ft I was definitely going to be in the bottom of the clouds. I turned an 800ft pattern and kept trying to get my fingers on the tuning for the radio – first to confirm the Providence weather and then to call approach. As I careened along on the downwind I eventually got it:

“Providence Approach – N6141G”

They acknowledged my call sign and I turned for the Class C airspace – definitely scud running at 1000ft with the wisps whipping over the wings.

“Providence Approach – N6141G is a Cessna 150 departed Newport for Providence to land with Lima – request a Special VFR clearance”. I had not called ahead – the local wisdom is that you are usually turned down on the phone but calling when in the air will nearly always get you SVFR from Providence.

Providence came straight back with “No Special VFR required – we are VFR here – set up for left base runway 23 – Squawk 0326”. Well it may be full VFR there now – but sure as heck I was running the bottoms of clouds and quite often in them at 1,000ft. I eased down to 900ft to see my way. Well at least the tapes would show I asked. Out over Prudence Island the clouds dropped astern and I could see all the way to Providence.

“N6141G – you are number 2 for the field behind the Embraer on a 4 mile final.” I started looking for the traffic. It was 20 miles plus visibility to the North and West. As soon as I announced I had the traffic I was switched over to tower.

“Providence Tower – N6141G on a left base for 23”. I was crabbing hard left to allow for the wind sliding me sideways. About a 40 degree crab into what would be 30+ knots of wind. This was just like the day my instructor brought me up to practice for this sort of thing. So I didn’t have any fears – just a need to stay on top of the aircraft, remember that going around was completely OK and valid in these conditions and that a “plant it firmly” landing was called for when over the runway in the correct spot.

“41G cleared to land 23, number 2, with caution for wake turbulence. For your information the previous landing reported moderate turbulence”.

The previous landing was a Boeing 737 – I was going to get thrown all over the sky! I would need a fast approach to punch through it and no flaps to create extra drag – the wind would stop me fast enough. I powered up and steep turned to final and nailed the centerline. I was high but making headway into the wind. I was flying at nearly 100 knots when I would normally be flying this part of the approach at 55. I was bouncing all over the place – but at least the wind was right down the runway. It was a surprisingly normal approach at this point – just fast – but the headwind was slowing me to the “normal” speed over the ground. I got over the runway and flew on down trying to get to the surface. The plane floated and hung in the flow on the surface – making perhaps 25 knots over the ground while flying along at 65 knots. I hung out – maintaining centerline and waited, and waited and waited till it was the right moment and I pulled the power. 41G touched down – the lightest greaser of a landing you could imagine. I actually made the first taxiway.

“41G- where do you want to go?” from Tower. I told them the NW ramp and I was told to “stay with them” and taxi up 34 all the way to the end. As I turned off I was caught with a beam wind. Sometimes from just ahead and sometimes on the quarter. It was a juggle to keep the plane from getting tipped over as I taxied up the runway to the end. I was flipping from the quartering set up, to the wind from ahead setup with each gust.

I pulled into the ramp next to PT Aero. Larry the AP was working on a plane and I opened my window – “Larry – will you be my badge please?” – for my security escort on the ramp. Larry came over to look at the plane. He hadn’t seen it before. A man from the TSA also showed up. There as part of the screening team for the President’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. He checked Larry knew me and turned away.

We then spent the rest of the morning re-arranging the hangar to get as many planes in as possible. The Civil Air Patrol had just left to move to Quonset and CVS Caremark had taken their quarter share of the hangar. Their team was scratching their heads trying to figure how to shoehorn two Citation 10’s into a space that had previously comfortably held two Cessna 172’s.

So for better or worse – N6141G is tucked under the wing of a Gulfstream till Monday in a steel framed, stone and brick ArtDeco hangar at KPVD.