Monday, September 29, 2008

Short field practice - for real

Took some time to practice my short field techniques today. After a few practice short field takeoffs and landings at my home airport (with a 4000' x 75') I headed over to Butler Farm Show (3G9) to try it out for real, so to speak, on their 2580 x 38' monster runway. I have to admit, my first attempt to land on 18 ended with a go-around, just too much speed on final. Attempt number two was a little better, landed just beyond the numbers with minimal airspeed. Even so I had a little bounce and the numbers 36 (upside down) were rapidly coming into view. Still, managed to stop no problem, but the heart rate was up. Taxied back to 18 and took off again. Third time was a charm; minimal float, no bounce, full stall landing and minimal braking. Luckily there was no crosswind, which I sure with that 38' to play with would make this landing much more interesting. It was actually the first time I had landed on a short runway solo, so there was definitely a little pucker factor involved. At any rate, definitely recommend doing real short fields now and then after practicing at a longer one. There seems to be no substitute for the real McCoy.
(photo on right from AirNav)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Virginia's 4th Birthday Flight

VA wanted to take a trip up in the plane the see our house from above for her birthday, so of course I had to oblige her. We set off in the 152, it was a somewhat bumpy day, but then again it seems like the calmest days can be bumpy in the 152. We actually got drizzled on a little bit which made the flight a bit more interesting. Virginia did great this time with the turbulence however. I let her handle the controls a bit and showed her how to go up and down and she did a few turns as well. I think letting her fly helped her deal with the bumps as well. I'm pretty sure however that the best part of flying for her is that she gets to chew gum...

Finding the house was easy, we just tracked the radial from EWC that passed right over our house and looked for the Fox Chapel football field. We did a few turns and then flew over the Allegheny river doing a left 180 to make a pass by Grandma and Grampa's house. We then made a bee line back to Zeli, followed by an uneventful landing putting 0.9 on the Hobbs for the trip. Great way to spend time with the daughter, best $58 I've spent in a while!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Family Flight

This weekend was a milestone for our family as we had everyone up in the 172 together. "Co-pilot" Virginia chatted away in the right seat with her new Pilot Cadet headset (with the pink earcups of course). Mom and Charlie were in the backseat with Charlie content to sit on her lap for the most part. We had a beautiful sunny August afternoon, just a little bit of wind. The only small hiccup was having to shutdown on the taxiway right before the runup to kill an errant bee in the luggage compartment. Bee killed, engine instruments set, take off,... Everyone did great. We were a little worried about Charlie ( now just turned two years about a month ago) as he has been a little nervous around airplanes, or "ah-pains" as he calls them, but he was pretty happy for the most part. A little tip for pilots who may want to fly their small children. We purchased these junior ear muffs for Charlie. They were only $20 and he was actually totally fine with wearing them. I could not deny Virginia (about to turn four) the ability to talk, which she loves so much, so she lucked out with a boom mic...
Charlie pulling the airplane out

Charlie and Mommy are ready to go