Tuesday, August 23, 2011

7N8-KPTW-KLOM-7N8

video

The weather is spectacular! Temperatures in the mid 70s, clear blue skies and visibility forever. I got out to Butter Valley for my lunch break, added 5 gallons of premium, and pushed 60 blades to get the burp. I just couldn't force myself to get into my PiperSport without taking a closer look at my neighbors. Two classic Cubs were tied down next to me, and across the turf was a gorgeous polished aluminum Globe Swift. I have loved the look of a Swift, well, forever. This one was simply pristine. If I can ever get down to my target weight I would definitely want to try one of these on. This one is based in York and I was fortunate to meet the owner as he came out to the line as I finished my preflight.  I think we were both a bit jealous of each other and at the same time proud of our planes.

A very pleasant round-robin to Pottstown Heritage (Limerick), Wings, and back to Butter Valley with a full stop landing at each. Just a very few cumulus building at 6K, which brought a mild chop along with them, but at 2500' it was still a smooth ride. As I left KPTW I could see a flight of two Cubs making their way south. I hope they had a good lunch at 7N8.

Wings is getting some maintenance done on its taxi ways. I turned off on the first ramp, but folks coming down through the throat must back taxi a bit to get to the approach end on RWY 24. I waited at the hold-short line as a Piper Arrow came out to play. The trip back home was nice and I made a 5 mile final into home field. I learned about the earthquake when I called home to check-in.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

KCXY

Rwy 26 at KCXY
N674PS at KCXY
The weather stinks. I had made plans for a few 1+ hour trips this week, but the only good weather day was Wednesday, and an emergency at work took the whole day. So when it improved to marginal on Friday I jumped at the chance for a local tour. An easy flight up to Blairstown and then along the ridge line and through the gap over to Slatington and an easy ride south back home gave me the 'fix' I needed. ahhhhh. That night a hail storm blew through with wind gust over 33 kts. Fortunately no damage to our PiperSport.

A beautiful line of planes
We planned a flight over to Harrisburg to visit a friend we hadn't seen in 5 years. Capital City is a controlled field, next to the town's international airport along the Susquehanna River. We woke to dense fog...the kind where you can't see across the street. So I went back to bed for a few more hours to wait for the sun to burn some of mist away. At 11:00 we were finished with the run-up and ready for take off. (So much for the breakfast meeting we had planned.) Still hazy, but at least 7 miles and nice still, smooth air all the way. My radio skills were a bit rusty, and it showed especially during the departure from Capital City, but good enough to get us away without too much embarrassment. I really enjoyed the challenge and had fun with the whole exercise.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

S37

Smoketown is a nice airport just outside of Lancaster airspace. I had noticed on the NE Flyers Meet-up page that their fly-in was listed and the agenda included a talk about Light Sport Aviation. Preflight planning showed some local airports shrouded in mist, but generally good weather until T-Storms rolled in later in the afternoon. No TFRs were shown to be active.The preflight was done and the oil was warming up by 8:30. Garmin said the trip should take about 30 mins, and weather was visible far out to the west of us. Everything was "GO" for the trip as we lined up on Rwy 34 to complete the checklists.

The trip over was uneventful, except for the incredible beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside. Carved farmlands separated by hills of forests spotted with barns and silos and an  occasional town until we got close to Lancaster. We listened on CTAF and were surprised at the volume of aircraft calling their positions in the pattern. High wing, low wind, biplane, experimental and soon to join in, a PiperSport. We entered on the 45 to Rwy 28, and watched closely as other airplane sorted themselves out in the pattern. We called downwind behind a Cessna, and obviously a Stearman was either not listening or felt his crosswind gave him priority, but in any case I decided not to argue and broke it off for another entry. That went well and now I'm anxiously waiting for the arrival photos to be posted on the website.

The linesmen did a great job getting us to our parking spot. As we got out of the plane, two friends (whom I had never met) came by to greet us. From Pottstown Heritage, we had exchanged email and blog post and invited each other for coffee at our respective airports, but never met. It was nice chat, reacquaint and talk about airplanes. Then we wandered the line of beautiful planes and made our way to the hangar for breakfast, the standard pancakes and eggs and donuts.  After eating we strolled over to Hangar "F" for the Light Sport Lecture. An instructor from Lancaster came in with his StingSport and did a great job explaining the LSA limitations for both pilots and aircraft to a diverse crowd of about 25.

Back out to walk the flight line, and I nearly fell in love with the Calidus GyroCopter. I've always been intrigued with the self powered rotating wing, like the flight characteristics and would love to fly one. This one was a real beauty.

But the weather was starting to turn. We decided it was time to get our VFR airplane back home before the gray skies forced an unexpected overnight stay. The flight home was uneventful. As we buttoned her down a guy drove up in his car to talk about Light Sport Flying, and kept talking for about 30 mins. We enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Right Hand Pattern

Weathered in this past weekend, I was very anxious to get into the air again. Monday proved to be just too busy, so I hoped to get any early morning start on Tuesday. Fog and mist prevented that. As I waited for the heat to dissipate the haze, I noted a line of storms moving in from the west. As soon as the local area reported Marginal VFR I was on my way out to the airport.
Original plan to venture a few minutes south to KPTW was scrapped in favor of staying in the pattern at home. Though I fly from the right seat, my right hand pattern needed some work. I tend to cut the crosswind a bit short, leaving me a bit high and fast turning base to final. My sight picture is now adjusted to have the wing tip fly down the runway instead of the gas cap. It made for a much nicer approach.

5 full stop landings and one missed in 0.5 hours. Probably about an hour total from door step to door step...not bad.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Disappointment

I wanted to go. I REALLY wanted to go. It would be my first ever meeting with the NE Flyers, back to some 'home turf' at Poughkeepsie's Duchess County (KPOU) to celebrate the opening of a new on field restaurant. The airplane was fueled, no gripes. Everything was pushing me to go...except:
KXLL - Allentown Queen City Municipal AirNav
Allentown, PA
Reported at: 7:35am EDT
Wind: 170° true at 7 kt
Visibility: 10 sm
Clouds: scattered 1300 ft AGL, broken 2100 ft AGL
overcast 6000 ft AGL
Temp: 22° C, Dewpoint: 20° C
 ...and similar reports from other local airports. My midway point, Sussex (KFWN) was reporting clouds broken 1900 ft AGL. Poughkeepsie was solid VFR, but the weather at home wasn't. I sat in the car, watching the low clouds drift by wondering if I should take the covers off. Forecast called for improving weather, with thunderstorms later in the day. If I was IFR current, and if the airplane was IFR certified I would be gone.

But, we aren't.