The sun is setting sooner and work is lasting longer. I got out to the airport around 6:00pm. My mission was to do a TAS check. Sally just passed 190 hours on the Hobbs and is going down for maintenance next week so I wanted to do a speed test to use as a baseline.
As we departed Butter Valley I saw a hot air balloon to the south and decided to climb up to see it. The air was calm with a slight breeze from the south and a thick haze layer at about 4000'. I circled the balloon as I climbed, far enough away not to be intimidating, but close enough to enjoy a great view of this colorful aircraft. I got a spectacular view as I maneuvered between the balloon and the sun from a slightly elevated position. What a joy to be sharing the same air space.
The test didn't give me the results I had hoped for. 6500', 5450RPM (6.2 gals/hr) yielded 115 Kts TAS. I had expected 120 kts. Many factors are involved and one might be using 93 octane gas with ethanol instead of 100ll Avgas in my tanks. Another may be its time for Sally to get a good tune up.
* My Aeronautics professor would be very disappointed. The engine developed 5450 RPM regardless of fuel or other factors. It did its job. This reduces to a thrust vs drag problem. A different propeller would change the equation and reducing the drag would help. Maybe Sally needs a bath.
Only a short flight, the sun was setting and I don't trust the lighting at 7N8. Normal pattern and landing and put her to bed in the barn. As I was driving away I could see the balloon was also landing, but over on the other side of town.
"Adventure, after all, doesn't have to be distant or prolonged in order to be worthwhile." - Lane Wallace. Please read her full article here.