The thermometer read 2°C under gray skies. No wind. Most of the local airports were reporting marginal VFR in 5 or 6 miles of haze, overcast at 5000'. The forecast said to expect some sunshine later but I was skeptical. There was still a pile of work on my desk left over from the Thanksgiving Holiday. Sunset would come at about 5:00PM. If I was going to do it it would have to be over my lunch break.
At noon I turned on my "Away" light and bundled up to go to the airport. I put on my pair of unlined leather gloves before I touched the cold steering wheel and put the heater to full hot. I was getting heat by the time I got to the hangar. Someone had left one of the hangar doors partially opened so the floor was covered with leaves. I'll bring the blower out next time. A flight of honking geese, about 15 in a single line flew overhead. More would follow which made me pause to think about the possible hazard.
Sally looked good. The canopy was a bit dusty but overall she was still clean from the detailing done in Addison. I took my time with the preflight and was pleased with the exterior of the airplane. She burped after about 30 pulls, much sooner then I expected on a cold day like this one. The battery was good, all of the lights worked. I pulled her out into the daylight to do the sumps. Avgas that I bought in West Virginia was still in the tanks and tested clean.
After I climbed in the straps needed to be adjusted to fit the extra bulk of my winter flying jacket. I shouted "Clear" to no one and turned the switch. A very smooth start. I taxied up around the silo to look out over the runway. The little pond looked thick with a layer of ice, ripples frozen in place. A month's worth of rust had accumulated on my brain so as I waited on the oil temperature to rise I reviewed the checklist to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. At 122° we taxied over to the run up spot and completed our ground checks. I was still fighting my own inertia until I took the runway. Lethargy turned to excitement simply by adding full throttle. And then lifting the nose.
My landings were sh.....didn't meet my expectations. Only four of them, but all ended with a thud rather than a squeak. Only about a half hour on the Hobbs. Was it worth all of the effort? Oh yeah.
December 2nd is the day we celebrate our anniversary with Sally. This was #3. It was great to get reacquainted.