Friday, June 20, 2014

Soft Field Landing

We flew a very nice introductory flight out of Brandywine. The weather treated us well and the countryside looked freshly washed after the summer rain. We both enjoyed being up in the air, and Sally performed very well. It was a good flight. As we sat on the bench at the airport talking about "pilot stuff" afterward, the FBO manager came out to tell us he was locking up for the night. So we finished our talk, he went to the parking lot and I walked over to prepare Sally for the flight home. The nose tire was low. My fault, I had been watching it closely and adding air after every other flight but I should have taken the time to fix it. Instead, here I was with a problem.

First, double check to see if any maintenance is available. Next, double check the preflight for anything else. Finally, taxi check to see how she handles. Wide easy turns at first, then tighter turns going down the taxi way convinced me she was controllable. I opted for a soft field takeoff to take us back to Butter Valley. Along the way I thought about the landing. No winds to speak of, I opted for RWY 16. That way I wouldn't have to turn to back taxi. I executed a soft field landing keeping the nose wheel off as long as I could. We landed long and slow with just enough energy to clear runway. There wasn't any steering problem at all, she landed straight ahead. I pulled onto the little asphalt pad I use for my run up area and shut down. The tire was flat.

The next morning Harry stopped by, and using his airplane tractor towed Sally over to his shop. There was a very small leak at the base of the stem of the tube. The wheel pant took a beating but nothing so serious it can't be repaired. The lesson learned (once again!): Don't let problems linger. Address each issue immediately BEFORE it can turn into something dangerous.

This week it was time for  a fresh oil change. I know it shouldn't make a difference but Sally just seems to fly a lot better with a new filter and a clean reservoir of oil.

Note 7N8 over the brim of my hat.
We've been flying out of Quakertown a lot lately. Some Discovery Flights, a few transition to LSA flights and the occasional drop in just because I like the runway there. Before the Discovery Flight with Maria, the airport manager asked me to stop by and talk with him about an idea he had. He asked if I would consider moving my operations to KUKT. He offered some interesting incentives and I feel that the overall training environment would be much better. Plus, I'll be able to fly at night again. We plan to make the move next month.

The Airport Authority includes the Quakertown, Doylestown and Van Sant airports. As a new small business at the airport, the head of the authority invited me to attend the 2014 Small Business Conference for Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, in Quakertown, PA. It was a GREAT opportunity to meet the local small business community and hand out business cards. It also gave me time to meet and talk with John, the head of the Airport Authority (a proponent of LSA). It was a good day.

Next week Sally and I plan once again to find our way down to Addison. A new service bulletin has been issued on the wing connection assembly and I decided to have the experts take a look at Sally. It also gives me the opportunity to go flying for a few days. I like that.

Reference: A biased news story - Safety last: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage

"The real story here is media bias and editorial malpractice, not the dangers of aviation or manufacturing defects. The article insinuates that huge numbers of people are dying in small airplanes, and that the cause is largely manufacturing defects. Both conclusions are untrue" Reference: Unfit for Publication: How USA Today Got Everything Wrong

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