Nearly a month since we had flown. Too long. I stopped by the FBO to get the pin to access the south gate, then drove out to the line to park near Sally. She looked lonely baking in the Florida sun, but I would take care of that today.
Localization 1: to become familiar with the local airport, its normal operations, ground procedures, and traffic patterns. I had printed out the Airport Directory page from AOPA and studied it before turning the key. The winds were out of the south east, a "fielders choice" between RWY 18 or RWY 5. Sally started easily. A ROTAX likes to be warm. No one was currently in the pattern so I chose 18 and announced I would leave the ramp area and take taxiway Alpha to get there. I noticed tents were up on the other side of the canal and wondered what event was taking place. Before I locked the canopy I heard cheers from the crowd.
Sally was running great with well over 4900RPM static check. We lifted off and corrected left for about 8kts of crosswind. I looked down at the canal and found a Regatta taking place; sculls racing along the waterway. A beautiful sight, I turned crosswind once over the interstate. Field elevation is only 20ft, so I leveled at 1000ft for my downwind leg. There is a special kind of joy that comes with flying the landing pattern at a new home field, and I love the new sights from this airport. I'm anxious to explore but today was devoted to learning this airport.
A float plane announced his entry and said the crosswind was a bit stiff for him and would take RWY 5 instead. No problem, I adjusted my pattern to enter midfield for RWY5 and practice some landings with the winds from my right.
It was a great workout. I logged 6 and all felt good. (Two were great!, one was too high and I had to slip her in.) I taxied back to our new tie down spot...in the shade. Not a hangar but at least protected from the sun. (and the snow won't be much of a problem.) A good sized lock box allows me to store cleaning supplies and other essentials. I like it.