Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back in the Air

I received this email while still on vacation in Pennsylvania:

"Just a quick note to let you know that the Decathlon, N5030G, has returned from its engine overhaul. Moose and Allison are completing the "break-in" process of the engine as we speak. We anticipate having it available for training this weekend."

Followed by this one a few days later:

"Please remember you have the following reservation on Saturday:

8KCAB N5030G beginning 01/06/07 10:00A until 01/06/07 11:30A"

The weather on Friday was horrible. A line of nasty stuff reaching from the gulf up through South Carolina blew through with heavy rain and a few whirlwinds. The forecast for Sunday was bad due to a cold front moving in from the northwest. Fortunately, Saturday was beautiful. We had light fog in the morning due to the unusually high temperatures (60s) that cleared off by mid-morning to reveal a beautiful blue sky. Visibility was better then 20 miles.

I got to airport before the CFI/owner, in time to get the Decathlon out of the hanger and start the preflight. I was nervous. It had been a long time since the last flight, and the airplane just didn't seem familiar to me. Plus, I was intimidated by my new instructor. I'm always a little nervous when someone I respect is looking over my shoulder. Humility is good for the soul. Once he arrived I briefed him on my plans to use his airplane. I was disappointed to find out that his insurance requires 100 hours tail wheel time before I can solo. Since my logbook still shows less then 50 hours, its unlikely that will happen this year. So, I need to decide what my new objectives will be.

Once I climbed into the airplane I got more comfortable. The CFI coached me through the start and the ground procedures went well. We decided to go over to Cartersville (VPC) to get away from the traffic at home. He discussed stick position while taxiing the plane in windy conditions. Run up was normal.

Tower advised "No Delay" on the takeoff due to traffic and we departed to the west. He briefed me on his preferred climb and cruise settings as we enjoyed the beautiful calm morning. VPC was busy too, with two already in the pattern and another two joining behind me. (I remembered why I don't like to fly on Saturdays.) My initial pattern was too wide, and my traffic extended too deep forcing me drag it in. The CFI asked for a 3 pointer. I failed to hold my corrections long enough to counter the crosswind which resulted in a slight skid on landing. Not my best. Full stop and a taxi back gave me time to appreciate what I had done, maybe a 5 or 6 after a 3 month layoff.

The next two weren't much better, but my comfort level soared. The airplane was becoming familiar again, and the CFI was becoming a new friend. I love flying.

I decided I could use some observation time, and asked for a wheel landing demonstrated at RYY. The CFI took the airplane and I sat back and watched (keeping eyes out for traffic.) Tower cleared us for a right downwind following traffic on final. As we turned base tower called traffic, a NORDO (No Radio) on left base. After a few s-turns and adept maneuvering he demonstrated a beautiful wheel landing. I learned a lot.

It was about 38 miles out to VPC, 25 miles back. We climbed to 3590 feet and reached 158 mph over the ground.

Time = 1.3

1 comment:

plaskon said...

Dave sir -

What device / application are you using to generate 3d maps of your flight paths?