Archive for February, 2009
Believe it or not, this was only the SECOND time that Chris has been up with me! While she was pregnant with Payton, she joined Garret & James in the 172 I qualified in, but after that she thought she would be too uncomfortable in the seats, so we have not gone since that day in August.
But on Friday night, we did the downtown Dallas tour in the SportStar! What a fun ride! The night was very clear thanks to a cold front that was moving through, and we were not the only group that decided the flight would be a good idea. That was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. Partially because of the north wind, we had jets on approach and landing right through our flight path.
In the future, with a north wind, I might just pass on the scenic tour.
We did our tour and headed back without incident. Only an hour of flight time, but it was a great hour spent with Chris at 1,500 feet.
Yes, it really was 4.4 hours today. It was cross country day! Lee & I tried to do a similar trip in October, but the weather prevented my landing at the airport. It may be IFR at an airport, but it sure is VFR on top!
We departed KDTO at about 9:30 as planned (though we were delayed slightly when I lost page N-11 of the POH for the aircraft… found it wedged between the seats), and headed south for Lake Whitney (F50). I should mention, we were flying the same aircraft as yesterday, N8348M. It’s a Cessna 172, but made in 1998 with GPS and fuel injected goodness.
Landing at Lake Whitney was interesting. Why you ask? Because it is only a 2,000 foot runway! That’s short! I had PLENTY of space, but when you are used to landing on nothing smaller than a 3,000 foot runway, it looks the size of a quarter. It’s shorter than Possum Kingdom, where I did three cross-country solo flights. Anyway… we landed and braked, then turned around to take back off… no touch and go there. (Edit: The way it read at first suggested we did not land there… we did! And I used more than half of that 2000 feet!)
We stopped, I took a leak, and noticed that it is the hub for the Whitney RC Flying Club. Makes me feel really comfortable taking off there. We did it without incident, and took some pictures of the lake house from the air. Then headed down to Llano.
After parking, I noticed that big monster you see above parked! It’s a Cessna Citation V. Oh so sexy. What it is doing in Llano is anyone’s guess.
So then we ate, fueled, and took off. Headed north to Lee’s lease. Got some shots there, then headed to the 4J. More pictures, then headed home.
We were met with a 35-45kt headwind when we were headed south, and to maintain VFR, we had to fly below the clouds. While not a challenge, annoying to say the least. We did get to ride the same wind back home. First time I have exceeded 150kts over ground! We got back in no time.
I feel very comfortable flying in heavier winds now. In both cases, the winds were either straight down the runway, or a 10-20 degree cross. VERY minor cross, even though the winds were easily 20kts gusting to 25 or 30.
FUN day of flying! I’ve got to figure out how to rig my 5D Mark II to the wing strut or something so I can take some nice high-res shots.
Well, the economic situation is affecting companies far and wide. My old flight school is shutting down. I was not renting through them for the flight I am planning for tomorrow, but was renting through someone on the field. I heard this news when I tried to confirm my reservation, and apparently, the whole thing is imploding.
Didn’t get a call, so if I had not checked in, I would have been SOL tomorrow. Thank goodness I did!
So what I did today, is got set up with another flight school at Denton Municipal Airport (DTO) and did my checkride with CFI Kyle. Things were WINDY, and VFR was close to minimums, but we got it done. So it looks like there won’t be too many more stories about Northwest Regional (52F) for a while.
Cloud dodging is not fun. We did it, pulled some Gs, kept the aircraft within limits (barely), but it was definitely a great experience as I feel like my personal minimums have improved slightly.
The last landing today almost turned into a carrier landing. 20kts steady, gusting to 30, with a 20-40 degree crosswind component. We were riding one of those gusts at about 20 feet above the runway, and it abruptly stopped. No worries, add lots of power, only dropped about 15 feet, recovered nicely and set it down uber smooth.
Both landings were that way. If it is calm tomorrow, I am sure I’ll have a rough one… comes with the territory.
Anyway… Felt good after today to be back up in the air, and looking forward to the flight tomorrow!