Friday, December 01, 2006

Haven't had a chance to fly much lately. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I took a couple of my uncles out to see the plane. I demo'd it for them. It was fairly windy though, so I just took off, circled and returned. I took off with the same dog on the runway and had to fly past him before landing. Gotta love it! Luckily this plane lands in a very short distance.

Keep checking back, I hope to do some flying soon.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nice Fall Saturday

Usually if I don't get to fly first thing in the morning, it doesn't happen. The wind usually picks up as well as the temperature. Today, though, I went to work and when I came out at noon, it was a beautiful, calm day. It was 75 and absolutely no wind.

As you've seen in previous posts, my EGTs have been running high. I adjusted the needle and added a little oil to my gas mixture and wanted to try it out. I did an unusually long run-up to make sure everything was okay. I put on my seatbelt and helmet, checked my helmet one more time to make sure it was tight, looked to make sure the dogs weren't on the runway and pushed the throttle to the limit. I was off in no time and I knew I had picked a great day. I circled the field a couple of times to make sure everything was okay. If I reduced or increased my throttle from my normal cruise RPM the temps were fine. I will still need to get a new needle, but it was okay for today.

I quickly grew tired of circling the field, so I headed West toward Florence. It's a small town just west of Georgetown. I circled the town a few times, waving at people and then headed back toward my field. I decided I would climb for awhile. I reached about 5,000 feet and it was very cold. I would fly with one hand and then switch off. I quickly reached the field, so I decided I would fly up and down I-35 for awhile.

I was still high, so I flew a wide, long pattern and as I lined up on final, I noticed something on the runway. I decided to land a little long and sure enough it was one of the big black dogs that lives there. He never even moved! I had a nice landing and laughed at a car that was driving next to the field when I landed. I don't think he expected something to drop out of the sky!

All in all, a good day. Nice to be in the air again.

This field actually looked blurry, it's not the photo!

Looking back.

My field.

Wayne's house and runway.

A couple of tractor shots for Robert Laird!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

High EGTs

After talking with a few UL pilot's with more experience than me, I decided to try moving my gauges back to their original location. I was told vibration can cause a bad reading in the EGT gauge or that I might have pinched a wire when moving them. After moving them, I took off and circled the field a few times. No luck, they looked the same. I then decided to try adjusting the needle. It was in the second to lowest position, so I moved it to the bottom notch. This helped a little, but I think I'll have to try a different needle and maybe even rejet it. I flew it over to Wayne's house (maybe 3 miles) and then returned. Good news is that I got into the air, bad news is I still have work to do.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fair Weather Flying

I couldn't stand it any longer... I had to leave work early (after only 9 hours!). It was calm, 82 degrees and it hasn't been like that for awhile. I did my normal preflight and changed the plugs and then I was off. I've had a little trouble with landings lately and I think I finally figured it out. I thought back to my tailwheel training many years ago and I could hear my instructor telling me to get the stick back into my gut. As I was setting up on final, I kept reminding myself to flare low to the ground and upon touching down to get the stick back. It worked flawlessly. Even as I would bounce a little, the plane would settle right in. It worked for 6 landings, now let's see if I can keep it up.

Now that I can land again, I have to address the fact that my EGTs (Exhaust Gas Temperatures) are climbing. They're now hitting 1200 and around 1175. This is not good. I'm going to try adjusting the carb needle, but if that doesn't work, I will have to tear the engine down and check it out. It could need to be decarbed, but doesn't really have enough hours. The fun of owning your own plane!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Breakaway Park Fly-in

Breakaway Park, a fly-in community in Cedar Park had their annual fly-in yesterday. It was too windy for me to fly and I think a few other pilots were wishing they hadn't flown either. There were more than a few scary landings! I haven't been able to fly to a fly-in yet, but I've got another shot next month.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Returning to the Air

I recently lost some family members in a plane crash. It probably hits a little closer to home due to the fact that I've always been involved in aviation. Aviation has touched my life in many ways, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I've seen a lot of people lose their lives. More times than not, it seems to be pilot error. We've all made mistakes. I once had a school owner/instructor tell me, "If you land and tell me that you had the perfect flight, I'll never let you fly my planes again." There's always something you can improve on. You should always be your worst critic.

I read this quote and wanted to include it: Life is not measured in the number of breaths you take, but rather by the number of moments that take your breath away. This is what flying does for me.

On a lighter note, I made the repairs to my plane. I replaced all of the bearings and lubed them properly. I also went over the entire plane again, checking the tightness of all bolts and looking for anything I could find wrong. After assuring myself that my craft would bring me back, I started up and lined up for takeoff. I took a moment to remember the events of the last few days and promised myself to be extra careful. As I climbed out, I relaxed. It's always good to be back in the air. I circled around a lot to make sure the ailerons were working as designed and then headed toward my house. I flew over the rock quarries that are everywhere you look, and then headed over our new outlet mall. Never ceases to amaze me how many people flock to a place where they think they'll get a good deal. I'd rather pay a little more and not face the crowd. Anyway, I circled my house a couple of times and then headed east. I flew around the Dell Diamond, Nolan Ryan's baseball team plays here - the Round Rock Express. They were warming up for a game. I then looked down and saw a truck in a field. I suddenly felt a little worried as I realized that I was looking directly into the barrel of the machine they use to launch fireworks. I was in no danger, as they don't fire them off until after the game, but not my favorite place to be none the less. I headed back north for the field, checking out the new toll roads they're building. It's nice to see what so many people never will. It's also nice to fly over a big empty highway. If you have to have an engine-out, this is the place! Back at the field, I greased a landing and smiled as I had enjoyed another hour of flying.

Round Rock Premium Outlet Center

IKEA - new furniture store

Three shots of the Dell Diamond

Nice Pond

I didn't stop to pay the toll! Catch me if you can.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Scary Flight

Well, I wish I could just post about another lazy day of flying. It started out that way, but on the way home, I was really wishing I was on the ground.

I started the day by letting a little air out of my tires to reduce the bouncing I've had on landing. I also cleaned my plane and did my normal, thorough preflight. I took off and headed north. Central Texas is called the Hill Country. As you fly north or west, you can see why. I took some photos of a house up on a plateau. These people are living the life. I also flew over a lake I've never flown over before - Stillhouse Lake. It's a decent size lake and has a nice long bridge over it. I raced boats and everyone waved, what a nice day. I then headed toward my friend Hubert's field. As I neared his field, I saw him flying. He landed and I followed him in. We stood around talking for awhile and as I noticed the wind starting to pick up, I decided head home.

I took off and circled around, waving to everyone and then turned west toward my field. Everything seemed fine at this point except there was a lot of turbulence.

I was bored with straight and level flying, so I turned right and when I went to turn back to the left, something didn't feel right. I tried again and it seemed mushy. I looked over at my left aileron and noticed it didn't move when I moved the stick. I looked back to see my aileron push-tube leaning backward, not connected. At first I thought maybe the bolt had come out, so I reached back to check it. I found it was broke. It was hard to stay composed at this point.

I could still control the plane with the rudder although not very well. The wind wasn't helping either. I decided to land at my friend Wayne's field so he could help if I crashed. As I lined up on his runway, I realized the crosswind was too much here. I flew down his runway hoping he would come to my field.

It got harder and harder to fly with just the rudder. I considered putting it down a couple of times, but decided if I got hurt, I might not be able to get attention. I flew out to line up for a long final approach to my longest runway. Everything seemed fine. It's amazing how many things can go through your mind in a short period of time. I don't want my girls to grow up without their Dad. I knew I could be seriously hurt or killed and I even considered I had better odds of crashing than landing safely. I wasn't scared, but sad. As I got closer, everything was going well, so I made the decision to continue. I also decided there would be no go-around. It was now or never. As the main wheels touched, I knew it was almost over. It was a very nice landing and one of my favorites. I taxied up to the hanger, got out, and sat down. What a flight! The lesson I learned is to lubricate everything well. If this had been my elevator, I would be dead. There is not a doubt in my mind.

King of the World - Can't you just imagine a runway up here?

Washed Out Bridge.

Little Church

Stillhouse Lake

Wounded Bird

This little part almost took me out.