Saturday, July 29, 2006

Finally Moved the Plane

I got up this moring and the wind wasn't blowing - first time in a week. I headed out to the plane and started preflighting it - was that a breeze? Started fueling the plane, which takes awhile since I have to take my large gas can and pour it into a smaller can so I don't spill it all over the wing. My windsock started to twitch. As I fired up the plane and taxied out, I noticed the neighbor's flags were standing straight out. Oh well, decided to go for it. After leveling off, my airspeed was showing 80 mph at only 5600 RPM. A small part of me wanted to turn back, but I was in it for the long haul. The clouds were low, but not too bad:

It was a bumpy, but quick flight. The landing was perfect - nobody was there to see it. I got the plane stowed away in it's new hangar and headed out.

Later a friend of mine, Jack, who has a Quicksilver, wanted to see the field. So a few of us headed out there. This is where I made a mistake. I've been flying for a long time and I know better. I decided to demo the plane for him. It was way too windy. I knew better, but there I went anyway. I knew shortly after takeoff that it was going to be rough. It was a lot harder to turn the plane than normal and it was very turbulent. After a fly-by I lined up to land. After a bounce or two, I threw the throttle forward and decided to try again. One good decision. Second time around and I was having trouble lining up. For a plane that doesn't have a lot of surface for wind to affect, it sure found a way too. I again bounced down the runway and was quickly running out. If you look at my Google Earth phot of the airfield, I was landing on the north-south runway and I found the plane turning very quickly to the west. If I hadn't had this long runway (east-west) I would be telling you how I crashed. I had to turn hard right and fly down this runway. I made it, but it was close. I made it on my next landing, though this one wasn't pretty either. Pretty or not, it was over and both the plane and myself are in the same condition we were during the preflight. I know this is long-winded, but there's a moral to this story. If you're not sure if it's too windy, it is. I hate what I did today, but I will learn from it. Hope you do too. Maybe the real moral is don't make decisions when friends are around. Not that there was any peer pressure from them, but I probably felt more comfortable with them around.

After putting the plane down, I broke out the riding mower and found it to handle incredible well no matter what the wind was doing. Amazing machine.

Some more photos from today:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Airfield

Well, I didn't have to panic for very long. I found a place to keep my plane. It has a T-Hanger that I can shelter the plane in and it even has three runways. Three runways just for me! I need to do a little clean-up on the property, but overall it's nice. There is a guy there that works on wings for Cubs and other wood and fabric planes, so I get a little security - he's always there.

Anyway, it's been too windy to fly, so I haven't moved the plane yet.
Here's a Google Earth shot:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Last Weekend - Things are changing quickly.

Saturday turned out to be a very nice day, so I was up and at the plane by 6:00. Got in the air and decided to fly NorthEast. As I was nearing the town of Georgetown, I remembered the owner of a field where I attended a fly-in. I had just got my Airbike assembled and didn't get a chance to fly that day. He told me to do a fly-by when I had it going. Well, I thought, today's the day. As I turned final, I saw a yellow plane that I thought was the owner's Cub. It turned out to be a Quicksilver. I throttled back and proceeded to perform my worst landing yet. Something about number of people watching... After finally getting it down, we stood around talking a while. The Quicksilver owner asked if I wanted to fly back to his place and off we went. I had to throttle back quite a bit to stay behind him, but it was my first formation flight. What a blast. He also has a nice plane and a very nice hangar. I'm jealous. After visiting for awhile, it was getting warm so I headed back to my field. It was the bumpiest ride yet, a lot of thermals. My camera wasn't charged, so no photos.

Sunday, I decided to mow my runway. The owner of the Cub had flown by and from the air noticed it was getting very long. When someone notices from the air, that's when you know it's too long! Just as I was getting the riding mower ready, a car pulled up. Long story short, this lady told me she had put an offer on the property and wanted me off by August 4th. I asked if I could stay long enough to find another place, as it will take awhile for her to get her house moved in and ready to live in. The answer was no. No matter what I said, she only had rude answers. I always knew the land could sell, but the owner was asking way too much.

A little background: I knew a guy who crashed his Stearman into power lines a couple of years ago. His widow called me and said she'd heard I was looking for a hangar. She offered me the space incredibly cheap and I've been there a few months. It was fun while it lasted, but now I'm in panic mode again. Got to find a new home for my baby. Guess worse case senario I will take the wings off and put it in my garage again. Hope I don't have to do that.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Early Sunday Morning

Made it to the airport early this morning. Around 6:30 I was ready to fly. There was a little fog, but it wasn't too thick. After I took off, I circled toward the lake. It was nice and cool, and the fog was fairly thick over the lake. The photos didn't come out great, but you get the idea.

Here's a shot of a train bridge.

Looks like it's time to mow my field or maybe I'll keep taking it with me on my flights:

All in all, this was a great morning flight. I was a able to go fly, work on my plane all before going to work. If I didn't have to go to work, the day might have been perfect :-)

For those of you who don't know me, this type of flying is new to me. I've always rented planes. I've spent the last 6 years flying a Decathlon and doing aerobatics regularly.

So even though I miss flying upside down, I really don't miss the $92 / hr this plane was costing me. It is nice to only have to worry about the weather. I don't even consider the cost of fuel, I just fill it up and go. Also, I didn't know what I was missing flying in an enclosed cockpit. I love being out in the open. I've flown a Great Lakes biplane before, but it was nothing like the Airbike. Probably the greatest thing however is the fact that this plane is mine. I know exactly what maintenance has been done and it's alway available. Now if I could just stop flying long enough to clean the plane and mow the field!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Took a nice long flight last night. I got to the plane around 6 pm and decided to head out. I took off and headed east. I flew to a little town called Rockdale and did a couple of touch-n-goes there and then circled the town for awhile. They had a carnival and rodeo (This is Texas) going on and I got a few waves. I then learned a valuable lesson - don't fly east a few hours before sunset. My return flight was due west, into the setting sun. I found out how scratched my windshield really is. I then took the Airbike to it's highest flight with me, 4,500 feet. It was nice and cool, but it's always hazy around here. It was nice to have a radio, I like to know where the other planes are. After a nice relaxing flight, I was home. I pulled the power and circled the lake a few times to get down and pulled off a nice wheel-landing. It's always sad to put the plane away, but I was beat. I only managed to put in 1 hour, but that's the farthest I've been from my home base.

Thorndale - First town along my path.
Another shot of Thorndale

This is a power plant outside of Rockdale.


Almost home - looking back.

This is my airfield.

I've drawn a line where my runway is.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More Flying

I've had a few more chances to fly. Still trying to learn the plane. My next step will be to set up a battery so that I can run my radio and GPS. I'm also going to build a console in the front to hold things such as my camera, snacks, etc. Here's some photos I've taken.