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:


Ron Bearden said...

Your new place looks great and I really do understand what you mean about flying when it is too windy or making decisions when friends are around. You have inspired me! I plan to start carying my camera and taking a few shots around the Charping Field area. forward your stuff to the HALF folks and let them see what Central TX is like!!! Good Luck. Ron B. PS...we need to get this stuff tied to the CAUFO web site.

Anonymous said...

It's Mom & I just checked out your blog. I always knew you'd fly! Just be careful. I know there are some pretty powerful angels watching over you for me. I think you got some of your daredevil genes from me & Powie.