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.

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