Monday, April 19, 2010

Rainy Day Flying

It had been awhile since my feet had left the ground, so even though there was a 10% chance of rain last Sunday (4/11), Travis and I decided to give it a shot - 90% chance it won't rain on us, right? As usual, I jumped out of bed way too early and I was checking AWOS as I was driving to the airport. It was reporting 2,000' ceilings and as I got near Taylor, I could see the lights on the water tower shining a circle on the clouds! Still, I wasn't going to give up.

After Travis showed up and the sun had peaked it's head above the horizon, we setup for launch. In the daylight, we could see we wouldn't set any new altitude records, but there was plenty of sky to fly in.

I was nervous since I had adjusted my prop and this would be my test flight. As I started rolling, the chute came up perfectly, I gave it a quick check and was quickly off the ground. All was well and I was off into the gray.

Travis was quickly in the air and we discussed heading South. The winds were very low, but predicted to be out of the South later, not to mention we don't fly that way often. South it is.

So we headed West (I know!) flying low over some large fields we know well, just enjoying the day. I eventually pointed out that we weren't flying South and told Travis I wanted to check out a field we'd seen from the ground. We flew around the field a few times, then I turned and flew over the school next to the field. Something red caught my attention and I realized it was a hot-air balloon setting up! I circled a few times and they waved back at me. We watched them take off and it was nice to see the flame lighting up the whole balloon in the darkened sky. The bad thing about a dark day is that most of my photos didn't come out. :-(

We decided to head back toward the airport. Travis then mentioned he thought he was being rained on! He was a little behind me and I wasn't getting wet, but quickly decided it was time to get on the ground, so we made a straight in, 3 mile final. At two miles, I heard someone make a radio call, but it didn't sound like it was at Taylor. Maybe it was, because a helicopter flew right across my path! I just flew above his path, then chopped the power and dropped in. Travis was about a mile behind me and didn't see the helicopter, but felt the wake. I came in low over the field, then flew about two feet off the ground back to my trailer and set it down nicely. After we got the PPCs put away it started to sprinkle.

All in all, it was a good day of flying. I noticed after landing that my gearbox was leaking, so I won't be flying for a couple of weeks, but no big deal. Can't wait to get in the air again!!

Travis wasn't sure if he was going to fly or rob a bank, so he dressed for both!

The engineer waved at me!

I'm glad we don't have to have a setup and chase team!

I found this nice little waterfall I'd never seen before.

Spraying for bugs?
The wildflowers are out. Hopefully next time I get to fly they'll still be there. I've seen more bluebonnets this year than I've ever seen before.
In case you forget where we fly!

Robinson R44 at 10 o'clock!
Travis landed by a patch of wildflowers.
Grounded for now. :-(
Hopefully I can get this fixed and be back in the air soon!

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