Monday, January 23, 2012

Flying Over Friends

Saturday I drove out to KH. Phil was still there after a test flight. Joe had replaced the intake rubbers and this seems to have stopped all of the roughness with the exception of a minor amount around idle. Nothing like the hiccups it was having before.

Since the engine was still warm, I didn't prime it, which is our normal procedure. It still took forever to start and I eventually got the attention of Howard, a local Luscombe pilot. He said it was flooded and to turn the prop backwards twelve times with the throttle halfway open. This worked and within a few swings I had it running.

We took off and headed North to Wayne Janousek's place. I would have landed if I'd seen him outside, but buzzing his runway didn't bring him out though. He's rebuilding a Chief and I wanted to check it out.

We then headed East to Hubert's parent's place. We flew down their runway once then headed further East to fly by Hubert's house. Finally we got some attention! Hubert's sons came out and waved at us.

I had Travis do a few stalls, power-on, and power-off. I then demonstrated a power-on stall where I pulled up sharply. The nose gently dropped as I expected and then the left wing rapidly dropped! I didn't expect this, but picked it back up with the right rudder and told Travis he almost got to see his first spin! Yee-haw!

We then flew into Taylor to get some fuel and use their restroom (no not because of the near spin!). After fueling, I again found the engine flooded and used the procedure Howard had mentioned. It took a few pulls and she was running smoothly.

We were off again and flew by Travis' house. His family looked out of the window but stayed inside. We flew by a friend Paul's house and sent him an aerial shot of his house.

We headed back West and flew over Chris, then headed further West for a low pass over Breakaway Park! A Bonanza was landing 15, so we followed him in. I told him I was only making a low pass. He landed and waited at the other end for us to fly by. He then took off on runway 33, made another circuit and landed in about the time it took us to get North of the airport! I stayed West of the airport and headed North to Kittie Hill.

Soon we were back at KH, crossing over mid-field for entry into a right-downwind for 35. We taxied back to the hanger and I shut it down by pulling the fuel this time to avoid flooding it.

This day is a good example of the fun you can have flying a small plane and not really having anywhere to go! I had so much fun I never even pulled out my camera.

So now we think the plane is almost dialed in. Phil called Howard and he thinks it's flooding since the new needle in the carb is steel with no Delrin tip. This allows some fuel to weep. Hopefully this solves all of the problems. One more tweek of the idle to increase it slightly and I think we'll have some good worry-free flying ahead!

Jack "No Engine Problems" Fleetwood

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday at Kittie Hill

I went to Kittie Hill Saturday morning with the expectation of finding a muddy airport. I was wrong. It was dry and the winds were calm... hmmm, maybe time to fly? I had planned to hook up my new RAM Mount for my iPad so I did that and after a few tries, I was happy with the location.

While I was in the hangar, I heard the guy in the hangar behind me pull out his Super Cub. I planned to go take some photos of him. He had trouble starting it though and ran his battery down. I walked over to find him trying to prop it and not having much luck. I went over to help. Lee, his hangar neighbor came over with some starting fluid and with that and a lot of swinging the prop, I got him on his way.

While he was taxiing out, I walked over to the runway to take photos of him. I saw a plane coming in. It turned out to be a very nice Bearhawk. I snapped a few shots of them. It was a couple coming in to see their daughter. I drove them out to the highway since she couldn't find the airport, then went back to the hangar.

The Chief had around a quarter of a tank and I knew Phil planned to fly later, so I headed up a for a quick local flight. The iPad location worked well except when the sun hit it, then I couldn't see the display. I flew around for awhile, then back into the pattern for a couple of landings. A 172 came over from Georgetown and landed. I saw the passengers taking photos of me! It was a fairly short flight, but I got off the ground and met a couple of new pilots.... I'll call it a successful day!

Monday, January 09, 2012


Saturday was a long, but fun day. Travis and I had planned to fly out and get some BBQ. I arrived at the airport before he did and when I opened the hanger door, the first thing I noticed was the oil access door was missing from the plane. It had been coming open during flight and my first thought was maybe Phil had taken it off to work on it. I looked around the hanger, then called Phil to see if he took it home… nope. He was disappointed and figured it had fallen off on his last flight.

I started walking the runways looking for it. Phil told me which runways he had used and I checked them from end-to-end. Travis showed up and we walked them again, even going across the highway to see if it had fallen off when Phil was on final. We didn’t find it.

Phil and I figured it would be okay to fly with it off, so I checked all of the cowling screws to make sure they were tight and we took off for a test flight. We flew for about 20 minutes, then returned to the field to get fuel and check the cowling again. Everything was fine.

After fueling, we headed out West. I took off and handed the controls over to Travis. We were flying West when I decided we should go back to the original plan of flying for BBQ! I checked Foreflight on my iPad and we were pretty close to being on course.

As we neared Llano, two Blackhawk helicopters called that they were flying over Llano and asked if there was any other traffic. I told them where I was and they said they had me in sight. I used the very nice turf runway and Travis commented on how nice it would be for powered parachutes. It was so wide we could have taken off across it in a PPC!

After tying the Chief down, we went into the terminal to get the courtesy car for the drive into town. I was impressed with their terminal. The last time I’d been there it was a dump, but this time it was very nice. They gave me the keys to an old church van that had seen better days, and we were off. After a very good $50 lunch at Coopers, we had to sit around at the airport for awhile before jumping back in the plane!

On the way back I showed Travis where the bald eagles nest. We stayed high so we wouldn’t disturb them as required by law.

When we arrived back at Kittie Hill, Charlie was out rolling the runway I normally use, so we used one I’d never been on before. Then we taxied back to put her away and reflect on the day. It was just a perfect day for flying. As I’m typing this, I hear the thunder rolling and know that the field will be too wet to fly off of for awhile, so I’m glad we got over 2 hours in!

Nice house.

Underground house.

Dome home.

Man cave?

Controlled fire.

Arriving at Llano

The Blackhawk helicopters flying over us.

The Chief in Llano

A very nice Husky. Look at the size of those flaps!

The Chief ready to go.

The Husky flying over the Chief.

I actually got a photo of an eagle. I was up pretty high.

Lake Buchanan Dam

The Falkenstein Castle

A Luscombe slipping in on final as the sun was setting.