Three Bass Islands (and a bomber)

Today was a day I’ve been waiting for since the pilot’s license was barely in reach. I flew from KOSU to Port Clinton where I picked my dad up. Gave him a quick rundown of emergency procedures and off we went.

We were third in line for take-off in the busy weekend traffic but we were waiting on this B-17 Bomber to land, so it was worth it. Impressive!

B-17 Bomber landing at KPCW August 7, 2016
B-17 Bomber landing at KPCW August 7, 2016

When it was our turn to get in the air, some mildly turbulent air caught him off guard on take-off and I got an exclamation out of him. So far so good.

The plan was to land at each of the three Bass islands: North Bass, Middle Bass, and South Bass. Only Middle Bass allows touch and go landings, so we would land full-stop on North, touch and go Middle, then land at South Bass to grab lunch.

Heading north from KPCW, we passed the Catawba Island Club, tried to get a few snapshots for some family friends.

Catawba Island Club from the east
Catawba Island Club from the east
Catawba Island Club from the west
Catawba Island Club from the west

During the weeks leading up to this trip, I tried unsuccessfully to find a connection at the ultra-exclusive Rattlesnake island to give us an invite to land & lunch there. No luck. Best I can do is a couple pictures from the air.

Rattlesnake Island from southeast
Rattlesnake Island from southeast
Rattlesnake Island from northwest
Rattlesnake Island from northwest

Next up was the landing at North Bass Island (3X5). The runway runs almost north-south (01/19) and we were landing on runway 01. It’s also only 1,804 feet long and 60 feet wide. Not a lot of room for error in any plane, not even a little one like the light sport I was flying.

north bass island
North Bass Island approaching from the south

 

North Bass Island, Runway 01 - Short Final
North Bass Island (3X5), Runway 01 – Short Final

We stopped, someone was mowing the grass near the runway. We saw one car drive down the road that runs parallel to the runway. There isn’t a whole lot to do here if you don’t live here. Not even a restaurant. So, we hopped back in the plane, back-taxied and took off!

Next course of action was Middle Bass Island. The turbulence was starting to pick up as the afternoon wore on and my right-seat passenger was having trouble getting a steady shot. This is the best we got of Middle Bass on short final:

Middle Bass Island (3T7) Runway 10, Short-final.
Middle Bass Island (3T7) Runway 10, Short-final.

Here’s a better shot of the airport in general on Middle Bass as we flew towards North Bass earlier:

Middle Bass Airport (3T7)
Middle Bass Airport (3T7)

After a touch & go on Middle, we swung to the south for the very short hop over to South Bass. We got a good pass over the bay itself and it was as busy as you would expect on a beautiful summer Sunday.

Put-In-Bay, with Perry's Monument
Put-In-Bay, with Perry’s Monument

Now I was hungry!

Put-In-Bay (3W2), Runway 03 - Short final
Put-In-Bay (3W2), Runway 03 – Short final

I reserved a golf cart earlier in the week, but unfortunately it turned out to be the slowest golf cart on the island. We got passed by a mother walking her baby in a stroller. Oh well, at least we had shade.

After lunch it was back to Port Clinton to drop off dad and fly myself home.

Port Clinton (KPCW) Runway 9, Short final
Port Clinton (KPCW) Runway 9, Short final
VFR on top in the cool air, heading back to KOSU
VFR on top in the cool air, heading back to KOSU

What’s different about this picture?

This was a very short flight. My intentions were to go to brunch with a friend over at Airport I74, Grimes-Urbana. There’s a fantastic diner there right on the tarmac that gives you a great view of the landing and departing aircraft.

It’s only a short flight, but unfortunately, the cloud cover got lower and lower the further west we flew out of OSU. As you can tell it was broken cloud coverage and I could see the tops. So for the first time since I became a pilot, I flew “VFR on top” and got a nice view of some low level cloud cover.

IMG_1639

The rule of cloud cover in most airspace is that you need to need to remain at least 500 feet below, 2000 feet away, or 1000 feet above. The reason for that is that if there is a plane in the clouds, you need to have some time to avoid them if they pop out near you.

I was still worried that if I got all the way out to Grimes the cloud cover would be too low and I wouldn’t be able to land, or worse, after brunch, wouldn’t be able to take off. So, I made the decision to turn back.

IMG_1640
My friend Ezra co-piloting this flight while my wife and his fiance were out dress shopping.

All in all, a fun little flight made all the more so by going on top of the clouds this time.