Wedding anniversary flight with wife!

Weather looked great for the weekend of our anniversary so I booked one of my usual planes at the club to take up to Cleveland and back for a local area vacation.

The day before the trip, a student pilot at the club had a very rough landing and did some damage to the plane I had reserved. The student is fine (physically) but the plane is out of commission for probably 1-2 months.

To salvage the trip, I took another plane up with an instructor right away to get familiar with a different airplane and have the club sign me off on being able to rent it, so that’s how I ended up taking a “SportCruiser” up to Cleveland.

Burke-Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio

So this is Burke-Lakefront, an airport I have wanted to fly to since early in my lessons. It’s a gorgeous airport right on lake Erie and within easy walking distance to downtown Cleveland.

Not to mention, you get a SPECTACULAR view of the Browns stadium if you are doing a standard pattern entry to runways 6R or 6L.

First Energy Stadium, home of the Browns! Cleveland, Ohio

After landing (smoothly this time), we grabbed our bags from the plane and walked about 10 minutes to the downtown Westin.

The nice thing about the sport cruiser is the baggage area is easy to get to and is pretty large sized in comparison to most light sport airplanes. The bad thing about the sport cruiser is that it has a bubble canopy cockpit (glass roof) which in bright sunlight makes it pretty warm even at altitude and it is even slower than the other light sports I am used to.

My wife and I enjoyed our one-night stay in Cleveland. Caught a comedy act at “Hilarities” and had a lake view from the 21st floor of the Westin. Awesome time had by all.

Taking off, KBKL 24L

We had great weather on the return trip. Only a slight headwind.

Cleveland, Ohio
Lake Erie off of Cleveland, Ohio

Smooth air all the way back to Columbus until we had to descend below the cloud layer.

6,500 ft over (very) scattered clouds.
Descending underneath the cloud layer.

Had a great landing back at KOSU (love the way the SportCruiser floats), parked, and headed home.

See you later Cleveland!

Cleveland, Ohio

Flying to dinner up north

I was taking my old friend John up for a flight to Put-In-Bay to grab some dinner. John has a few in-laws that are also pilots so this was nothing new to him. Around 1/2 way up there though, we got a text from my parents inviting us to eat at the yacht club. Change of plans, we’ll land at Port Clinton instead and get a bite there.

But since we’re already at the lake, might as well do a quick tour.

Rattlesnake Island to the left, Middle Bass Island is the large island on the right. North Bass Island is the island in the background.

After touring the local islands, it was time to drop in at PCW. Never landed on Runway 18 before there but it has a nice approach over some intra-coastal homes.

Short Final, KPCW, Runway 18

After that it was time to head back. We were running later than planned and definitely going to get a little night flying in, but luckily as you can see from my previous post, I am night current so hauling a passenger was no issue.

We flew high on the way back to get the best wind. Here is what northern Ohio looks like from 10,500 feet.

Northern Ohio, 10,500 feet

It’s all the same. Farm farm farm farm farm. If you spend all your time in Columbus, Cincinnati, or Cleveland and you don’t seem to understand Ohio or Ohio politics, this is why. This is Ohio. The cities are just little dots on the map.

Speaking of which, here we are straight in to runway 23 at night at KOSU.

A little north of highways 270 and 315 heading south to the OSU airport.

Night currency

Private pilots are allowed to fly at night with no more restrictions than they have during the day. However, to take passengers up at night, pilots need to be “night current” which means having performed at least three take-offs and full-stop landings within the last 90 days.

I hadn’t done any night flying for a while but I might sometime this summer so I decided to get night current again by taking a short solo flight around the local pattern for a couple stop & go landings.

Pre-flight for a short solo night flight.

The thing about night flying is that it’s tough to see stuff in the dark so it’s good to fly at a familiar airport. However, of all things, this particular evening they were using Runway 5 which I have never taken off from nor landed on.

Taking off is no big deal, I know the airport layout pretty well these days. But landing on an unfamiliar runway is a bit eerie even when you know there are no obstacles on your glide path.

Short final runway 5

It was a good flight, and it’s nice to be night-current again. Maybe a fireworks flight this summer?

Lunch at Grimes-Urbana on a windy day.

Took my friend Ezra out for lunch at a local airport diner. Ezra has flown with me a few times before so this was nothing new. But it was a little windier than normal and I had him do most of the flying between OSU and Grimes-Urbana so we weren’t as stable we might have been.

This left him with a queasy stomach as we came in to land for lunch.

Landing in a decent crosswind at Grimes-Urbana airport. Runway 02.

Still, lunch was had, or a late breakfast anyway.

We decided that with the brisk winds and the queasy stomach, that it might be better if I did all the flying back to OSU. We had a nice tailwind coming back so the trip was a few minutes shorter, unfortunately, as you’ll see in a moment, it was not quite short enough…

Here’s a great shot of KOSU and the plane in the pattern to land.

OSU airport from 1,000′ above ground level. Downwind runway 27L.

Here is a video of my landing.

Ezra holding his bag of puke. Gross.

I feel the need, the need for speed!

So the plane I fly most of the time is what’s known in the aviation world as, um, “slow”. Lightweight, responsive as fighter jet, plenty of cargo room, but slow. 110 knots (~125mph) is about the top speed you can run it at for a long trip. Still, since you don’t have to follow roads, you can get somewhere in about 1/2 the time as you would in a car. Which is nice.

However, 110 airspeed could mean a lot of things in terms of ground speed.  With a strong enough headwind, you can even fly backwards!

Flying 5.5 knots backwards!

 

In this picture, look in the blue circle to determine the direction the plane is facing, which says 313. That’s north-ish. (0 = North, 90 = East, 180 = South, 270 = West, 360 = North again). This is a magnetic compass.

In the red circle, there is the GPS track. This is the direction that the GPS is tracking the plane. It clearly has a southerly route at a leisurely 5 knots. While the plane is flying forward through the air, the air is fast enough that I am actually flying backwards over the ground.

Anyway, the fastest submitted ground speed (at http://GroundSpeedRecords.com) for this particular type of plane was 155 knots. We went up today to beat that record.

Here’s a shot of us at 161 knots over the ground. We were cruising along at about 115 knots through the air.

161 knots over the ground for the new GroundSpeedRecords.com record (we have 163 in video).

Who was I flying with? Well my flight instructor! Someone had to hold the controls while I took pictures!

This is what the clouds looked like:

Cloudy day

And finally a cool shot where you can see the snow path. In the foreground are all the farms with natural colors, then a snow storm path with snow over the fields, and in the background, you can see the natural colors again!

Snow path

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.