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?

Return trip from St. James to Columbus

After the baby baptism my intention was to stay the rest of that day and take off the next morning but weather was getting in the way. I had clear weather that afternoon (albeit a bit windy) but it was potentially going to be cloudy the next day. That would have potentially stranded me for a few days. Between having good weather for sure and chancing it 18 hours later, I took off that afternoon.

I passed directly over Harper’s Ferry, IA again.

Harper’s Ferry, IA on the Mississippi River

A little later, I followed a section of the Wisconsin River

Section of Wisconsin River between Mississippi and Madison.

Then Madison. It was tough to get a decent picture or even a half-decent picture as the light began to get a little dimmer. Here’s the best I managed.

Madison, Wisconsin

I had to stop for fuel as it got darker and made a pit-stop at KENW. Then it was time for one of the reasons for the trip in general: The fly-by of Chicago at night. As I discussed briefly in a previous post, to stay out of Chicago’s airspace, you need to fly low and over the water. If you don’t, you risk having Air Traffic Control vector you half-way across America to keep you out of the way.

Chicago, IL at night from over Lake Michigan

The remainder of the flight was quiet and smooth as I flew over Indiana and Ohio farmland before arriving at my home airport.

After getting a strong head-wind the entire flight back, it felt great to get out of the airplane and stretch my legs.

Columbus at night!

 

IMG_9247I needed to do a night flight to maintain my currency, so I went up Monday night. It’s tough to keep up with night flights in the summer since sunset is so late. It was 9:05pm on Monday, and “night” for pilots doesn’t start until an hour after that. A 10pm takeoff is pretty late for a guy who is normally up at 6:30am day-in and day-out.

 

Check out this time-lapse video of the flight:

 

IMG_9370Did a few landings at Delaware’s airport and then flew south to circle Columbus once. I wasn’t planning on swinging by the Horseshoe since nothing was going on there, but Approach gave me authority without even asking so I figured why pass up the opportunity?

 

After that, I took a nice leisurely circuit around the city center and then, with currency fulfilled, returned back to base.

I’ve got a few photos in the gallery below, take a look!