More Sim-IR time with a sunrise.

Flew up to Mansfield, Ohio this morning with my pilot buddy Jared. It’s not a long flight there and back but then the weather forecast was not looking so perfect either. Nothing against Mansfield, Ohio, but we didn’t particularly want to get stuck there through a thunderstorm.

Weather was reported as marginal VFR at KOSU when we took off and looked like this as we took off from runway 9R:

6:00 AM, on a Sunday.

Moderately low cloud cover. Felt like it was going to storm at any moment and the radar said we had about an hour and a half or so. Just enough time to get to Mansfield and back.

Flying north, we were able to get ahead of the weather and things opened up for a beautiful morning over Alum Creek.

Sunrise over Alum Creek, May 2017

We caught the last remnants of fog escaping the ground as we closed on KMFD and flew through a few wisps as we descended towards runway 14.

Fog over Mansfield, Ohio

Then finally, a right base-to-final turn onto the runway to complete the first leg of the flight.

Right base-to-final into runway 14, KMFD

Jared and I swapped roles during the stop-and-go landing at Mansfield and he took off while I acted as safety pilot.

There’s a neat little private airport community just to the east of Alum Creek. They’ve got a private grass runway and hangars for community use. Never landed there but was able to get a decent shot of it today.

Grover Field, private grass airstrip east of Alum Creek.

Then finally, we moved into the rain as we approached our origin at Ohio State. The tower was manned by then but no flight activity at the field, so we were cleared to land while still about five miles out.

KOSU, runway 9R with just a bit of rain on the windshield.

And here’s a YouTube video of the flight if you want to watch live.

Flying with a glider pilot

I have been a track coach with the local Special Olympics group for eight years now. At a recent track meet, I found out that one of the fathers is also a pilot and has spent most of his time in recent years in gliders.

He probably cringed at my power management today, but in my defense, it was cross-wind every time and just a small bit gusty. Still, I’ll chalk today up as a learning experience.

Our flight out of KOSU went around Ohio Stadium then downtown Columbus. After that I gave Larry the controls and had him take us over to Grimes-Urbana (I74) and then we did a full-stop landing.

Short final at Grimes-Urbana airport, I74

Why a full stop? Because today was the first time I was testing my suction-cup GoPro mount and somehow I forgot to turn the damned thing on. So we stopped at Grimes-Urbana and turned it on. There’s a video of the flight back to KOSU below.

When flying in to I74, there was a lot of traffic. They happen to have a very popular diner there. We came into the pattern on the downwind for runway 20 then turned for final.

Larry got a great shot of the planes lined up and waiting for us to land and get off the runway.

Short final, I74. 3 planes waiting to take off.

Crosswinds gave us an approach some would call “unstable” but honestly, in a light sport, any uneven wind gives you an unstable approach. The damned thing weighs 700 lbs empty and blows around like a leaf. It’s a good thing the control surfaces are so large.

Anyway, we came down pretty smooth. The only real complaint I had about the landing (besides the power management on approach) was the fact that we gave the gear a bit more side-load than I normally do.

I won’t write home to mom about this landing.

Oh. And the centerline. Ugh.

Anyway, we stopped for a moment, stretched our legs, determined that the GoPro was still suction-cupped to the airplane (and actually started the recording this time) and went back to KOSU.

Here’s the video!

A trip down to Southern Ohio for some sim-IFR training

I’ve got a Private Pilot License which allows me to fly just about anything, anywhere, at any time. But a lot of pilots call the PPL only half of the license because the major restriction is that you must always remain clear of clouds. That means that a pilot is often grounded when he doesn’t want to be.

The instrument rating is a rating added to your license that allows you to fly under Instrument Flight Rules and therefore fly through clouds. But there’s a lot of flying that has to be done first before you can take your Instrument test:

My current progress towards my Instrument Rating.

The first two are complete or nearly so. The last two are easy enough to knock out with an instructor when I get close to the exam time. It’s the middle requirement that takes a lot of time & money.

40 hours of time is as much as you need for the entire Private Pilot License, and this rating needs another 40 of actual instrument time or simulated instrument time. Actual instrument time is time spent in clouds. Since I’m not allowed to do that yet, I would need to pay for an instructor to go up with me for all those hours. Simulated time means wearing some “foggles” that attempt to limit your vision to only inside the airplane. You don’t need an instructor for simulated time, but you do need another licensed pilot to act as a safety pilot while you are wearing your blinders.

So I’ve found a new friend & safety pilot to fly with lately and we’ve been taking short flights to build the Sim time. I fly with the foggles on the way out, and he flys with them on the way back. For a 1 hour destination, we each get about an hour of Sim time, an hour of cross-country time, and due to some weird glitch in the FAA matrix, we get to double-up on Pilot-in-Command time while someone is wearing the foggles.

This trip we went down to Portsmouth, Ohio (KPMH). It was my first time flying due South and it was kind of nice to see something a little different than endless Ohio farmland.

Southern Ohio hills covered in haze.

But we did also see plenty of farmland too of course:

Wet farms in Southern Ohio.

And on departure we did something a little different than we normally do, we flew under the Columbus class C shelf at a little under 2,000 feet.

At that altitude we were actually dodging radio towers.

Columbus from under 2,000 feet.

It was a good flight and it’s always nice to see a new airport. Looking forward to returning to Portsmouth again!

A Sightseeing Tour

I took my friend Denny up in the plane today. He was a flight attendant in a previous career so he was no stranger to airplanes but this happened to be his first time in a small airplane.

It was a bit windy, 16 knots gusting to 24 from the southwest. KOSU made that just extra easy by having a nice runway heading the same direction.

KOSU Airport Diagram

We took off from runway 23 and proceeded to meander our way around northwest Columbus before contacting ATC to coordinate a little sight seeing over campus and downtown.

The Oval, Ohio State, 4/15/2017

Denny got a nice shot of the Oval and a piece of high street.

Since we were right in the way of departing traffic from the big airport, we scurried south a bit to take a loop around downtown Columbus.

Columbus, Ohio 4/15/2017

This is a shot Denny took from just west of the city. The Scioto River is the beautiful brown waterway running through the shot.

After playing around the city, it was time to get out of the path of departing traffic and play around with the clouds.

Clouds were at around 10,000 feet today so we spent about 15 minutes climbing to that height over Delaware, Ohio.

10,000 feet in the air. Level with the clouds.

Then it was time to let Denny have the controls. As an ex flight-attendant, he was a natural. No fear of the plane. Just comfortably put us in a few unusual attitudes on accident that I had to correct so we didn’t die.

If you know what body of water that is… let me know!

Sun was setting. Time to get home. Wind was coming down just a little bit but still a bit gusty. Since the plane is so small and gets kicked around by even relatively light winds, we did a no-flap landing at a little faster speed in order to have a little more rudder authority.

Fun day in the plane!

Snowy Horseshoe

Took a new passenger up in the plane a bit before Christmas. We only had an hour or so to kill so I did my standard “new passenger” flight which is a short sight-seeing loop around Columbus.

The Columbus airport is due east of the stadium as you can see on this google map cutout:

Stadium circled on left. Airport highlighted on right.

This means that this particular area of sky can be very busy or completely clear depending on the wind direction.

Planes, as you likely know, take off and land into the wind. Around the stadium, I can ignore planes taking off. They climb fast enough that they are well above me by the time they get to this part of the sky. It’s the landing planes that have a long shallow descent and tend to interrupt photography sessions.

So as long as the wind is out of the west, which it usually is around here, this is pretty easy airspace to navigate. Except for the helicopters.

The Shoe in snow, Dec. 15, 2016

Short Final

I’ve taken a lap around Columbus a time or two, but my right-seat photographer had only gone up with me previously at night.

Besides being super hot, it was otherwise nice flying weather and a good chance to get some daytime city shots. In addition I was able to grab a few shots of a couple runways as we were on short final.

As always, I took off out of Ohio State (KOSU) and then headed southwest. Not for any particular purpose but because we took off to the west and I wanted to get out of controlled airspace for a bit to grab a few pictures before heading back over campus.

Hayden Run Bridge over the Scioto River looking west.
Hayden Run Bridge over the Scioto River looking west.

Power boating (wakeboarders, skiiers) to the south (left) of the bridge, rowers to the….well, rowers pretty much go wherever the hell they want to.

After getting clearance from Columbus Approach, I took the plane over campus. We were instructed to stay under 3,000 feet above mean sea level which in that area of town is only a little over 2,000 feet above the ground so we got some decent shots. Here’s a good reprise of a stadium shot I’ve gotten a few times before. Probably the best quality shot to date.

IMG_9557
The Horseshoe, Ohio State University

Next move was to head south to swing around the city. Columbus Approach was busy and they were happy to have us move south of the departure lane of old Port Columbus.

Turns out it was the Jazz & Rib Festival and we got a couple shots of the booths set up on the bridge across the river. I should have gone down there this year, looks great in the new location along the river.

IMG_9615

Jazz & Rib booths set up across the bridge.
Jazz & Rib booths set up across the bridge.

Nice real estate a little west of the city:

Nice commute into work.
Nice commute into work.

Now that the city tour was over, I wanted to head west and do a quick landing. Madison county airport is a familiar place for me from my flight training and I enjoy stopping by from time to time. Not a whole lot of other planes in the pattern but enough to keep the radios lively. We followed one plane in and then bugged out to the north.

Madison County Airport (KUYF)
Madison County Airport (KUYF)

After a quick touch & go, we headed northwest and I let my passenger handle the controls for a bit. Before heading back home to Ohio State. Here we are on short final, perfect glide slope.

KOSU - Two white, two red.
KOSU – Two white, two red.

Looking forward to the next trip. Maybe up to the lake and a pass over a few islands.

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!

Antrim Lake

Antrim Lake is a small lake along the Olentangy River to the north of Columbus. There is an improved path that loops around the lake and it is a popular spot for joggers, dog walkers, and stroller-pushers.

There’s even a “secret” unimproved dirt path that runs in a wider loop around the lake if you want to let your dog off-leash to really run around or just want to avoid the more crowded regular loop.

Alum Creek

This was a picture I took on the way back from my private pilot checkride today. What’s that mean? It means I’m officially a licensed pilot. Not a student pilot with some solo privileges. For any non-pilots reading this, you probably don’t care about the checkride so this is a shot of Alum Creek from the north. You’re looking at the creek part of Alum Creek close to me, and also the lake part of Alum Creek off further in the distance which most people in Columbus are more familiar with.

In the gallery of photos below, I also have a picture of a rainstorm as I skirted around it as well as a few more shots of Alum Creek (lake-part).

For any pilots reading this, the checkride was very much the most nervous test-taking environment since I took the Bar Exam. My examiner kept things relatively conversational and easy-going, but honestly I don’t think my muscles have been so tight since the first time I solo-landed an airplane.

We had to dodge a little weather and I had to dodge a bit on the way home, so here’s a few pictures of the rain cloud and the only good shot I could get between the way up and the way back.