To Ely, MN

I flew to Ely, Minnesota in August with my friend Jared.

Jared on right, me on left.

He takes a regular trip with his family into the Boundary Waters (BWCA) and my in-laws have a cabin on a BWCA lake. In order to avoid driving and to get some flying hours in, we took this tiny plane from Columbus, OH to Ely, MN.

Red line is actual GPS route. Blue line is simply airport-to-airport route.

We were trying to avoid flying over large bodies of water because when you’re in a single engine airplane, you don’t have a lot of options besides swimming if your engine goes out (ours didn’t).

We meant to get fuel after Chicago but the day we were flying we had 30 (thirty!!!!) knot headwinds even low to the ground. It was stupidly impressive bad luck. So we had to stop in Gary, IN to grab some gas before heading up again.

Gary, IN

After grabbing gas, we were off. We saw the Blue Angels parked on the north ramp of the airport as we were taking off but it was too late to grab a picture. Turned out they had a show over the Navy Pier in Chicago a little later in the morning.

We know because we flew through the TFR (before it activated).

Chicago from the most expensive seat available.

We thought we only had about 15 minutes to get through the TFR which we thought we could barely make, but also thought if we’re going to get intercepted, would be pretty cool to get intercepted by the Blue Angels, then realized the time change to Central and that we had an extra hour still before the TFR went active. The Blue Angels did not intercept us.

Next we flew up towards Duluth. Still staying low because of the ridiculous headwinds, but that meant things were also super bumpy.

Jared puked for the first time ever in a small airplane. I always have a puke bag in the plane for emergencies but never expected to use it with two pilots on board.

So Jared pukes. The turbulence and motion wasn’t getting to me until then, but that puke-bile smell? Oh yeah. I could feel it.

The problem was that I only had one puke bag in the cockpit. If I had to hurl, it was going to be in the same bag Jared used earlier. Gross.

Furthermore, Jared told me point blank that if I hurled, he was going to need the bag back to go again.

Faced with the prospect of sharing a puke-bag and passing it back and forth, we decided to land and take a 45 minute break.

We felt better after taking off (and getting the back-up puke bag from the baggage compartment).

Anyway, here’s Duluth:

Duluth, MN
Duluth, Sky Harbor Airport

After turning the corner at Duluth, we went along Minnesota’s North Shore to drop Jared off in Grand Marais.

Two-Harbors on the North Shore of Minnesota

Then finally, with the plane to myself, I flew over the Boundary Waters due west to land in Ely, MN.

Somewhere in the BWCA between Grand Marais and Ely. Endless untouched nature.

Was a fun trip. 9.3 hours in the plane due to the ridiculous headwinds. I was super happy to get a burger on the ground.

First business flight! Dodging thunderstorms and filing evictions.

So, as I mention in my “About” page, I am an attorney by profession. Although I am primarily an estate planning attorney (wills, trusts, etc…), periodically I will have to do an eviction while settling an estate. As time went on, I decided that I would pick up evictions on their own, not just in association with closing estates.

At any rate, I had an eviction to file in Hamilton County and decided to fly down if possible. Well, I did, and I got caught dodging thunderstorms. The image at the top shows me going northwest around a thunderstorm before turning south to Cincinnati. That added an extra 45 minutes onto the flight.

Along the way though, we passed a few places we otherwise would not have seen from the air.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
King’s Island Amusement Park

Even with the diversion, we made it into Lunken, Cincinnati’s regional airport. It’s quite close to downtown and an Uber ride was just a couple bucks to get me to the court house.

Cincinnati Municipal Airport – Lunken Field (KLUK)

See how nice the skies were when I came in? Gorgeous blue with a few clouds.

Well, they weren’t so nice coming out. I made it out of there about 15 minutes before it was enveloped in thunderstorms which would have blocked me in for another 4-6 hours. Then I had to dodge a few cells to avoid lightning on the way out but otherwise had a pretty direct flight back to Columbus.

Short advertisement: If you need estate planning, give me a call at my office.

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.

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!

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.