3/4/2001


Went flying again on Sunday... that was my 5th flight in my Quicksilver... No one else was around (as is usual, but I can't figure out why since it's calmest in the early morning), so I had to push 3 airplanes out of the hangar just to get mine out, and then I had to put them back in and lock it up before I took off. It's a pain, but it only take about 10 minutes (to get them out... another 10 minutes in), but I have to do it all over again when I put the Quicksilver away. Sigh.

Most hangars in the area are full, so even if they weren't more expensive, I couldn't get a spot. There's one airport not far which is supposed to have a door for each airplane, so there's no pushing things around. That would be wonderful, but even if they had an open hangar spot, I'm not sure it'd be worth the extra $35 month.

The wind was about 5mph from the North, and the runway was pretty soggy toward the north end. However, since I have to taxi to the south end and take off from the south end (towards the north, of course), and since I've got an ultralight that takes off in 75 feet, it wasn't an issue. I was 50 feet in the air before I even got to the halfway point on the runway!

It was a little bumpy, but not much, and it didn't bother me. I don't know if I've said this, but I've also gotten over the "OMIGODI'MREALLYUPHEREWITHNOTHINGAROUNDMEANDI'MGONNAFALLOUTANDDIE" feeling... It's still a thrill, that's for sure, but I'm now confident that I won't fall out! <sheepish grin> On this flight, I didn't dawdle, but headed straight for the beach. However, above 1000 feet, there was a pretty strong headwind from the north, so although I might be able to get TO the beach, I wasn't too sure about getting back. Consequently, I flew to the "training area", which is about 2/3rds of the way to the beach, before I turned around. Sure enough, when I turned around, the headwind slowed me down considerably... I think my ground speed was only about 30-35 mph. Plus it was colder up at 2000 feet (the altitude that I settled on as smoothest), and although most everything was pretty well protected, my wrists were exposed because the wind blew my sleeves back a bit. They really got cold! (I wonder if that helps or exacerbates carpal tunnel? <g>)

Flying at 500 feet (and lower) is a LOT of fun! But flying at 2000 feet, you get to see a lot more. If it were easy to go up and down, I'd be doing that all the time! <g> But it isn't, so I have to settle on one way or the other, or, at least, don't count of the change being all that swift. When I was coming back, I could see the airfield and realized I needed to lose altitude pretty quick, so I pulled the throttle back to about 5200 (6200 is high-cruise) and pointed the nose down. My airspeed jumped up to about 55mph (normal cruise is 45mph), and I lost altitude, but being so inexperienced I wasn't sure if I'd really get down in time. I kept my nose down at a pretty sharp angle, keeping the air speed below 60mph (my never-to-exceed speed is about 73mph), and managed to get down to 500 feet just before my final leg. The rest of the landing was pretty normal, except that the wind speed must have been almost 15 mph when I landed, so since my stall speed is about 25 mph, I was only going about 10 mph ground speed when I landed... Needless to say, it was a really short landing! And, since I'm getting better at putting the plane down at the very beginning of the runway (good practice for when I start flying those 747's), I had a lo-o-o-o-ong taxi back to the hangar.

On the ground, it was probably 65 degrees...it felt warm and wonderful. Only my wrists were actually cold, but the rest of me was pretty cool. I had on long-john bottoms (for my legs), jeans, then a t-shirt, polo shirt and sweatshirt, and all that was topped by a flight suit. Don't know what the temps were aloft, but I'm guessing 50-degrees (but you have to remember I was dealing with a wind chill of 40-50mph!). The sky was blue from the ground, but when I was up at 2000 feet, and looked out, parallel to the ground, there was a dark pall, a yucky layer of pollution ... yech! And I was flying around in it... made me cough just thinking about it. The air was hazy, not really all that clear, but again that was something you didn't notice from the ground.

I went home after that, but planned on going back out in the afternoon when the winds were SUPPOSED to die down, again. My brother was scheduled for another lesson, and I actually talked my wife into going down there.

Well, the winds were gusty, about 10-15mph from the north and west, and stayed that way. So she was bored, I was busy doing things to my plane, my brother chatted with his instructor, and eventually... about an hour later... we left and drove home again. My brother is a little discouraged because this is the 4th time in a row that he's driven down there only to be disappointed by the wind. I think that if it wasn't for my flying, he'd have given up by now... but he sees me flying, and sees the excitement, and he just can't wait.

So that was my Sunday ... it rained all day Saturday. Today I'm a real sicko... coughing, sneezing, blowing ma doze, and wishing I were home in bed. But I don't get paid there. So, I'm toughing it out here at work... but I might go home a little early and catch a nap before I have to pick up Cameron and do all the family stuff.