Twice in a week!
Wow, it's been a long while since I've been up flying twice within a few days.
Today marked my second passenger, and one who was fittingly appropriate - my cousin Steve, who was along for the familiarization flight the very day I got officially hooked on flying in the summer of 2004.
Shortly after this flight, I officially became a student....and here we are!
There's video - click the pic to check it out..
(There's also a video of my approach and landing at the bottom of this entry)
Getting a plane arranged was a bit of an adventure. Thanks to "b" at Canadian Flight Academy for handling my multiple phone calls and requests.
We showed up early to triple-confirm that it was fueled according to what I needed in order to be legal for W&B. The plane was just leaving for another flight when we got there, and I was told it would return with the fuel probably in the range of what we required..
I've came to the conclusion that I really need to get checked out on the 172 - the anemic weight carrying capacity of the 152's meant that todays flight could almost not happen, as we were dancing right on the edges of staying legal.
I had to put the 5# flightbag on the back wall where the W&B Arm was 94 in order to push ourselves back into the envelope. Gross was another concern, hence my obsession with the fuel in the tanks.
But, it all worked. Barely. :-)
We went out and killed some time at Future Shop (Think Best Buy, for my American readers) and returned just as FOOU was cresting the numbers on 04 on it's return. Great timing.
Runway 04 is the active, and I picture ourselves getting stuck in a lineup of planes waiting for the bactrack from Bravo taxiway, but surprisingly when I call the tower when ready to depart, I get a backtrack and takeoff clearance immediately - there's two other planes in the circuit, but they're not in our way.
A cautious backtrack ensues, as the end of 04 is snow covered and slippery. Turned around, it's full power, and we're off.
The conditions were OK, but once again attention to the VFR minima were required. On departure I had filed for 2500 feet, but at 2000 I realized we were about as high as we were going while still maintaining minimums. Visibility was about 15 miles I would guess, depending on what direction you were looking, so that wasn't so much an issue as the clouds were.
I advise the tower of our revised altitude and they check remarks, and clear me enroute at the same time.
I don't really like flying this low - I feel like I'd be pressed to find a forced landing location in the unlikely chance one was necessary. I know that that's probably unwarranted, as the area we are flying over is full of nice open fields, but I still feel like I should be higher regardless. My comfort level begins at around 2500, and I feel better yet in the 3000 range.
As we trekked east the skies opened up and I climbed briefly up to 3000 for a better view. Steve snaps pictures as we pass over his old house, and continue along eastwards.
We turn north, and the clouds are low again ahead of us, so I decend back to around 2300.
I get some good exercise in pilotage as he requests we fly over to a location that we both spent alot of time at as kids. (Long story)
I know where it is, so I plot out our current location using references on the map, and point us in the general direction of where I believe we should head - and blammo - there it appears, right off the right side of the nose.
Funny how that works! :-)
We circle for a few minutes and Steve snaps pictures. Although it's certainly not the first time I've flown over it, it is the first time I've picked it out from the air and actually spent some time sightseeing over it from aloft, so it's kind of cool.
However, I'm discovering that there is one downside to being PIC, versus just being "Along for the ride" - it's that you can't just spend time gawking out the window at the sights - one must actually concentrate on flying the plane.
My training comes back to me, as I'm mentally reminded that spiral dives most often begin with the "Hey, look down there at that!" circling turn routine. The pilot spends too much time looking out a side window, and before long the nose drops and airspeed is heading through the roof.
Don't get me wrong, I look down and catch some views, but I keep my main concentration on flying. I can always look at the pictures later.
We head up over the lake and checkout all the ice huts and snowmobile tracks. For having been such a mild winter, I'm surprised there's as much happening on the ice as there appears to be...especially considering on Wednesday a good portion of the lake on the eastern end was wide open.
This is the same parts of the lake that I used to snowmobile on as a kid in the 70's and 80's. Caution was needed as it never really froze more then a foot or so thick near our cottage area, but to see it wide open for a mile or so in the beginning of February attests to the mild winter we have had.
All the more reason I question the ice huts, although they are quite a ways west on the lake, and presumably the ice is a great deal thicker there. Hmm.
Perhaps a little early, I figure we'll head back. Over Port Perry we call the tower.
The active has changed from 04 to 12 - I'm not exactly dissapointed about this.
Tower reports another 152 climbing out to our exact altitude. I don't see it, nor does Steve, and when I tell them this they ask me to stay on the West side of Simcoe street, and the other plane on the east side. Eventually he reports clear of the zone behind us, although we never did spot him.
The only other traffic is a single 152 just turning base - easy to pick out.
Unlike my last flight, I make a gracefull approach followed by another landing which I'm quite proud of (See video below - my passenger filmed it with his digital camera, and it came out great!)
Landings like this me realize exactly how far I've come since the last time I took video of my landings, which were quite alot.. *ahem*....firmer, back then. :-)
I exit at Charlie and do the post landing checks. Tower passes me off to ground, and I get a clearance to the north apron.
As short as it was, it felt like the (almost) perfect flight - if only it wasn't for those pesky clouds.
And another logbook entry ensues.
Gotta love it.