…is better than the best day at work.
Today wasn’t the worst day I’ve had flying, but it sure wasn’t the best. I didn’t have a plan or a destination, I was just going for the sake of going – it was a sunny warm day (if a bit breezy) and I was relishing the thought of flying without having to shovel snow, pre-heat the engine, and all that stuff. I took along my film camera with the thought of taking some scenic pictures.
My “plan”, such as it was, was to head to the east. My only reason for choosing east is that 99% of the time I head west or south, and I wanted to do something different. One of the reasons for avoiding east is that Rochester is near the edge of the sectional chart, so going to the east means having both charts open. Because of the lack of plan, I was going to just loaf along at 2200-2300 rpm.
While heading east, I spotted some ice fishers out on one of the Finger Lakes so I descended and took some pictures of them. I had been cruising at 3,000 feet where it was a bit bumpy, and when I descended it got much worse. After taking pictures of them, I climbed back up to 3,000 and started heading north east towards the lake. It was quite hazy near the lake – there was a lot of moisture in the air from all the melting snow and ice and the air coming off the lake. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if it had snowed or rained at the lake. At the lake shore, I descended again, circled and photographed a little bay where a row of houses with docks were free of ice, but behind them were more ice fishers.
Once again, I climbed back up and headed south. Over the Finger Lakes again, it was extremely bumpy. Unlike the Finger Lake I had been over earlier, this one was clear of ice, and there was a flotilla of sail boats out. It looked like a sailing lesson going on, because the sail boats where clustered around a motor boat, and only one of the sail boats seemed to be actually moving at a time. I circled around taking pictures, and then headed north west.
After a while, I realized I was north east of Penn Yann. Just for practice, I tuned the Penn Yann NDB and intercepted and tracked the 0 degree radial from it to Penn Yann and continued down the 180 degree radial away from it. Afterwards, I tracked a radial off the Rochester VOR. But even climbing up to 4,500 feet it was getting annoyingly bumpy, and I was starting to feel a little air sick. So I shoved the throttle forward in order to get home quicker. Of course, the wind was against me, and even with 115 knots airspeed I was barely making 85 knots ground speed. I didn’t want to climb up any higher though, because I was heading towards Rochester and my GPS was saying it was time to start my descent. (The GPS is programmed to tell me where to start descending if I want to make a 500 foot per minute descent to the pattern altitude.)
I had the thought of taking a series of pictures during the approach and landing, but after getting cleared to land, I got too busy. I was too high, the cross wind was tricky, and so I didn’t take any pictures.
Not a great day flying, but better than sitting around doing nothing.
2 thoughts on “Even the worst day flying…”
Reminds me of a time, maybe 1976, when I was building up solo student hours. Usually, I’d take one of Dirty Harry’s $10/hr C150’s, fly over a modest mountain range, do a few stalls, go down to do pattern work over the nice square farms, make a few touch and goes at Livermore, and trundle back to Hayward.
One time, the cloud cover was low enough that I couldn’t quite fly over the mountains, so I had to squirrel through the valleys. That’s when it hit me that flying was fun.
No GPS, no transponder even, and the one NavComm had vacuum tubes (nuvistors) in it.
A couple of times when I was circling around people on the ground, I almost wished I had a Cub or an ultra light. Doing a bit of low and slow can be nice for a change, but an Archer isn’t really a good low and slow airplane.
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