Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fragments of Glory

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
24 Mar 2018 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - DSV (Dansville, NY) - SDC 1.3 1772.8

Three specs clustered ahead on the horizon, two Champs and one Colt. From the radio chatter, I knew that Lee's Colt was in trail behind the Champs at 3,100 feet. A cyan triangle on my ForeFlight display indicated that the transponder-equipped Colt was three miles ahead. As primary targets only, the Champs were ignored by the ADS-B system, stealth ships as far as the FAA's traffic information service was concerned.

I flew alone alone in the Warrior, the last of four aircraft to launch from Sodus at 7:30 am that morning for breakfast in Dansville. I wrestled with conflicting desires on how to manage my power settings. Pulling the power back (way back) would keep me from blowing past my friends in the other three airplanes. But I also wanted to get the engine oil hot and operating at low power would not do it.

They teased me on the radio that morning when I taxied into line behind them at the departure end of Sodus' runway 28. "Look, there's a real airplane joining us this morning!"

"Mornin' Chris," Lee added kindly.

Southbound over Canandaigua Lake

I pulled the power back 100 rpm to reduce speed and studied the iPad. Lee was flying a line directly from Sodus to Dansville, so I deviated to a southern heading toward the north end of Canandaigua Lake. Having lost track of them for a few moments, my eyes swept the sky for the two Champs and found them already sliding past my right wingtip as distant white dots. My detour followed a favorite sightseeing route that carried me over Canandaigua Lake from north to south, then along the natural contours of a valley that approached Dansville from the southeast.

GPS ground track from ForeFlight showing my route from Sodus to Dansville.

The scenic route worked well as a delaying vector. Although I was the first of the flight of four to arrive, the others joined the pattern right behind me.

On the ramp, I was joined by Lee in 70Z (left of frame), Mike (right of frame) in a Champ, and Alan (background) in his Champ. The main hangar at Dansville received a facelift last summer when the original WWII era hangar doors deteriorated too much to salvage. A shame. The original facade had so much more character.

August 27, 2017: Construction on the Dansville hangar in progress last summer.

Breakfast was not quite so hearty and fresh as what I enjoyed with the guys the last time I joined them at Whitford's. There was some banter around sending a photo of the breakfast group in our fast food surroundings to John in Weedsport.

"To guilt him over how far our standards have fallen?" I asked rhetorically.

Lee, Mike, and Alan queued up to depart Dansville, Runway 32.

If the breakfast itself was less than glorious, the company was excellent and it was a truly beautiful morning to fly.

Conesus Lake

Departing Dansville, I climbed above a scattered layer to enjoy an aerial view from on top of the gauze.

Near Canandaigua, I saw it; a partial glory cast upon the fragmented hints of clouds hovering below. In that moment, a routine flight on a nice day became something a little more magical.