Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Bluebear of Spring

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
27 Apr 2013 N21481 5G0 (LeRoy, NY) - IPT (Williamsport, NY) - 5G0 2.8 1140.1

With spring finally, resolutely, in the air, The Bear and I flew southward. We were bound for the birthplace of Warrior 481's engine: Williamsport in lovely Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.  Kristy and I visited Williamsport back in 2007 to eat at the Skyview restaurant on the second floor of the commercial terminal there.  It was mediocre and I did not contemplate returning until reading another blogger's recent glowing review on Cloud 9, the restaurant that replaced Skyview.

It was time for another $100 hamburger run!

Sure, she can devour books like nobody's business, but dressing herself is still a bit of a challenge.

(Ok...full disclosure...I did not even notice the improperly buttoned sweater until my wife pointed it out in the picture.  Honestly, the sweater was short lived as the day grew warmer.)

"Daddy!  Look at my glasses!  I'm an old person!"  I wondered if that was a dig at me.

Having just started back into instrument training (more on that in a later post), I decided to fly airways to Williamsport, hopping from the Geneseo VOR to the Elmira VOR to the Williamsport VOR.  This was also my first long flight with the iPad and a Stratus running Foreflight (after several shorter hops in the local area to get comfortable with them).  Before using the iPad, I was very worried about it overheating and shutting down.  Most of the comments on the Interwebs read something to the effect of "keep it off the glareshield and all will be peachy."

We turned southwest toward our destination airport from the Williamsport VOR, which put direct sunlight on the iPad where it was strapped to my right leg.  Five minutes later, it went into over-temperature protection mode and shut itself down.  So much for that taxiway diagram I had been planning to use on the ground at Williamsport.

Similarly, I have also worried about temperature issues on the Stratus, but it has reliably sat in the middle of my backseat on every flight with good satellite lock, good ADS-B signal, and no hint of overheating.

I was slightly closer to the airport than a Piedmont Airlines twin turboprop carrying passengers.  I had the airport and the turboprop in sight, the tower only had the turboprop.  After initially instructing us to plan runway 27, the tower controller rescinded those directions and asked us to enter downwind for runway 12, then cleared the Piedmont to land on 27.  I was surprised when the tower controller thanked me for my help and flexibility; he was doing a fine job managing the traffic.  We touched down on runway 12, right in front of the Piedmont holding short on a taxiway.  It was a flawless landing; rare when witnesses are present, practically endangered when the pros are watching.

From the front door, it was obvious that Cloud 9 was a different sort of establishment than the preceding restaurant.  The atmosphere of Cloud 9 is much more in line with fine dining than what you might see on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives".

One thing that did not change from the prior establishment was the great view of the ramp.  By the time we were seated, the Piedmont aircraft was boarding passengers.  While The Bear has some commercial flying experience, she was genuinely puzzled by the hybrid jet/propeller-driven aircraft sitting outside our window.

The food was outstanding.  Cloud 9 does not have a children's menu, but they were happy to provide kid-sized portions.  The Bear was flummoxed by the bed of lettuce upon which her chicken was served.  I assured her that consuming the lettuce was optional; it was not a conspiracy to feed her salad.  The nicest touch with her meal was a side of excellent chunky applesauce that reminded The Bear of the applesauce she and her classmates made for her school's Thanksgiving celebration last fall.  For my part, my hamburger was yummy - a real hamburger (all irregularly shaped - no prefab patties here) with fresh, sauteed mushrooms on top.

Good stuff.

And the view was terrific.

Our bill was presented with this "boarding pass" postcard, where the back of the detachable stub contained a scratch-off coupon (buy one breakfast, get one 50% off, in our case).  It was a neat touch.

On the way out of the restaurant, we encountered a pair that had just landed in an Archer.  "Let me guess," said one fellow to The Bear, "your Daddy flew you here in a blue and white Warrior."  Sadly, though we observed a nice mix of traffic coming and going from Williamsport, the restaurant itself was not terribly busy and the other pilot's inference was not much of a intellectual leap because ours was the only other airplane parked on the ramp.

Back on the ramp and ready to go!

I was not quite sure whether The Bear was more excited about the airplane or the terrain, but either way, we were having a good day.

The flight home was against a ten knot headwind and fraught with turbulence.  I pulled the power back to keep the airspeed in check and asked The Bear how she was handling the bumps.

In a matter-of-fact tone, without bothering to look up from the book she was reading, The Bear responded "I love the bumps."  I think she likes the bumps more than I do.  By the time we returned home, I was tired from working to keep the airplane's nose pointed in the correct direction.

Back in Finger Lakes country, it was nice to see some significant green spreading across the landscape.  In the distance, we spotted a visible manifestation of the clear air turbulence we were experiencing.

We passed a pair of stacked lenticular clouds while maneuvering around the unmanned rocket launch activities taking place at the Geneseo airport.  On approach into Le Roy, the iPad overheated again and shut down.

Back on the ground, we realized that this flight had pushed The Bear over the 200 hour mark!

As we cleaned the bugs off the airplane, I had two significant take-aways from our $100 hamburger run that morning.  The first was that I need to keep Williamsport on my list of good places to visit.  The second is that I need to figure out how to manage the iPad overheating issue.


  1. Hey I know that blogger :) So glad you both enjoyed it! Congrats to the Bear for 200 hours. She gets cuter every day!

  2. Thanks for the great tip! The Bear is growing fast, I can hardly believe it. It looks like Turbo is shooting right up there, too.

  3. Well, I guess I need to complete the blogger trifecta and stop at Cloud 9 next time we're out that direction.

    Have you thought about some sort of RAM/yoke mount for the iPad? Might help reduce the direct sunlight on it.

    1. You can swing by after visiting Lock Haven, it's just down the river. Make sure you call me, I'll meet you.

      I thought about a yoke mount. I've held the iPad up to the yoke and it would be a tight fit, workable, possibly, but tight. It was my hope that being lower down in the cockpit on my leg would make it less likely to see the sun. I'm inclined to see how it does out of the kneeboard I was using as my next step. I've even wondered if strapping it to my left leg would keep it more in the shade by virtue of being closer to the sidewall of the cockpit. I'll keep playing and carry paper backup in the interim.

    2. Guess it's on the list, as is Lock Haven. Though I feel as though I have to arrive via Cub if I go to LHV.

      Would a mount on the CFI-side yoke work better? I know some people do that, with it angled towards them. That might eliminate the "blocking important things" problem.

    3. Maybe. My goal was to use it for charts and approach plates, so being able to easily read it is critical. I'll take a look, though. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Looks like a fun time! Wish we could have made that flight and met for lunch. We had to get the rolling condo set up in OCMD. Hope to make a lunch run and catch up soon.

    The Bear is just too cute, have to laugh at "love the bumps", what a good co-pilot.

    1. It sounds to me look you had a very worthwhile cause to attend to this weekend! Glad to see your bird back in the air, too. We'll catch you some other time.

    2. Looks like a great time. My oldest has her all her free time and my wife taken up with dance. I'm not quite sure my youngest is ready to fly with just her and I, but I'm chomping at the bit to try. Maybe when the weather clears I'll give it ago around the pattern and see.

    3. I really enjoy our time flying together and she seems to enjoy exploring new places. I worried about those early "solo" flights with The Bear because I did not want a bad experience to undermine any future flying. For us, what seemed to work was having plenty on hand for her to do unattended, water, and a snack.