Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bumpy Breakfast

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
11 Sep 2016 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - FZY (Fulton, NY) - SDC 1.2 1583.8

With the summer fly-in breakfast season coming to an end, The Bear and I launched as part of a gaggle of six airplanes from the Williamson-Sodus Airport bound for the final EAA pancake breakfast of 2016 at the Oswego County Airport.

Many of us who went debated about going. Morning winds were already gusting and were expected to increase in strength as the morning proceeded into midday. An AIRMET for moderate turbulence covered the region. I find turbulence AIRMETS to be somewhat confounding while flight planning. Often, the air is perfectly smooth in the warning areas and, at other times, the atmosphere can pack quite a wallop without any advisories from the National Weather Service.

Gusty winds or otherwise, The Bear is always fine so long as she has a good book with her to read.

It was The Bear's first time in the front seat in a very long time. Warrior 481 was the first of the Williamson Flying Club ships to launch into the bumpy sky.

As is often the case on turbulent days (yes, there was something to that AIRMET after all), the visibility was unlimited. A dramatic ceiling of broken clouds, rendered in high definition in the clear air, floated overhead and restricted cruise altitudes to 2,500 feet.

The Bear posed to commemorate her arrival at one of her favorite airports: Fuzzy.

Soon after, Denny and his beautiful Comanche touched down and taxied to parking next to Warrior 481.

As he passed, I was surprised that Denny was not "toeing the line". Instead, he taxied near the far edge of the taxiway. Then I realized that this was probably because of the idiot with the camera standing nearby.

As The Bear watched, Matt and Gary taxied up in One Delta Romeo, the airplane I flew for the Williamson Apple Blossom Pancake Breakfast this year. Matt's first trip to Oswego occurred two years earlier as a student pilot riding right seat in Warrior 481. Today, he was Pilot in Command of one of the Club ships.

We learned some pancake breakfast arithmetic that morning: gusty winds + AIRMET Tango = short lines for breakfast! As always, The Bear reveled in her pancakes.

After breakfast, The Bear paid a visit to her beloved pedal planes. If she experienced the same sort of wistful nostalgia in their presence that I did recently at the Air Zoo, she was more subtle about it than I.

We saw Six Echo Sierra, flown to Oswego County that morning by Joseph, one of the Williamson Flying Club's newest -- and youngest (he's in high school) -- certificated private pilots.

The ride home was against a stout headwind and the bumps were much intensified. The AWOS in Sodus claimed the wind to be out of 330° at 8 knots gusting to 15. Nevertheless, on short final for runway 28, the windsock was standing straight-out, unwavering (steady wind of 15+ knots), and indicated close to a direct crosswind. I was pleased to make our contact with the ground smoother than the ride through the air on short final, but I worked hard to make that happen.

In front of our hangar, I turned the Warrior broadside to the wind and shut down the engine. The Bear and I sat for a moment and listened to the wind as it screamed in protest around the groaning fuselage, furious at the aircraft impeding its movement.

"Daddy, a couple of those bumps kind of freaked me out," The Bear informed me matter-of-factly. Normally unflappable in turbulence, even The Bear took notice of that morning's bumps. It was not an easy day to fly, but in the end, it served well to boost confidence.

As I prepared to push back into the hangar, The Bear cowered from the aggressive wind in the shelter of the Warrior's door. It was another successful group fly-out, but once the airplane was safely put to bed, The Bear turned immediately to her next imperative: butterscotch candies in the Williamson Flying Club Clubhouse.


  1. Hi. I'm getting back into flying after a 21 yr (unintended) break. My wife is from Rochester, NY and we spend a week every summer in the Sodus Bay area so we pass your airport on the way from Wisconsin where we are now. I trained in 152/172 but planning on getting current in a Piper - probably a Warrior. Looks like you like yours! Did you get your instrument rating in a Piper as well? Thats my next step after getting current and building some time to qualify. Great blog!

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for writing! Yup, I've had the Warrior for 12 years and it has been a good airplane. I originally trained in Cessna 150s, but I did the Instrument rating in my Warrior. If I had to do it all over again, I would target an Archer II - the price differential between the two is not as wide as it was back when I bought and the extra horsepower wouldn't hurt. Both are honest, reliable, and economical (relatively) to maintain. You should stop into the airport sometime as you're passing by - it's a friendly place.