Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fog Turbines

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
31 Mar 2010 N21481 5G0 (LeRoy, NY) - GVQ (Batavia, NY) 0.7 801.9

Six years after taking ownership of Warrior 481, it was time again for an annual inspection.  I took a vacation day to ferry the airplane to the shop and get my hands dirty doing whatever needed to be done.  My plan was to fly about 30 minutes to warm the engine thoroughly before compression testing took place at the shop.

Surveying the countryside, I was surprised to see substantial fog banks surrounding the local area.  Southwest of Buffalo, an array of wind turbines was engulfed in the fog, their rotor blades projecting above cotton candy vapor.  

From an airplane, it is difficult to appreciate how large these turbines are.  Difficult, that is, until you see the structure in the lower left and realize that's somebody's two-story house!  These people have giants in their back yards.

Disembodied turbine rotor heads projecting above ground fog.

In some cases, the windmills appeared to hasten the clearing of the fog.

Scanning the instrument panel, I noted that the oil temperature was pegged at 180°F, meaning that the engine was warm and it was time to land at the Genesee County Airport in Batavia.

I turned back through the rising sun and assumed a northeast heading toward Batavia.  Low level sunlight accentuated the undulating terrain and isolated pockets of fog extending toward the horizon.

Warrior 481 settled gently toward runway 28 at Genesee County, spending a few moments simultaneously flying and rolling before finally resting her weight on the landing gear.  It was a short flight, but the morning's vista was spectacular.  And the compression numbers?  They were excellent, too.

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