Friday, December 31, 2010

Encounter with a World Traveler

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
31 Dec 2010 N21481 5G0 (LeRoy, NY) - N23 (Sidney, NY) -
OIC (Norwich, NY) - 5G0
2.8 893.0

On the last day of 2010, I went exploring.  I crawled away from Le Roy under a low overcast, finally emerging in clear skies east of Rochester.  My first destination was Sidney NY, a small airport surrounded by high hills.  I parked at the full service fuel pump ($4.26/gal) nose to nose with a very nice looking Mooney.

As the line guy fueled my aircraft, another gentleman approached and offered to help move the Mooney, if needed.  Seeing that the Mooney did not need to be moved, he gestured toward Warrior 481.

"Nice looking airplane!" he said.

"Thanks," I smiled back at him. "But it's no Mooney." I indicated the airplane I surmised to be his.

"Oh, I'm just a passenger. The Mooney belongs to a friend of mine. Nice airplane, though. Fuel efficient." We made some more small talk about how I was out exploring new airports that morning and he was en route to New Jersey for a $100 hamburger with the pilot of the Mooney.

"This Mooney is a world traveler," he boasted. At my impressed expression, he quickly clarified that it was the former owner of the airplane who had flown it solo around the world. "There's a great website written by the guy who did it. You should check it out."

I captured a snapshot of the airplane with my cell phone so that I would not forget the tail number (yeah, this photo doesn't really meet my usual aesthetic standards, but a legible tail number was all I really needed).

The rest of the unseasonably warm day passed with the exploration of another airport (completely deserted), return to Le Roy, and an oil change for Warrior 481. That evening, I found the website describing N60RP's journey around the world. It's a fantastic read (no pun actually intended) - I highly recommend it:

"Reed Flies Around the World"

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reflection: 2010

With 2010 rapidly dwindling, the shortest day of the year already past, and the near term weather forecast dreary at best, it seems a good time to reflect on flying in 2010.  So, here are some of my favorite images from 2010 along with some numbers.

I flew a total of 108.8 hours at the controls of N21481 in 2010, pictured above on the ground at Luray Caverns Airport in Luray, VA.

I logged 4.2 hours at night, not bad considering that I don't usually stray far from home after dark.

Kristy and The Bear flew a total of 39.7 hours with me this year.  I cannot put into words how delighted I am to share my passion with my family.

I had the good fortune to fly with several non-aviators, sharing a new perspective on the mundane (like I-90, above).  I gave airplane rides to 14 non-pilots this year, including several kids. It was a first time in a light aircraft for most of them.  My flight with Nick was particularly memorable.  Also memorable was a public relations flight on behalf of the Le Roy Airport with the gentleman living below the approach path to runway 28.  The goal was to promote understanding of why our airplanes fly the pattern they do.  It was a successful flight that made us mutually sensitive to each other's needs.

As this image of a Piper Cub landing at Penn Yan shows, there is something magical about bringing an aircraft gently to Earth.  I made landings at airports in Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia in 2010.

In 2010, a total 67.7 hours were logged flying to airports more than 50 nautical miles away from home (i.e., "cross country").  This is a picture of the St Clair River, the international border between Michigan and Ontario.

We tried a few new (to us) $100 hamburger locations in our travels including The Kitty Hawk Cafe in Altoona, PA (above), the Cloud 9 Cafe in Prestonburg, KY, and the Plane Bagel (punny!) in Rutland, VT.  Two thumbs up for all three!

I re-affirmed my love for the mountains. These were photographed while flying over Vermont, first in the afternoon, then in the evening haze.

I was able to behold the whimsy of mankind enveloped by the unstoppable force of nature.

At times, I found myself flying through seemingly otherworldly places.

Some trips aloft remained close to home (above, Irondequoit Bay) and were flown strictly for the sake of flying.

Not all of my 2010 aeronautical experiences were at the controls of an airplane.  The Greatest Show on Turf this year was spectacular.

Fog seemed to play a recurrent role in images from 2010.

I had an unusual number of sunset flights in 2010.

In the end, whether it was beauty above...

...the stately works of mankind below (downtown Rochester, NY)...

...or the simple elegance of a winter landscape, my memory is filled with some wonderful images from 2010.

Thanks for visiting, see you next year.