Monday, June 26, 2006

Cross Country Flight 06.24.06

A group of four pilots rolled into the grass farm in Damon, Tx. at 6:30 am with plans to fly to the Wharton airport, about 25 miles to the west. The fog was really different than anything I've flown in so far,really dense all the way to the ground. It was really cool from above. I just posted some pictures from yesterdays flight at...

It took me a long time to get into Wharton because...

At about 10 miles into the flight I heard some banging from my engine, I turned to see what was loose and determined it was my muffler hitting the backside of the prop. I waved over to Andy, trying to motion him I had a problem but he just waved back, "Hi, yeah, ain't this great?" ;-) (really need to get a radio system that works all the time.)

I started looking for an LZ, being on the trike, I needed a little more room than foot landing. I found several sites but none close to any main roads, a long walk out pushing the trike. I decided to keep going. A little ways further and nothing had fallen off yet, I was able to maintain altitude so I decided to try and make it to the Wharton airport.

This is when I started flying zig - zag, staying over or within glide range of acceptable landing areas. So, that's why it took me a while to get into Wharton. I kept checking the GPS and had the town of Wharton in sight; I was at about 600 feet AGL. I spotted a beautiful asphalt runway near a main road, not the Wharton airport but it looked pretty good. I flew past this LZ a bit further and climbed up higher to try and spot the airport, but I found out later I was still about 7 miles or so from it. (Need to figure out this GPS a little better and be able to mark airports) A quick check of my fuel tank with the handy retractable mirror fuel gauge, I had about a 1/2" of fuel left. (I added a one gallon reserve tank for today's flight which allowed me about two hours in the air.) I pull a 180 and that airstrip was looking pretty darn good.

I came in and set it down in the freshly mown grass along the edge of the runway with a perfect power on landing and the wing even came to rest on my left, on the dry asphalt. I made a call to Beery and gave GPS coordinates. They were pretty close. I folded up the wing and put it in my lap on the trike for aq uick ride to the road but no power to the starter. Hmmm, checked wires, etc. but everything looked good. (looks like my battery is fried.) Oh well, a little pushing never hurt anyone. As I approached the hanger, three big dogs came running out barking, just as Beery, Mike & Mike showed up. Luckily they were friendly dogs and I didn't have to climb a tree or something.

We loaded up and started to leave to get Andy when the owner came running out. We stopped and he was all smiles, wanting to talk with us about flying etc. He took us on a mini-tour of his hanger where there were acouple of planes, one of them was being built by his son for a customer, I don't remember all the details but it was pretty cool. He said it took about a year and a half to complete each project.

We headed over to pick up Andy and then headed back to Damon. Over to "West of the Brazos" tavern for some good BBQ and cold beer, what a great way to cap off a XC flight.

Cya next time.



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