Monday, June 20, 2005

Flying to the Fountain City Fliers field.

On Sunday (Father's Day) I arrived at the airport about 7:00AM and as I pulled in to the airport, I see my friend Dean pulling his Ultra-Piet out of the hangar. I stopped and talked to him and invited him to fly with me to a Radio Control field in Autaugaville, about 30 miles away. He told me he didn't plan on flying that far and would probably be home way before I returned. I drove to my hangar and prepared my plane before taking to the air.

The morning air was cool and very calm and stable, in fact, it was the smoothest air I have flown in all year! I could feel every result of my control inputs, however small. I was able to take my hand off the stick and put both of them in my lap, or use them to take pictures. It was absolutely wonderful. It was a great Father's Day gift! Using my GPS for navigation, I was able to fly a pretty much straight line to my destination, the Fountain City Fliers Radio Control airplane flying strip. My son and I had visited the day before and spoke to a few of the fliers, who invited me to fly my Quicksilver over. Of course, I don't think they were expecting me so early. After crosssing over the picturesque Alabama River, I was only about 2 miles from the strip. As I aproached, I could see that nobody was there, so I decided to fly around the area a bit because I had been wanting to visit Autaugaville for quite a while. I flew around Swift Creek park, which is basically a boat launch access point built by the Army Core of Engineers. I flew low over the massive fields in the area keeping clear of livestock and having a ball. Then I headed back to the R/C field and landed because I had to relieve myself. Imagine my surprise when I found a well-built privy! I took advantage of the facilities before pouring a small can of fuel that I had been carrying into my partially empty tank.

I'm concerned about my exhaust gas temperatures. One cylinder was approaching 1175 degrees during the flight to the field. My fuel burn was less than 3 gallons per hour and this reinforced my beliefs that I needed to richen up my mixture just a bit by moving the jet needle clip down one groove. I didn't have any tools with me (shame on me) to carry out the task, so it would have to wait until I return back to Fort Deposit. I grabbed a chair at the field and relaxed until about 9:30 when I decided that I could wait a long time before anybody showed up, so I decided to start back toward home.

The takeoff from the R/C field was smooth! They keep the grass cut to about an inch or so and I'm sure the field is regularly rolled to keep it smooth. The flight back home was almost as smooth as it was on the outbound trip. Even though I had a long-sleeve flannel shirt on, I was getting chilled. I had about a 5MPH tailwind and with a 42MPH wind around my body I found my teeth starting to rattle a bit. It was somewhat hazy out and while I was flying to Autaugaville, I learned that the hazy layer at about 1900 feet was a bit warmer than it was where I was flying. After I left the perimeter of the Montgomery Terminal Service Area, I climbed to about 2000 feet where it was only slightly warmer, but it was enough to stop my teeth from chattering.

I approached Ft. Deposit at a 45 degree angle to mid-field, but I started my descent a bit too late. The MX didn't really want to come down without firm encouragement. I hit the General Aviation pattern altitude just about where I would expect a Cessna to be if it intended to land. Luckily, Ft. Deposit is not busy at all, but I was keeping a sharp eye out for traffic until I got inside and below the GA pattern. I could see that Dean had not yet put his plane away. "Be home by the time you get back..." my foot! I landed and disembarked my plane and went and shot the breeze with Dean for well over an hour before I put my plane away and drove home. It was a great flight in some of the smoothest air know to man! About 2 hours total and 72 miles. I'll be flying back to the Fountain City Fliers field again...count on it!


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