Air Force One

11:57 AM Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yesterday the President was in town to give a speech. I watched the speech and I have to say it wasn't really about anything. I thought he might have something pertinent to say but really it seems he just came to the Quad Cities to start his campaigning for 2012.

Anyway, I don't live very far from Quad City International which is where he landed. So I thought after his speech I would head out there and see if I could get close enough to watch Air Force One take-off. Well at first glance this looked impossible. They had choppers in the air and police cars all around the perimeter fence of the airport. I thought there was no way that I would be able to stop and watch him take off. Well I drove around to the FBO entrance and there were no cop cars stopping me from entering. I drove in and parked in a gravel pit area that many people stop at to watch planes arrive. I parked and got out just as the president was taxing. They pulled up and stopped with a building between us and the plane (very tactical or extremely coincidental, I am going with tactical) and then I heard the engines roar and Air Force One was rolling. He lifted off and made a left climbing turn and was out of sight quite quickly.

It was impressive to see. And I am glad I went even though everyone told me I wouldn't be able to get close. As an aviation nerd I found the whole thing quite exciting even if it only lasted about 60 seconds :)


3:23 PM Friday, June 24, 2011

Location: KDVN - KOQW - KDVN
Weather: KDVN 241852Z AUTO 33005KT 10SM OVC037 20/12 A2986 RMK AO2 SLP110 T02000117
Runway in Use: 33

I really wanted to get in the air today. The weather was supposed to be beautiful, but it wasn't. I postponed this morning because the clouds were at about 3500 MSL and I wanted them to be a bit higher. Well 1pm rolled around and I had a plane scheduled and wouldn't you know it, the clouds were lower. I stood on my deck and looked around a bit and decided that they weren't going anywhere and they were high enough for me to putz around like I wanted so I decided to go. I had wanted a nicer day, but you can't always get what you want!

I preflighted. I started her up. I listened for weather and then I went to radio in my taxi intentions and the radio wasn't working. I flipped all the switches off and back on and I still wasn't getting anything on my headset. I pulled out the input jacks and put them back in and still nothing. I messed with the jack input for the in-plane speaker and still nothing. So I picked up the hand mic and radioed my intentions. I headed out figuring I could trouble shoot the headset on the way.

I took off, and it was beautiful. She practically leaped from the runway today since it was pretty cool out. I grabbed 75kts on the climb and turned to my heading. Maquoketa airport is only about 25nm to the north north west so it was a short hop. I had the field in sight and went to radio my landing intentions and the hand mic didn't work. So I pressed the button for the headset and it worked. Hooray! So I set up to land and did a poor job of it. I was high coming in and I was fast and I wasn't lined up well. Instead of pushing it to get everything in order to get her on the ground I did a go around. Came back and made a very pretty full-stall landing. I was a bit fast so I had a bit of float but it was still a really nice landing.

A back taxi was required since I landed super long. On the way back down the runway there was a deer standing on the side of the runway. I halted and played chicken with him to see if I could get him to get off the runway. Eventually he left and I turned around and took off again. It was a quick flight back to davenport where I made a terrible landing. It was much more of a thump than a chirp.

I learned a few more things today. I need to get in the air a bit more frequently because my skills are getting a bit rusty. When the A/FD says wildlife on and in vicinity of the airport they actually mean it. And lastly I still really love to fly!

Duration of Flight:.9
Total Flight Hours:89.9

Airbus vision for 2050

10:26 AM Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now I know this will never happen. Even Airbus knows this will never happen. But it doesn't stop any of us from dreaming! If they made a glass topped plane I would have my ticket booked in a heart beat for a sunset flight. I may only be able to afford to do it once, but you can bet your life I would be make it happen. For now I will just dream of watching the sun set from FL350 and being so close you feel like you can touch the stars outside the glass canopy.

Quad City Airshow 2011

10:48 AM Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday I took my Dad and brother, Ryan, to the Quad City Airshow for Father's Day. It was a really good time. I haven't spent a whole lot of time with either my Dad or my Brother in the past few years and I really enjoyed spending a day with them doing something we all enjoy quite a bit.

I was pretty disappointed in the static displays. There wasn't a whole lot to look at or tour, but we still managed to see a few nice planes and enjoy that part of the day.

The airshow was pretty decent. The beginning aerobatics acts were good and the F-15 demo was really nice. In fact I enjoyed almost all the acts except for otto the helicopter. Most of the time you couldn't hear the announcer and without the "voice of otto" it was just a helicopter flying back and forth. Now I will be the first to admit that my attention span is kinds of small and if you don't grab it quick then my mind tends to wander, so I spent most of the time Otto was in the air watching people instead.

The Blue Angels were the closing act and they did a great job. As always their performance was spot on and a great demonstration of what it means to be a precision pilot. Their airspace was probably no bigger than 10 miles by 10 miles (probably less) and they were always aware of their position, everyone else's position and where they needed to be for the next maneuver. There were only a few times in which I lost them in the sky and I am pretty sure it was intentional on their part because the surprise flyover is a pretty cool move :)

The folks from Quad City Airshow did a great job. It was my first time at this airshow which was celebrating their 25th year, I hope they do it again.

On a quick closing note, I was appalled while leaving and I looked around to see all the garbage people left on the field. I was appalled not only because this is my home airport and I don't want to see it dirty and marred but because also because as humans we are pigs, why do we expect someone else to clean up after us. Next time you are at an event pick up after yourselves!!

Remember the Joys of Flying

8:09 PM Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Location: KDVN - 8C4 - KDVN
Weather: KDVN 012252Z AUTO 24006KT 10SM CLR 27/08 A3017 RMK AO2 SLP212 T02720083
Runway in Use: 21

Today was beautiful and it has been forever since I got to fly (ok only 26 days, but again, who is counting), so I headed to the airport. When I arrived my plane reservation was no where to be found. Luckily 547CA was on its way back so I waited for it to come back and I was on my way.

The AWOS was reading 230@09 when I was ready to taxi. Someone was coming in on 33 for a full stop so I decided to head out to 21 since the winds favored that a bit more. Once he was cleared of 33 I departed on 21, turned out to the north and was on my way. I decided to just take a leisurely flight up to Tipton (about 27 miles Northwest). Since I didn't really have an agenda and had plenty of time to spare to I spent some time playing around. I climbed a bit, descended, did some s-turns and just took in the sights and generally enjoyed myself. When I had Tipton in sight I decided I would land. I could have done a straight in, and I wish I would have, but headed off to the south and entered on a 45 to the left downwind. As I was turning base someone on the ground asked if I was a full stop or a touch and go. I said touch in go. Well it ended up that it was a full stop. I landed a bit long and chose to back taxi instead of trying to get it off the ground in too short of a space. I apologized to the waiting plane and they were very understanding. We had a quick conversation about the weather and they seemed very nice. I love meeting really nice people when I am out flying. In fact I love the flying community!!

I headed back to davenport. I just followed the road that goes from Tipton straight back to davenport. As I was flying it I realized I have never flown into Davenport from the west before. I had flown out to Cedar Rapids plenty of times on cross countries during training but I always went somewhere else and came back to Davenport from either the North or South. Anyway everything looked a bit different coming in from a new direction but nothing to worry about, just something I noted. There was a Baron Beechcraft landing and he was much faster than me so I took my time going to the south a bit so i could cross midfield for left downwind on 21. Another plane took off as I was on downwind then I was all alone in the pattern. My landing was a bit flat, but I was still proud of it. I taxied in and shutdown. Even my parking job, which is often my weakest point, was awesome. All in all, my day was awesome.

There were tons of pilots in the air today. It kept me on my toes but I loved it. Hearing all the radio chatter makes me remember how much I love to fly. In fact everything about today made me remember how much I love to fly. Chatting with the folks at the airport. Soaring in the smooth air. Chirping the tires on the landing. All awesome, now I am just counting the minutes until I can do it again.

Duration of Flight: 0.9 hrs
Total Flight Hours: 89 hrs