Saturday, September 09, 2006

Newark-Heath Young Eagles Day

I don't know for sure what the occasion of the fly-in at Newark-Heath (KVTA) was, but it seemed to be the place to go today. At least six other RVs were going to be there, and is it's relatively nearby I could get there without making too big of a dent in my tanks of $3.98/gallon fuel. I'm hoping the gas prices follow the downward price trend of auto fuel soon! The weather was kind of clunky this morning and I spent an hour or so watching the METAR observations as the reported visibility slowly crept its way up to the 3 miles I needed. Once the air had cleared enough to ensure I'd be able to land there once I got there (which is obviously a desirable state of affairs), it was time to go. Even then it was reassuring to have the XM Wx unit cranked up so I could verify a white over white box over KVTA, indicating VFR ceilings and visibility.

The flight down and around the Columbus Class C was smooth and uneventful, and even the traffic in the pattern had died down a bit once I got there. There was very little wind to contend with, so I'm blaming the somewhat bouncy landing on not being as well practiced in near gross weight landings as I was a month ago. Being heavier than I'm used to requires quite a bit if adjustment in my RV: it runs out of "flare reserve" more quickly, and takes a bit more power in the pattern. In any event, they didn't roll the crash trucks so apparently no one noticed.

There were already plenty of planes there, and one of the first I saw was a Mooney Mite. The Mite was one of Al Mooney's earliest designs and it can readily be observed that it was the basis for all of his following designs, which are still being built this very day. I was interested in the Mite as a possible restoration project as I work on my A&P certificate because they are mildly exotic, small enough to not need a lot of room in the hangar, and pretty darn cool looking. Had I gone ahead and restored a Mite, this is what I hope it would have looked like when it was done:

Another plane I've always liked is the Ercoupe. These were built in the mid to late 40's, back when the aircraft industry was convinced that the post WWII generation would be keen on owning airplanes. Many were built, and because of their low cost and inherent stable (safe) flight, there are many still available. I considered buying one a long time ago as a way to remove the renter's yoke and get into ownership, but a 50% share of a Mooney became available around that time, and as they say, the rest is history.

A gaggle of six RVs came in a bit later, and I made sure to get a shot of the line taxiing in. Some pilots call RVs "ramp fleas" or "ramp vermin" due to their ubiquity, but I prefer to compare them to women going to the restroom: they never go alone.

This was a very pristine Piper Cub that flew out early:

It's no Miata, but this Jag was very nice looking:

There were also a couple of T-6s there. The T-6 is a lot like the Stearman in that they are readily available for a reasonable cost, and I would love to own one, but the maintenance and operation costs scare me away.

I caught the signature puff of smoke on engine start, but was a bit disappointed that I just missed a really cool burst of exhaust flame.

The flight back to Bolton was fun. I wanted to try getting some pix for Rick "Smoozer" Gray again, and with the low-level haze we had it was more photogenic to climb to 8,500' to get up into the clearer air. I interrupted my buddy Rick's airplane building again today and begged his assistance as in-flight phtographer in the hopes that having him shoot pictures while I concentrated on flying would result in a more successful shoot that last time. Smoozer was also taking pictures of my plane, so I'll post the results once I receive them. The descent back down through the valleys and canyons of the clouds was terrific fun, slaloming between the ever-building puffers like an Olympic downhill skier, except just a bit faster.


Photo by Rick Gray

The landing back at Bolton was ok with a nice, smooth touchdown, but there was a bit of a crosswind-induced swerve that I caught pretty quickly with a dose of corrective rudder.

Another great flying day, one hopefully that will only get better with a big win tonight against the Texas Longhorns. Go Bucks!!


  1. Go Bucks!! Woohoo!! Sounds like a heckuva time. You'll have to get up to Lima soon...I tested my mini-camera setup in the Rockies in a 172 and it's SWEET! See ya soon...

  2. The M-18 Mite was actually Mooney's 18th design. His designs stretch back to the Alexander Eaglerock of 1926 and include the Dart and the Culver Cadet. The Mooney Pilots Assn has a great biography available, written by Gordon Baxter.

  3. Anonymous is correct.

    More here: