Friday, May 04, 2007

Better than DDT

Having completed the lawn chores, and having copious amounts of nice Spring evening remaining, I decided to do my part in controlling the Central Ohio flying insect population in the most inefficient manner possible: using a 150 hp driven sharp-edged wing to smite them from the air.

Being as that is admittedly an atrociously expensive way to kill a few bugs, I thought it prudent to combine that effort with a wee bit of practice on my landings, which have been notably sub=par as of late. My preferred training regimen these days is to loaf along at a modest 2000 rpm (135 knots - I still get a kick out of that!) to one of our outlying narrow (relative to Bolton) runway airports. Tonight I selected Circleville (KCYO) due to its orientation being directly perpendicular to the light evening breeze, figuring two birds, one stone. Unfortunately, the orientation of the runway was moot as the wind down that-a-way was deader than the insects adorning my canopy. Still, it was a nice ride, followed by a more-or-less greaser of a landing.

Another leisurely ride back towards home base found me entering the pattern behind a Cessna 150. I really had to drop anchor to stay a respectable distance behind him, but that is no excuse for the ensuing debacle of a landing. I bounced it so hard that I could feel the landing gear crouching down to leap into each succeeding bounce like a cat hunkering down just prior to pouncing on an unwary tender morsel. This one really earned a grade of 'F', which stands for 'I hope I never land so effing badly ever again!' Unsatisfied to the extreme, I decided to make a stop & go and try again. The 150 was also a touch & go, and as I climbed out behind him and he just kept going and going on his moribund climb out, I eventually decided enough was enough and told him over Unicom that I was going to go ahead and cut inside him on the crosswind. He was fine with that, his only request being to tell him when I thought it safe for him to make his turn. With him being darn near over the horizon by that time, I felt comfortably safe with telling him that he could go ahead and turn right then and there. Naturally, I was thinking to myself something along the lines of "like you could ever catch me in that thing!"

Having sworn off stress testing the landing gear for the night, the next landing was pretty good. It took a good, long time to clean all of the bugs off of the wings and canopy, though. I definitely dealt a blow to the flying insect population tonight. I didn't do my tires any favors either!

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