Sunday, June 10, 2007

I could be a Kennedy: My own taxpayer-provided private lakeside airport

It was another beautiful day for flying, but as fate would have it, it was also a beautiful day for cleaning out the garage, tending to a few landscaping details, and washing the Miata. It wasn't until all of that was done and a quick lunch was wolfed down that I was able to think about flying, but that was actually still pretty early in the afternoon. It's been awhile since I've been out to Noble County, so that seemed as good of a place as any for flight that was intended to be more about the journey than the destination. It's only about 65 nm away as the GPS flies, although I add a few miles by shifting a little south to avoid the Columbus Class C airspace.

The light winds were from the northeast, so we had the long taxi down to rwy 4 for takeoff. There are a few wooded acres on Bolton Field, and every once in a while we get treated to some wildlife. I've seen more coyotes than deer, but the score between the two tightened up a little bit today:

I wanted to stay down low where the effects of any headwind would be less, so I only climbed to 3,500' (a little bumpy, what with the afternoon sun having had a chance to roil things up) where I found that I could only scare up 145 knots. I was wondering where the stronger than expected headwind was coming from when I remembered that I had left 8 knots sitting back in the hangar in the form of broken wheel pants. I need to get that darn thing fixed soon.

Noble County (I10) is one of those airports that makes you want to sacrifice a goat or something to honor whoever the greek god of GPS is. I've been there a number of times before, and just like on all of those previous trips, I didn't see the airport until I was right on it. The GPS makes things like that sinfully easy to deal with, though, so I already had Papa slowed down (not all that hard to do sans pants, as it turns out) to pattern speed when the airport finally peeked up behind the hills:

Here's another for my Fly Ohio collection:

I usually park in the grass tie down area and walk down the path to the lake. It's only a 1/4 mile or so, and the path is kept well cleared. Once you get into the woods, the sounds of the highway just west of the airport fade away and you're left with nothing but the sounds of bugs and birds. I've never seen another airplane there, nor any other signs of bipedal life. It's like having my own private lakeside airport. The best thing about it is the complete isolation and solitude. Of course, that's the worst thing about it too - I've seen Deliverance. Funny how things like that stick with you and pop into your head at the oddest times, isn't it? Still, it's a nice walk down to the lake:

This reminded me that my kayak kit should arrive early next week:

Here's what you're looking at when departing on rwy 5:

It's nice that it's down hill, but there's a bit of a harsh penalty at the end if you run off. The Lycoming didn't let me down, so I maximized the tail wind and got a bit of cool air by climbing up to 6,500' for the trip back.

That was high enough to be well over the top limit of the Columbus airspace, so it was a straight shot back to Bolton, albeit with a pretty rapid descent to pattern altitude once clearing Rickenbacker's Class D. Landings were fine today, but nothing special - probably scoring at around 6 to 7 each. The first was a little bouncy on the downhill runway at Noble Co., and the second was the kind where I get a little high on the flare over the fatter runway at Bolton and just end up holding a 3 point attitude until I can plop it onto the concrete. Good enough.

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