Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hedging my bets

It's one of life's cruel ironies that the weather most suited for flying is also most suited for far less desirable activities such as spring cleaning and yard work. If it's nice and cool under clear blue skies, there's a lot to be said for getting work done that would be far more uncomfortable once the temperature and humidity rises to oppressive levels. But... flying! The temptation is to defer the flying for the next day and get the chores done today, right? Well, no, that's not at all right. The temptation is to ditch the chores and go flying while the gettin' is good.

I opted to do the chores. I suffer brief episodes of maturity that are every bit as concerning (and thankfully rare) as blackouts. And really, those hedges haven't been trimmed in the six or seven years since they were planted and they've grown so out of control that Japanese film makers are considering using them as city-destroying monsters in their next series of films. So, start with the hedges and see how that goes.

It's a horrible job, particularly for those hedges that have spiky foliage. I don't know the official name of them; I just call them Those ^#$#*%$ Bushes.

Whenever I'm out doing yard work on a beautiful day, I'm reminded of one of the very few downsides to living near the airport. The planes out doing touch & goes that I normally enjoy as one of the benefits of being so close to the airport taunt me, teasing me with their freedom to enjoy such fine conditions. Oh, how I hate them!

But eventually the job is done, and the job after that (scrubbing the winter road gunk off of the garage floor) is done too. It's too late in the day to go anywhere, and I'm planning on flying somewhere tomorrow anyway, but what if the weather doesn't cooperate and I end up grounded? Ugh, a fate to ugly to ponder! So I decided to hedge my bets and take a little ride around the local area. The winds had picked up to 14G18 by then, but they were conveniently oriented right down the runway.

I've owed Bob the Neighbor a ride for awhile since he has twice served as the on-call lifting buddy for the receipt of RV-12 kits, so I asked if he'd like to ride along. Indeed he would, probably in aid of getting out of yard work, but who am I to judge?

It was quite a nice ride. The wind only made things bouncy down low and once we climbed to 5,500' to make a touristy deviation over downtown Columbus and THE Ohio $tate University it was perfectly smooth. Bob enjoyed his ride, but darned if he didn't ask the worst question a pilot ever wants to hear which is, of course, "Do you have a bag?" We made it back without him needing a sick bag, which is good because I didn't have one. I really ought to get one; it is not at all rare for a little queasiness to arise (so to speak) in the RV simply because it's a lot different than the flying most people are used. Which is to say, I tend to fly it in a manner that most planes wouldn't tolerate. Which is to say, well, somewhat thoughtlessly at times. After 400 some hours, I tend to forget that it's an acquired taste.

Bob's problem came from his request for me to lower the right wing so he could get a picture. We were in the "channel" between the Rickenbacker and Bolton Class D airspaces and I needed to keep the plane headed in the right direction, so as I lowered the right wing I had to compensate with left rudder. That's a sliding, slipping, uncomfortable flight attitude at the best of times, but it is even more so if you have your head turned and your vision restricted to the viewfinder of a camera.

Surprisingly, given the fairly strong winds, the landing was a nice, light almost-greaser. And after me having warned him that it would probably be a pretty bouncy one. Oh well, under-commit and over-deliver, I always say.


  1. In my defense, I need to point out that I was being quite the awestruck passenger, and taking all sorts of photos. But given the cheapness of the LCD display on the back of my camera, I had to use the viewfinder. Then I asked my intrepid pilot to dip the right wing for a second for juuuust one more shot. The combination of quick right turn, one eye closed, and the other looking through an IttyBittyViewfinder™ was just enough to get just queasy enough that I had to ask The Question.

    But it was all good!

  2. Yep, that wing-down, cross-controlled forward slip will get you every time, especially if you have your head turned.

    Hope the pictures turned out well!

  3. Picking up a few Sick Sacs sounds like a great reason to head to Sporty's. Oh, and free hot dogs on Saturdays. Glad you made it, Bob!