Sunday, May 11, 2014

Finally! Spring flying weather has arrived...

Time for a little cross-country flight.

Winter started early last fall and the cold wet weather hung on until the end of April. I've been waiting for some free time to get out on an afternoon flight somewhere.

On this day it I had to find a balance between waiting for the thermometer to show a comfortable cushion above freezing and an afternoon front with showers scheduled to arrive late in the day. As it worked out by the time I had made a fuel run to RaceTrac for premium no ethanol, and prepared for the flight the air was on its way to warming up nicely. This allowed me to remove the doors for an unrestricted view and nothing to degrade the image quality between the camera and scenery below.
Challenger ready to go

The panel as the engine warms

Course entered on my Android Google Nexus 7 running Garmin Pilot. My initial plan was to head west to Canandaigua (D38), north to Lake Ontario, east along the shoreline with a likely stop at Williamson-Sodus on the way to Fair Haven, then back to Marcellus (NK71) 
Winds aloft were forecast to be NNW@15, but once in the air I found that it was more out of the ENE in the lower atmosphere.

Less than 10 minutes into the flight I pass the town of Elbridge, NY with Cross Lake beyond. Along the horizon is the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

Looking south over Cayuga Lake. A high thin overcast is sometimes good for aerial photography particularly for zoomed in shots. A layer of cirrus or thin also-strattus diffuses the sunlight and lowers the contrast but still leaves it bright enough for a fast shutter speed. The sky reflects off the lake and the bright sunlight of brings out the colors in the lake much better as shown in the second photo from the day before when I brought my Cessna over to Finger Lakes Airport.

Cayuga Lake on a sunny afternoon

Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

Waterloo outlet stores along I90 in Waterloo, NY

Hopewell Airstrip just a few miles to the east of Canandaigua Airport

Base leg for Rwy 13 at Canandaigua.

I took a break here. A half cup of fresh brewed coffee and a little walk around to stretch my legs. This leg of the flight took about 45 minutes. I was cruising at 2,500 feet with 4,800 rpm yielding just under 60 mph.

I flew over the Canandaigua Pier and Boathouses before turning NE towards Williamson-Sodus.

Afternoon temperatures didn't warm up much more due to the thickening cloud cover. Cruising at 3,500 feet the air was over 10 degrees cooler than on the surface too. I was beginning to feel cold, so decided to head directly for Sodus.

Just a short break at Williamson-Sodus

In under 30 minutes I was on the ground at Sodus. A northeast wind is kind of unusual for our area. Landing on Rwy 10 the wind was rolling pretty good over an area of trees just to the north of the runway. The Challenger handled it quite well but next time I will plan my approach to land much further down this 3,800 foot runway to avoid this area when a north or northeast wind.

Looking east towards Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario.

Fighting a little bit of a headwind and feeling cold I opened the throttle a bit to 5,300 for a cruise speed in the upper 60's

Rose Airport. My EAA chapter 1017 has its annual fly-in here the second weekend in July. Everyone is welcome. Food, primitive camping and good times.

Back to Marcellus.

The entire flight took 2.9 hours and I burned 7.6 gallons for an hourly rate of 2.6 GPH of premium auto fuel. The direct cost of spending an afternoon flying around was about 30 dollars, plus some two-stroke oil. Can't beat it!
I will be sad when the Challenger is gone. Unfortunately it is for sale. Unless the Cessna goes first...

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