W o r d s   F r o m   A u s t i n

Flying Days 
From:      Austin (6430_at_axion.net) 

Hi Listers,
                    Bear with me if you can, and delete if you cannot, but
after Tee Shirt debate etc., and how guys want to talk RV stuff ( which is
good), and now that I am flying again, I forget that there are still guys
who are just banging together the tail group.
Well, this is for you.
You have a long way to go, but if you keep the faith and do something almost
every day, you will have many days like I had today.
          We had turbulence today, and low ceilings and not so good vis.,
but did I have a blast today.
Again, I want to emphasize that if I can fly this jumping bean then ANYBODY
can, and have mucho fun in the doing....
First off, I got a friend to put me through some BASIC instrument chores.
I mean BASIC, because I have no gyros and am too poor to put anything else
in there, ( which keeps the airplane light and very quick and silky
responsive ), so we first tried procedure turns and let downs under the hood
and these are so valuable drills, and I did not cheat, and did an acceptable
job for a rusty old builder.
Then, we tried no flap approaches in turbulence and cross wind component
along with wind shear over the numbers that made me keep compensating and
using more runway than I wanted, but amazingly, even after a full stop, with
two guys, full tanks, warm day, wind shear, we were off in only yards to try
it all over again.
Another thing about my RV that amazes me is how easily the RV maintains
airspeed and such a low RPM...downwind leg and slippery, and trying to slow
down without flap...( for practice ), she just floats along as though she
doesn't want to come down.
     My pal says that an RV is such a versatile little runner that you can
fly out and around so many slower moving weather systems that you can make
your choice to run and avoid and get back to better stuff quicker than most
other airplanes.....I have to agree....what a sweet performer.
         I sure love my Lycoming too..with an ANR kit in the headset, I
don't know if I prefer the transmission any better, but the noise and engine
harmonics are much nicer to tolerate...this old Lyc, especially when
throttled back in the circuit, is so quiet and smooth it almost makes you
wonder if you need any power at all.
        I said before that I don't believe much in practicing circuits
because I only wear out tires and brakes and one landing can be totally
different from the last, so all I do is watch the numbers and the slope and
take the lights with a grain of salt, and try to let her settle.
Today though, I was thinking of the times the the instructor would cover up
the airspeed for landings, I would not have liked that today however,
because the wind and turbulence and shear kept me busy enough without
testing the gravity Gods.
I would like to try that later when I have more time.
A hard habit to break, was deadstick landings with no power at all, but then
again, an RV is no Cessna 120.
Van's video of a very short arrival and touchdown confirms what the airplane
really can do if you know her well.
Turbulence ain't all that much fun, but we can't always fly on glass smooth
days ..that's why my wife flys very seldom..at least with me....maybe she is
telling me something.....
But windy days put another factor into flying well and that should be the
mission...not like I used to do..take off, gaze at the ground, be a Sunday
tourist over what I could recognize and at the end of it all, hope I could
pull off a good landing and drive home at landing speed with a dumb grin,
thinking I had really done some aviating..
Each flight should teach something...hopefully..
As a matter of fact, one flight that I relish thinking about to this day
happened about 5 years ago when flying under a 1,000 foot ceiling with the
cloud base very dark and black and flat as a table top stretched as far as
you could see and under that was a bright wash of sun from off the sea,
bringing with it a stinging wind that was a real test for a casual flyer.
Radio was no great hell, as usual, but I got through and cleared straight in
and a big twin was about to join up and I fought my way down to the numbers
and touched on three points and made the slickest smoothest arrival I had
done in about 100 hours.
When I slid back the hood, the wind about took my hair and the control stick
with it, but the RV was stable and quiet as an old cow pony....and this, you
training wheel doubters, in a... gasp....tail dragger.....
I never fail to get a boot out of that title of a book...."Taming the tail
dragger "....
This last RV effort took me 4 years of steady going and I got rusty, but it
doesn't take long to get better and do the RV justice.
What I need to do now, is let her have the bit and run for as long as the
gas holds out...I plan some serious cross country and I'll bet the thrill
will never wear off, especially if I can fly and take pictures at the same
Also, to fly in company with another RV is wondrous....it lets you see how
you must look from another seat and test your skills of maintaining exact
altitude, which imparts another sense of pride.
Finally, landing together and taxiing to the pumps always brings out the
guys who want to ask all about RVs and wither thou art bound and from whence
you came etc. and it never gets tiresome.
Many good days awaiting you.
The hours and expense is well spent.