To file or not to file ?
Here’s another controversial area. To file a flight plan or not ? I’m a guy that likes to stay out of busy areas and not talk to anybody until I have to. You maybe a pilot that likes to chat on the radio all the time and be under ATC control. That’s cool too.
There are some restricted areas around DC and Obamas House, as well as on the way up to NYC. A quick study of the Sectional showed me a path where I could leave Maryland, fly East and then head up the East Coast. Pass Atlantic City to the East, stay out over the water a bit and then head inland. Stay low (1000 AGL) until close to Linden, NJ then enter the pattern and land.
This would keep me out of everybody’s way and other than monitoring the local frequency, I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody other than the local traffic at Linden.
I didn’t file a flight plan or get Flight Following either as I wanted to do my own thing. We were low and within text range with the folks back home. Also the SPOT tracker was giving a rough idea of where we were, so I just sailed along my merry way.
I would however call a briefer to check for TFR’s along my intended route. With US election campaigning underway, there was the potential for the occasional TFR, especially in the DC area.
I was rewarded with probably the most beautiful flight I’ve had to date. It was early morning so the air was calm, the coast line was in full view and at 1000 AGL is was magical. We listened in to Atlantic City Approach and the other fields as we passed plus the traffic was light.
Landing my -7 is usually a non event. After 450 hours in the seat I’ve been through a wide variety of landing conditions. Snow, wet runways, wet grass runways, cross winds, quartering winds, short strips etc….
My approach is 70 Knots IAS, full flaps, 800 AGL on final, nose on the numbers, a touch of power, flare, hold, mains touch, roll out and then the tail comes down. Nothing to it….right ? What happens when you have about 80lbs in the back.
I didn’t do an exact calculation but with my bag, my Dad’s bag, tool bag, tie down stuff and extra oil. It was about 80 lbs. The plane takes off fine, flies the same but the landing flare was different and something I didn’t expect.
Add to this, hot air and sea level conditions. My bad landing started in West Virginia. On approach I noticed the tail of the plane dropping slightly when I pull the power. My sight picture out the front windshield was a little different. When pushed the elevator forward to pitch down, the plane starts to sink further. So in goes more power, now my IAS increases. As a result I would float down the runway a long ways and when it was time to ease into the flare, the tail would drop slightly and I would either 3 point the landing or hit the tail first.
Not horrible, but different than I’m use to.
I was frustrated as nothing wrecks a good long Cross Country leg like a bad landing. I did a few circuits at different airports to see if I could get a wheel landing but it was difficult.
I couldn’t figure it out until in my bed later I realized the baggage weight and different air must be a combination I’m not use to.
Another valuable lesson learnt.
As part of my checklist I always say a little prayer before I take off and after I land. Part of the prayer is, “Flying is privilege and not a right, I respect it as such, please keep me, my passenger and my airplane safe”.
Now if only I could find someone to lend me an Ultralight, maybe now I can give the Yukon a stab
I hope this has been beneficial to some. Hope you like the video too. It’s posted here
See ya in OSH in 38 days !!