As before my RV weekend started early and continues into Monday!
I haven't been using my RV in competition due to canopy problems. My friend Shaun asked if I was going to the Rome contest next week (10/18-19). And I said I was going to volunteer but not fly. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse, "You wanna use my Extra?" "Well, sure!" The problem is that one doesn't just jump into a machine like that and expect to fly it safely in a contest, much less with any kind of precision. He must of seen the look on my face. Then came, "We'll get you a few training flights. You'll be good." Fortunately, IAC rules allow safety pilots to ride with contestants when the contestants aren't qualified in a particular aircraft. Per the FAA - I'm qualified, the insurance company - no, and me - big fat HECK NO!
Shaun's airplane is an Extra 330LX previously owned by Patty Wagstaff. So, Thursday, I flew my RV-8 up to Habersham Co. (AJR), 85 nm. We flew two 40 minute flights with a couple of very short 1-3 minute breaks during each flight. I was beat. Forget the wet noodle, I felt like a noodle that had been boiled for two hours and beginning to fall apart!
Thank you Shaun!
The Bonanza's annual is finished and is ready for pick up. My friend Steve McDonald helped me by giving me a ride to Columbus, GA airport (CSG), 54 nm in his RV-8A. I remember when He finished it. I've known Steve now for over 10 years. Great guy, fellow Delta pilot, Falcon RV Squadron member, and FFI Wingman. After dropping me off, he went on to Macon to have lunch with his daughter. One problem... I left my headset in his baggage compartment.
The good guys at Columbus Aero Service loaned me one to get me back home Falcon Field (FFC), got another one of my headsets from my RV, went back to CSG to return the headset I borrowed, then back to FFC. Probably would have been cheaper to overnight ship the headset.
But not as much fun!
Big day today. Flew my RV back to AJR for Extra lesson #3. We only flew once today but we did a lot. We started working on snap rolls, in particular the Avalanche which is a loop with a snap on top. Sounds hard, and it is, but it is easier than many other types of snap roll situations. Again, I was whooped and one flight was all I could handle. Besides, I had more RV fun scheduled later that evening.
Our group at FFC, The Falcon Field RV Squadron, has grown considerably over the last few years. We have over 50 RVs on the field! And recently we have had much more interest and activity in formation. Thanks to Greg Reese, we’ve had quite a few of us become FFI leads and wingman. Our group is called upon regularly for fly-bys, missing man formations, etc.
One of the many fun things going on this past weekend was the Atlanta Air Show. The Canadian Snowbirds were the headline act. They were invited to the Line Creek Brewing Co for a meet and greet with other aviation types. A couple of the guys from our group are involved with the brewery. It was suggested that we perform a fly-by and mingle with the Snowbirds after we land. What a great idea! The Snowbirds were impressed by our performance. Pretty cool!
While today had really nothing to do with the RV. It was still a busy aviation day. My son Max a been taking glider lessons up in Chilhowee TN (92A). Mama wanted to go this time so we took the Bonanza. The IO-550 powered F33A makes quick work of the 112 nm.
Last month I reported that he had solo’d a glider for the first time. So we’re back up there getting him ready for his PPL-Glider. His instructor said he’s far ahead of the game. I have to think all of that stick time in the RV has helped.
Today ended up being a huge day.
I had promised an Eagle Scout in my son’s troop a first flying lesson in the Bonanza. How’s that for your first lesson? In a 300 hp, constant speed prop, retractable gear airplane! His name is Elliott and he did remarkably well. I believe he has spent some quality time with a simulator.
I had previously given him an aerobatic ride in the RV and set the hook. He got his Aviation Merit Badge, flew a Young Eagle flight, and has completed a significant portion of the Sporty’s ground school enough to earn the voucher for a flight lesson. I told him to keep the voucher, “This one’s on me!” He had a great time and learned a lot. His mom, who does more than you can imagine for the troop, rode along in the back with us. She had a great time too and was impressed by her son’s skill.
I had also arranged to fly the Extra with Shaun later in the day. So after a quick lunch at home, I ran back out to the airport and flew the RV back to Habersham for my Extra lesson, 85 nm each way. Just one flight today as Shaun was preparing for the contest as well. It was all I could handle anyway! Back to Falcon Field from Habersham. This was my 4th flight for day: the Bonanza lesson, the Extra lesson, and back and forth in the RV. You would think I was done for the day.
Nope. Earlier in the day, just before the Bonanza flight, my airline called and assigned me an unusual trip for the Airbus 330 for a very early Tuesday morning departure. It is a domestic military charter flight with an 0300 report! The military charters are fun because they’re unique and you get to visit some different airports and military bases. It’s not every day you get to visit base ops or the FBO as an airline pilot. Also, as a 20 year AF veteran myself I get the feeling I’m serving my country again. I’m sure I’ve carried the 10th Mountain division in the past while flying C-130’s and C-17’s and now I’m back at it again.
Ok, now let’s do the math. I get back from this trip Thursday afternoon with barely enough time to get to the contest. No time to go home. I better leave straight from Hartsfield. Luckily this contest is in Rome, GA and is within driving distance. Shaun will already have the Extra there. That means packing for my work trip and packing for the contest. I better get everything I need, contest paperwork, chute, etc. I better get some shut eye too.
Let’s see... in one 24 hour period, I gave a 1.3 hour lesson in the Bo, got a 0.6 lesson in the Extra, flew my RV on two 0.7 hour legs, and flew a 2 hour and a 3 hour leg in the Airbus. I have finally recovered enough in the hotel to compose this post!
Fun times. I hope everyone has a fantastic RV weekend next time.