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2004 Western Trip - Day 17

What I Planned:

Date: On or about August 1, 2004

 

Leaving Delaware, OH (KDLZ), I'll head up to Kent State, OH (1G3) to visit Timothy Lumpp and Nathan Wolfe, both COZY MKIV builders. After some shmoozing and lunch (and maybe a ride), I'll head out for the last 2.5 hour flight back to Fitchburg, MA (KFIT) of what looks to be about 50 - 55 hours of flight time over the course of 17 flying days.



What Actually Happened:

Date: On or about August 1, 2004

Sort of kind of what I planned.

Since I stayed in Detroit with Mike Skorija the night before, and the weather looked crappy further to the east, I attempted to get to Caldwell, NJ (KCDW) to stay with my parents for the night. I thanked Lori (Mike's wife) for her hospitality, and then Mike and I went out to breakfast and then on to the airport.  I packed up and took off from Oakland/Troy (7D2) and headed out. Once again, for the third time since installing the electric landing brake actuator, I took off with the brake down. I realized it after about 20 seconds, so no harm done, but I'm DEFINITELY going to be installing some sort of microswitch warning indicator in there during the conditional inspection this year. I climbed up to 9500 ft. to get over the Detroit class B airspace and headed south. On the way (sort of) I stopped in Bolton, OH (KTZR) to visit with Tony Lee and Rick Cahill. Tony is a COZY MKIV builder, working on the canard, and Rick has a COZY III that has flown (10 years ago) which he is now refinishing and painting.

After shmoozing for a while, I went to get fuel, only to be told that they were out. WTF, I thought to myself - out of fuel?  This _IS_ an airport, right?  I mean, I DID talk to the control tower when I got there, and there WERE other airplanes there - out of fuel?  During Oshkosh week? Is this 1973?  Did I just fly through a time warp? You're a freaking FBO - what moron was running this place? Anyway, I still had about 17 gallons left, so I took off and flew 25 miles east (in my direction of flight anyway) and landed at Newark-Heath, OH (KVTA) to gas up. While approaching the airport, I asked Unicom if they had fuel, and they replied that they did (sounding as if they thought I was nuts for even asking - I mean, they ARE an airport with an FBO, right?). I told the fuel guy about Bolton, and they thought that was pretty funny.

So I fueled up, called my parents in NJ to let them know I was coming, and called my wife Deanie to let her know I wasn't going to be home that night - most probably it would be Monday. I took off and headed east. I climbed to 7500 ft., which got me over the local clouds, and after about 1/2 hour I climbed up to 9500 ft. to get me over the Pittsburgh, PA class B airspace (the cloud tops were getting higher, too, so I would have had to go up anyway.  The further east I went, the higher the tops got, and I eventually climbed to 11.5K ft (putting on the oxygen when I did so) and then to 13.5K ft (which is the highest I've been with the plane so far). At 13.5K ft, I was getting about 195 mph TAS with a 25 mph tailwind, so I was moving right along.

There was a line of T-storms and high Cumulonimbus clouds paralleling my path about (I'd guess) a hundred miles off to the south, but they weren't getting any closer as I headed east. There were isolated cells off to the left, too, but it was really easy to see anything that needed to be avoided in the clear air up there - visibility was well over 100 miles. The top of the haze layer was at 11K ft or so, and the ground was visible through large holes in the scattered to broken layer. I was continually dialing in ASOS and ATIS weather reports from 30 - 60 miles ahead, and the cloud cover was only getting better to the east, so I knew I'd have no problem descending when necessary. I started my descent about 70 miles and 20 minutes out of Caldwell, entering the haze layer around 11K ft. Strangely, after popping out of the scattered layer at about 3,000 ft, the sky below became exceedingly clear, with visibilities increasing from the 3-6 miles in the haze to around 40 miles below it.  That's the first time I had visibility INCREASE as I descended, and that the haze layer didn't continue all the way to the ground.

I landed at Caldwell, tied down, and went home with my mom, who was waiting at the airport for me when I arrived.

Here are a few pictures from the day's flying - guess what - you're going to see some clouds.

Here's the tower and parking apron at Bolton. The guys in the tower sounded about as bored as you could get.

Click on the thumbnail to see the larger version.

Just a shot of the Ohio countryside from 7500 ft., with the clouds and haze below.

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Here's some high clouds - I was at 13.5K ft. - there were numerous areas where the clouds would be boiling up (slowly) and forming these hills.

Click on the thumbnail to see the larger version.

     
Some very high isolated Cumulonimbus clouds off to the north (again, I'm at 13.5K ft.). I tried to stay pretty far away from anything that large, and succeeded.

Click on the thumbnail to see the larger version.

Heading into Caldwell, NJ, at 2500 ft. with NYC in the background (you probably can't see it in the picture - just too hazy).

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Caldwell Air Services at Caldwell Airport in New Jersey. It's a pretty ratty operation, and not well organized, but the people are nice, and they only charge $10 for overnight parking. Mac-Dan is the ritzy place on the field, but if you don't need fancy services, you don't need to pay more :-).

Click on the thumbnail to see the larger version.



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