Trip to the beach
OK- so we are in Maine with a lot of nice beaches- but both Jess and I had spent a bunch of time in Cape Cod growing up and wanted to go back. So we got two (light) acomplises and took off on a lovely Saturday in August.
You could see Pease from quite a ways away. We went down the coast until Gloucester and then turned towards the cape.
A very cool sight- the airport was busy so we went south a little and did a nice long approach into the pattern. I didn't see this but all of the passengers saw whales from the airplane- very cool! I was too busy trying not to have a Cirrus run into us.
As we started to work our way north.
We went and saw the sights of P-Town! A free bus from the airport took us there quite quickly.
But not so quickly back- it wouldn't stop so we wound up taking a walk on the bike path for four miles back. Oops.
At long last though we got to the beach (right by the airport). It was lovely out- and the life saving station was open! Was very cool to go to a place I treasured as a kid.
We all had a delightful swim in the ocean.
Then before we knew it, we were back in the air headed for PWM. Was very cool to lift off.
And there we go- just in time for sunset near Portland. What a lovely day it was.
The plane was flying great, right up until it wasn't.
The day started out normally enough; a quick 35 minute flight in N239AM up to KRKD for the Owl's Head Transportation Museum's "Wings and Wheels Spectacular" weekend with a good friend of mine who is curious about all things flying. Left KPWM at 10:45, and after a tailwind-assisted 114 KIAS cruise we set down on runway 21 in Rockland at 11:22. Tammy had controls for most of the trip - her first time piloting 9AM - and she was a natural at it. She picked up on drift and correcting for straight and level flight with very little assistance from me.
The airshow consisted of a couple warbirds owned by the Texas Flying Legends museum - an F4U Corsair and a P-40 Warhawk - along with a TBM avenger and a P-51D Mustang "Cincinnati Miss" (because what airshow is complete without a Mustang).
The weather for that day, originally slated for overcast with thundershowers, could not have been better. There was hardly any wind, and the sun was bright and warm all afternoon. We spent time in and out of the museum - I was particularly fascinated by the 28-cylinder Wright Major engine, eight of which adorned the Spruce Goose. With 2 spark plugs per-cylinder that gives a total of 56 per engine, or 448 total on the 'Goose. "Your turn to change the plugs today, kid" could not have been something you ever wanted to hear.
As usual, the Mustang was the sexiest girl on the flight line.
And of course, the obligatory "Photo Pass".
After a trip back to the airport courtesy of the museum taxi, and a fuel-up of 239AM, we took off and headed back for Portland, climbing out to 2500 ft for the cruise back.
Why 2500 ft? Well...because I was lazy. And I was tired. And I wanted to get home. So I didn't want to spend ten minutes climbing to 4500 ft, I wanted to get to cruise ASAP and get home as fast as that little plane could take us. That little plane that had just had a cylinder overhauled. That little plane that had run as smooth and strong as it ever has on the flight up to KRKD. That little plane that was still flying great as I called approach at KPWM. It flew great, right up until the moment it didn't.
Tammy smelled it first; that unmistakable scent of hot oil. And she spotted the oil-temp gauge pegged deep into the red. I had commented earlier how N239AM "always runs cool", so she noted that the temp in the red was an anomaly. We were 5 miles to the south of the Brunswick airport, and I was at 2500 ft, an altitude that, with a now clearly overheated engine, seemed paltry and unbelievably low. I turned to Brunswick immediately, and stayed with approach until we were all the way in and safely on the ground. Nothing bad really happened outside of a few stressed nerves and a story to tell.
It really hit me when I was on the ground that I had erred in my choice of altitude, and that I'd probably been doing it wrong for a while now. Low is fun, low means awesome scenery, low means spotting your house or seeing cars on the road, but on a 50+ miles cross country return trip in an airplane that was still having a cylinder broken in, it was, quite frankly, stupid. Had I hesitated for another mile and had the engine decided that it wanted to seize itself up at that moment, I would have been gliding my passenger and I down into Casco bay, and who knows how the night might have turned out. It is a well learned lesson on my part. Altitude is money in the bank, and being "Altitude Poor" is not a good thing at all.
And we've all thought it - "but the plane is flying great!" And it always will be, right up until the moment that it isn't.
Over the Whites to Gorham House of Pizza!
I've always wanted to fly over the White Mountains; its an amazing place. So when a quiet friday evening lined up with when I had the plane and two friends who felt likewise we went for it. This is looking south at Attitash from over the Dry River Wilderness. (The aerial shots are from my friend Ben)
ï¿½Looking north up the presidentals.ï¿½
We then looped over up crawford notch and then back down over the Pemi. Bondcliff was spectacular. We exited right through the notch of Galehead and South Twin- you can see the hut very clearly!ï¿½
And then the adventurous part! Gorham, NH has a little (very bumpy) grass strip. Moreover, it has Mr. Pizza, a joint which Nathanial and Ben have long known well. Getting in was the most exciting landing I've ever done. Mountains are on all quarters along with terrain that rises on all sides. Did a high pass, a low pass, and then a final approach over the town of Gorham. At long last we came down. Wasn't as good as the first landing but it wasn't bad either!
It was an amazing evening.ï¿½
The very official sign!
Mr. Pizza actually had a long wait time (and we wanted out before dark!) so we were able to get in quickly at Gorham House of Pizza. Everything we wanted!
Some local friends, Dave and Abby gave us a ride back.ï¿½
A plane and some dudes
The takeoff was very lumpy and bumpy but 18D got us up nice and quick!ï¿½Looking back as we were into Maine- what a sight!
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