August 2009 Flying · · PAGE 305.
August 8, 2009: The update for this
Saturday is about flying around and through the Chattanooga Class C airspace on a fuel run
to the Mark Anton Airport near Dayton, Tennessee. Takeoff was at 9:30 AM with the
ground temperature around 77 degrees. Ron Knowles flew right seat to insure I could
take some pix on the way home from this first time stop at this airport for me. The
full service fuel here was priced at $3.45 for 100 low-lead fuel. My digital camera
is fitted with a linear polarizing filter to reduce reflections from inside my cockpit
when taking aerial photos. On the ground with the sun at my back, the filter
enhances the color contrast making the blue sky and green grass more brilliant. I
also wear polarized sun glasses, so what I see is what I get via my camera, too.
I started the flight today around the East side of the Chattanooga airspace.
That included a flyby of the Collegedale Airport at about 185 MPH just over 200
feet above the runway. After that we climbed up to about 2,000 MSL and slowed things
down to an easy 120-140 MPH range to save gas and flew over the home of one of the EAA 150
members I have featured on this site in the past, J. J. Narus,
retired Delta Airlines Pilot. He has a paved radio-controlled model air strip
near his home. There is enough of a grass runway there to get in and out of his
field with light airplanes, like mine. But the RC crowd today was watching as I went
right over the strip. Only one airplane was aloft, and at my altitude until he saw
me coming. I did not see the pattern ship in the air until he was well below
me, diving to stay well away from the "Enterprise". Ron saw the model
This map shows the GPS ground track for the entire flight which was all about sight-seeing on the way up to the Dayton Airport, then some Class C airpspace flying and taking some pix along the Tennessee River as it comes down into the heart of the city of Chattanooga.
As we started flying down the river back toward Chattanooga, I had Ron flying
the airplane while I got out my camera and started to take some photos. This first
photo shows some of the haze over the area. I have processed this photo using the
"Auto Equalize" option of Corel Photo Paint to get the improved contrast in the
"near field" of this shot. All of the remaining photos for today were
processed in the same manner. The lake upstream of the Chickamauga Dam is below us.
Chattanooga Approach assigned us a transponder code before we entered the Class B
airspace. They gave us one warning about an airplane departing the Dallas Bay
Airport when we flew past that area. The rest of the flight was without any further
instructions from them after they confirmed our location via radar.
This is the first shot of the Chickamauga Dam as we turn toward the West and
the city beyond. The dam is a long way from the Chickamauga National Battlefield
Park in Georgia. The reason for the name of the dam is because Chickamauga Creek
drains the battlefield area along its northern flow to the Tennessee River, just
downstream of the lock and dam.
Here is a closer view of the dam looking south with four-lane Tennessee Highway
153 going over the top of the dam. This is part of the chain of TVA hydroelectric
dams on the Tennessee River.
This wide-angle view of downtown Chattanooga shows all the bridges in the
commercial district and Lookout Mountain in the distant haze.
I pushed the zoom lens a bit to get more detail as we got closer to the city.
With Ron flying the airplane, I can compose my shots better.
This one taken closer to downtown is also zoomed to show the local baseball
field for the Chattanooga Lookouts pro baseball team. They are in the Southern
League and now a part of the Dodgers Farm League teams. The four-lane highway
crossing the river here is US 27 that runs from Miami, Florida to the Mackinac Bridge in
Michigan just north of the town of Mackinaw, Michigan. From Chattanooga northward,
US 27 and Interstate highway 75 run somewhat parallel northerly courses on their way to
that bridge at the "tip of the mitt" of Michigan.
After leaving the city behind on the left side of the airplane, we head south
to pass by Lookout Mountain on the way back home. The bend in the river is just
visible at the bottom of the photo. Moccasin Bend is just to our right, but not in
this photo. That bit of land gets its name because the shape of the river around
that "peninsula" looks like a moccasin as seen from Point Park at the northern
end of Lookout Mountain. At this point, we were out of the Class C airspace and
cancelled radar service and squawked VFR for the ride home.
With all the times I have flown over, around, and past Lookout Mountain, this
is the first time I have taken a photo of Covenant College on the top of the mountain.
The area at the bottom of the photo is still on top of the mountain, not the nearby
valley toward Chickamauga. This view is looking to the West at the college campus.
The ride home from here was no big deal. I pointed Ron in the right direction since I could see the GPS better from my seat. The local landmarks guided him to the field and I took the controls for the landing to the south as we passed over mid-field at pattern altitude. Total flight time today was 1.1 hours to be added to the Hobb's meter on the home page. The ride home from Dayton used about three gallons of fuel, leaving enough to get a good start on a long cross country trip someday soon, hopefully!
August 9, 2009: Sunday morning was spent at the computer checking out the posted photos and individual stories of folks going to the big show at Oshkosh AirVenture 2009. It is always good to see familiar faces even though I did not get to make the trip myself this year. I like the stories from the pilots of Oregon and Washington who make the trip to OSH. Their cross-country landscape photos are quite different from the ones we get flying around this area of southeastern states. The weather is hot in Chattanooga again today. There are a few errands that need to be run regardless of the temperature outside.
August 22, 2009: It is Saturday and the trip to Folks Field finds the usual crowd there for morning coffee and donuts, except for Wendell. He and his wife went to Louisville, Kentucky on Friday. When the guys headed for lunch, I went to the hangar and pulled out the aft baggage wall again to add some electrical conduit to the aft strobe cable. I had noticed that the cable had been rubbing on the fuselage bottom skin and had worn away the primer where it had been resting. The strobe cables that were at risk of wear against the skin are now properly protected.
August 23, 2009: I got up a bit late this morning, sat down to the computer, and explored the Van's Airforce forums. I responded to a builder who wanted to build an instrument panel similar to mine. I started reviewing my web site to point him to specific photos and pages about the construction of my panel. While browsing my pages, I found a few bits of text missing a word here and there. I also found some spelling that needed to be corrected and words that were spelled correctly, but used at the wrong place in a sentence.
I also started looking for any photos of my strobe cable installations inside the fuselage. I have a couple of more locations under the seat pan where the strobe cables need a little conduit protection. I went looking for any photos in the web site that might show those cables in that part of the cabin or baggage area. Those photos only exist in my memory, not on the hard drive or this web site. I can see that I will soon be pulling out the seats to check the strobe cables underneath that connect to the conduits in the wings. It is an easy bit of work once the seat panels are out. I can see another Saturday preventive maintenance session in the near future. It would take many years for the cable to wear through to the point of creating a short circuit. For now, the plan is to prevent any wear at all.
August 30, 2009: The month has dragged by (or not). When I am not flying, it drags. There have been a number of cloudy and rainy days in this area lately. The moisture from the Gulf of Mexico gets caught up in the prevailing winds toward the northeastern states. A cold front was forecast to come down from the northwest and clear things around here today. The front has stalled almost over top of the Chattanooga area and it is still cloudy and dreary here today. As a result, I get time to update this web site.
I did visit the hangar yesterday as usual when I am not on the road and away from home. Wendell had asked me to help him with his RV-8 to check the main landing gear bolts. We got out his assembly instructions and large blueprints to verify the bolts that needed to be checked. Another RV-8 builder, John Myers, had mentioned to Wendell that he had found those bolts needed a bit more torque after flying his RV-8 for a year. Wendell and John talked by phone while I was there. John described exactly how he jacked up his RV-8 to get the load off the gear leg to be examined. He has all the right tools to do the job. John suggested Wendell fly down the valley soon to John's airstrip home to do the work.
I also cleaned my airplane of the usual mud droppings for the "dirt daubers" that like to build their mud nests inside the hangar. If you don't know that term, a "dirt dauber" is a black predator wasp that builds a nest of multiple rows of egg cells on just about any surface or wall. They sometimes don't get to the nest construction site with their load of moist mud. When they don't, I usually find the little splats of dried mud on my airplane. Wendell also had a few muddy spots on his airplane. I keep the carburetor heat door closed at all times on the ground inside the hangar to discourage the buggers from trying to set up housekeeping in my filtered air box. The canopy is also kept closed to protect the interior upholstery.
Wendell is getting the itch to go somewhere to an RV fly-in. I mentioned the Land of Enchantment RV fly-in coming up in October. I flew to LOE5 in 2005 when I had money in the bank, no job, a new airplane, and time on my side. I gave Wendell the highlights of where I flew to get fuel, stay overnight in the Fort Worth area, and the flight to the El Paso area with the location of the intermediate fuel stop in Andrews, Texas. He sounds like he might just make the trip with another RV builder from nearby Fort Payne, Alabama. I reminded him that the home field of Doug Reeves is just near when I spent the night before making the flight to New Mexico near El Paso. Doug runs the web site www.vansairforce.net for all of us RV builders and pilots to call home online.
Next weekend is the one before the Monday Labor Day holiday in the USA this year. I will be visiting my son in York, Pennsylvania before heading over to the Philadelphia area on business during that week. I have been reviewing the 10-day forecasts for the route of travel in hopes of taking my airplane on this journey which could last about five days. The weather up that way has been changing quickly for the past week or so. We shall see if the trip will be via my airplane or a rental car. If I take the airplane, it would be tied down outside at the Lazy B Airport near Dover, Pennsylvania while visiting with my son over the holiday weekend. Let's see, four hours of flying versus an 11-hour road trip through most of Virginia, across a thin portion of Maryland and into South Central Pennsylvania. But then there is one day when storms are forecast and my airplane would be outside and exposed to that weather. We shall see how the forecasts change in the next few days.
September 7, 2009: It is the Labor Day Holiday here in the USA today. I am in York, PA visiting with my son and his family. The trip up here from Chattanooga on Saturday was not bad, except for one traffic jam near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The University of Tennessee was having their first football game of the season on Saturday. I was rolling along at the speed limit on Interstate highway 75 from Chattanooga right up to where it follows the I-640 bypass around the downtown Knoxville, TN area, including the university and the football stadium. All that sports fan traffic with orange flags and bumper stickers went the other way toward downtown as I got onto the bypass. To be a holiday weekend, I could not tell by the traffic patterns until I hit the jam near Harper's Ferry. I back-tracked a bit and found another bridge across the Potomac River at Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Maryland state route 34 took me though the Antietam battlefield area. Since I live near the Chickamauga battlefield park, I know how these folks feel about this area.
The GPS took me up some nice valleys and then routed me across a mountain north of Frederick, Maryland to get on US 15 north to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where I turned toward York. My arrival was about 30 minutes later than I planned. The total trip from the time I got on I-75 at exit 1 in Tennessee until I pulled into my son's driveway was just under 12 hours. The odometer feature on my GPS shows 662 miles traveled during my trip on Saturday.
I use those long weekend drives to call some friends via my cell phone. I spoke with an old boss of mine who recently moved to the area around Sante Fe, New Mexico. I asked him how far it was to the nearest ski resort. He only has to drive about 15 miles now. When he lived in Rhode Island, the drive was about 200 miles to Vermont or New Hampshire. His wife is an artist and the Santa Fe area has the second highest concentration of artists in the USA. New York City is first on that list.
I also had a chance to speak to my pilot friend Marty Mason, whom you have seen in these web pages from the summer of 2008. He reminded me he has not been flying with me since then and is ready to go again.
I have been playing with my granddaughters a bit yesterday and today, taking some photos of them which have posted on some new pages in my family section of this web site. Tomorrow it is back to my day job with a visit to my biggest distributor in the Philadelphia, PA area. If all goes a planned this week, I should be getting back home by this coming Thursday evening.
September 19, 2009: It is a dreary rainy day in the Chattanooga area. I ran out to do some errands before the rain began, then had to make a couple of stops during light rain between the heavy stuff. The slow moving rain should last all day from what I see on the weather radar web pages.
This was the day scheduled for the fly-in over at the Moontown Airport (3M5), located on US 72 East of Huntsville, Alabama. They usually have good attendance, but somehow I think they cancelled it today. The rain was soaking them this morning when I first checked the radar. The most recent plot shows no rain over there. I heard a private plane departing IFR from nearby Chattanooga Airport when I returned home this morning.
This rainy weather started around September 9th in this area. It was not as bad up in Pennsylvania when I was up there last week. The 10-day weather outlook for this area is all about precipitation and not much of a chance of flying anywhere. Oh, well....
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