Mar 20 2011
I went flying today. Looking back to my log book, that’s the first time since May of 2007 (!!) that I’ve been up. I can’t believe that amount of time has passed.
I had a voucher for Durham Flight Center at Oshawa airport. It was not the usual facility that I used to rent from (and trained at) but it was a deal that I couldn’t pass up. Upgrading to the 172 added a bit of additional cost, but it was quite reasonable in the end.
I was impressed with the aircraft, and even more so, the rates - I was quite surprised to see that their posted hourly rental rate for the C150/C152 fleet was still only $110 per hour - very surprising given I was paying more than that in 2007 for the Cessna 152’s at Canadian Flight Academy.
For the flight I brought along my 11 year old daughter as well as a long time friend, Mike.
For not having flown left-seat for nearly 4 years I was quite pleased how fast everything came back - the takeoff was smooth (although the crosswind did catch me slightly off guard as we got light on the wheels) and we were soon climbing out. I even maintained Vy within 5MPH, impressing even myself all things considered.
I decided that simply beelining it for CNF4 (Lindsay) to do a touch and go, and then heading back to Oshawa would be a fun flight for all involved. I used to fly into Lindsay quite often and it’s dead easy to find - something I was concerned about given I expected to be rusty.
Approach to Lindsay was uneventful and I actually pulled off a fairly respectable touchdown. Full power, let’s get outa here. Procedure whips through my head - Flaps up, full throttle, carb heat off, confirm mixture rich, confirm positive rate, maintain heading, radio calls.
We shot southbound back towards Oshawa at over 120MPH ground speed and enjoyed some more scenery. The skies were glassy calm to the point where flying the aircraft was almost effortless. Although I figured I’d be rusty, suffering heading and altitude deviations, the calm conditions meant that I virtually nailed everything +/- 100 feet for the entire flight with only two fingers on the yoke. It made me look downright good when in reality I think more challenging conditions would have made my rust show much more.
We were cleared left base for 12 and told to report established. A mile or so later we received our landing clearance before ever reporting established. I became aware of the fact that I was staying far enough ahead of the aircraft to be comfortable, but my situational awareness of traffic was lacking.
As has always been a occasional demon for me, I overshot my turn to final and ended up far past centerline, requiring a large correction. Then I realize I’m high on approach and needed to bleed altitude, only to remember exactly how fast a heavy C172 can sink as the VASI quickly went from 4 white to 3 red. Add power. Airspeed control sloppy. Getting buffeted around a little. Crosswind is yawing us, so I enter a sideslip, albeit a sloppy one, but passable. The rust is showing here now.
I transition to the flare and make another respectable touchdown, although I’m pretty sure I had some side loading on touchdown thanks to my sloppy sideslip control in the flare.
I remind myself I haven’t flown left seat in 4 years. I’ll take it.
We managed to keep the hobbs time at 0.9, which was surprising. A bill that was actually less than I anticipated was a pleasant result of such.
Overall, great fun, and it satisfied the craving to get airborne again. I was very surprised at how little rust I exhibited, although the glassy conditions made for an effortless flight, all things considered.