Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Have $100 Hamburger When You Can Have $100 Onigiri?

My wife took a flight with me today after nearly two and a half years out side of the cockpit. We had a great time.

We were going to fly with my Dad to 6K3 (Creighton Municipal Airport) on father's day, but low clouds and thunderstorms kept us on the ground. They just dedicated a new 3700 foot runway there, replacing their 3100 footer. I kind of wanted to fly there, and the wife suggested that we take a day off and go. Sounded like a winner to me. We chose today nearly a week out, because of convenience, but as 6/30 got closer and closer we found the weather forecast to be near perfect, for a summer day.

The perfect weather for flying is about 50 degrees fahrenheit, calm winds, clear skies, and about 29.92 inches of Mercury of barometric pressure. When we took off from MLE at 7:30 AM it was 62 degrees, calm wind, clear skies, and about 29.98 inches of Mercury. Wow.

We took off with out a bump, set our GPS to 6K3 and pointed North. There is really nothing to say about the flight. It was about as perfect as could be. We had nearly 30 miles of visibility, and calm skies. A slight quartering head wind kept our cruising speed to about 100 knots. After 1.3 hours of flight we came in at the long, brand new runway at Creighton. It looked really great. I crossed mid-field and made a nice easy 30 degree bank left turn to enter left downwind for the new runway 31. With very little wind it was as easy as they come. I touched down and hit the breaks for a very nice landing.

View Larger Map
Creighton Airport, before the update.

My wife made some onigiri for us to have as a little picnic under the wing of the Piper Archer.

Onigiri similar to what we ate.

Onigiri are basically rice balls. In the U.S. we eat sandwiches as a quick cold meal. The Japanese use onigiri in the very same fashion.
We had salmon last night for dinner, so we saved some back and put that in the middle of our onigiri. They were AWESOME!! Some chocolate cookies finished off the Feast Under the Wing, and we set our sights back to MLE.

The air was heating up a bit at this time, and my chosen altitude of 3500 feet was just a bit bumpy, so I headed up to 5500 feet. That was much more comfortable. The VFR recommended altitude for flying East is odd number thousand feet plus 500. The VFR recommended altitude for flying West is even number thousand feet plus 500. So if you are flying West you would choose 4500, 6500, 8500, 10500. East 3500, 5500, 7500, 9500.

After reaching altitude we noticed that the wind was now pushing us and we were doing about 120 knots. We settled in for a nice one hour flight...

We made it to Omaha, and a common thing happened... We couldn't find the airport. Omaha has a lot of roads and MLE has big leafy trees all around it, so it is not the easiest runway to find. We flew althe way to Papilion, before I caught sight of the Interstate and with it the airport. I was about at pattern altitude (2000 feet), because I did not want to fly in to OMA airspace and get in to trouble. My biggest worry was not that I wouldn't find the airport. We had plenty of fuel, my biggest worry would be that I would wander in to Offit or OMA's airspace and get my license suspended.

I lined up for a three mile final straight on to runway 30. I clicked in 10 degrees of flaps and lined up on the runway.
Set for 80 knots, bring up the nose watch airspeed bleed away. 80 knots.
Two miles. 20 degrees flaps, set for 75 knots.
One mile. Full flaps, set for 70 knots. Announce: "Millard area traffic Cherokee 6113 Juliet is final runway three zero, Millard."
Holy crap! Beware of the street lights above the Interstate. Give power to arrest decent. Hold 70 knots.
Obstacle clear. (Whew) I have enough altitude to make the runway. Pull power off.
Trim wheel back once.
10 feet off the ground, pull yoke back lift the nose watch speed bleed off, but no altitude gained.
Touch down!!!
Keep the nose high, apply breaks.
Turn left off of the runway. Announce: "Milliard area traffic, Cherokee 6311 Juliet is clear all runways, Millard traffic."

It was a great time. The wife was only a little bit worried at the end when she thought we were going to land on the Interstate. I knew we wouldn't land on the Interstate, but I was momentarily concerned that we would not clear the street lights...

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