That time of year

I have spent most of my flying life in the central U.S., from South Dakota to Texas. One of the things everyone flying in this part of the country learns early is how to contend with winds that other places consider too strong to fly. Another is that after sunrise in the Summer thermals will form quickly and make your ride very uncomfortable sometimes as high as 7 or 8000 feet. This is that time of year, so flight planning when it is just to get up and go for a bit requires some serious weather considerations.

This morning was one of those opportunities. I have been wanting to get up for several days, but the afternoon temps of 99-100 degrees made it unappealing. This morning though the air was already in the upper 80s there was a cloud deck which was blocking the early sun to the East. I got to the airport and it was very active, lots of hangars open and people committing aviation. The two T-6s were pulled out but I didn't see them fly.

I put the updated SD in the GTN-650 and waited for it to finish updating and taxied out to the blacktop ramp. After runup I was one of several being cleared to the runway for departure. Upon takeoff I climbed out briskly at about 800 ft per minute and contacted Oke City. I informed them I wanted to do a counterclockwise circumnavigation of Okahoma City and was told to fly own navigation. It was stil somewhat early and the flight was extremely smooth. I flew through a large space in the overcast which had allowed the sun to warm the surface and felt the beginnings of a light chop. The forecast winds at 3000 seemed to be running true to the predicted 30kts. I made the turn to the West over Edmond Oklahoma and it was smooth as glass, by this time I was airborne for a little more than 30 minutes.

As I turned SW near Sundance (KHSD) the chop returne and I noticed the clouds were gone. The light chop became moderate. As I cam abeam of Wiley Post (KPWA) the chop became constant and light to moderate turbulence was noted. The sun was really doing its job of heating the surface with temps forecast today in the upper 90s once again. I was starting to get both pitch and roll excursions in addition to the solid thumps of rising thermals.

I queried Oke City about my turn back to the East to return to Westheimer (KOUN) and was told I could cross Will Roger mid-field at 3500. I accepted their kind offer and made the turn. As I made my crossing I watched a biz jet enter 17L and takeoff while an AAL airbus waited to line up. The turbulence was a little better crossing the built up areas of town and I flew along I-240 until just East of I-35 and turned South. I was handed off to KOUN tower and was told to make a straight in to 18 report two miles final. Before I got to the two mile distance another plane (an experimental which I did not recognize) was cleared to land ahead of me and I was called as number two following the traffic.

As I approached I could see the experimental sitting in the middle of the runway while he asked questions of the tower regarding taxi information, even after he was told to exit on Charlie 1. I was debating the need to go around when he clear the runway. I landed and requested a roll out to taxiway Bravo as it is more convenient to my getting back to the hangar and it was approved.

All in all it was an enjoyable flight, I got up in time to miss the worst of the day's heating which is expected this time of year.

Also Monday is National Aviation Day according to a letter I received from the FAA. So everyone should go commit aviation on Monday.

Comments

  • Great flight, Bill, and nicely told. I had a good day, too. I took two friends up for their first flights and all went smooth. Because they weighed 225 each and I'm 180, I had to fuel to half tanks, remove my O2 tank, some items in the baggage compartment and I came in at gross weight and in the center top of the envelope. I checked the AFM for accelerate-stop distance and runway needed at departure and arrival airports. My Arrow behaved perfectly and because it was at gross weight it behaved like my old Seneca! I was very happy and I might fly near gross weight more often, I liked it!
    We both had great days and I hope everyone else did, too!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Nice narrative Scott, sounds like it was a good day to aviate all around.

  • Scott...good thing you are not here at KFLY...we are relegated to our "emergency" crosswind strip due to the main runway being re-constructed. The crosswind strip is 2200 feet long with 2/3 being dirt. The density altitude when I took off this morning was 9200 feet. Crosswind component was only 5 kts with a 6 kt tailwind (we can only take off to the east and land west due to grade and nearby homes. The pax load you had would have converted your Arrow into a high speed ATV!!! Short field technique is definitely required for another 6 weeks or so until our main runway (6000 feet long 15/33) is opened.

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • OMG, Jim! 9200 density alt? Oh wow, high speed ATV, absolutely. I'm sure you're looking forward to getting your runway back. :) Safe takeoffs till then!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited August 19

    Those of us based here have a "rule of thumb"...10K (density altitude) by 10:00 a.m. and it is pretty much a true-ism in August!! Sadly we have had one "incident" and one "accident" in the 5 weeks the runway has been closed. No injuries but one Cherokee pretty much totaled and a C-210 that blew a main wheel tire and flat-spotted the other main trying to get stopped by the time it reached the end of the asphalt patch after landing on the dirt crosswind strip. We have about another 6 weeks to go :( It certainly pays to stay light and get out early!!

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

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