The last three Saturdays in a row have been really amazing for me because I have gotten to fly with friends so much. Having so much fun hasnt lent to making huge progress on the build this month but we're still on track with our steady 90 hours per month average.
The first Saturday of the three recent ones was spent flying right seat in my friend Bill's twin Cessna 421. I had flown right seat in it twice before and its a lot of fun. This trip was special though. We flew to Prattville, AL because they had some work to do and I was there just to tag along. Another good friend of ours, Dan, flew left seat on the way down and then Bill flew left seat on the way back. Both taught me various things as I held heading an altitude on this IFR flight. It was the first flight I've even done where we filed IFR and it was pretty cool! Not as eventful as I thought it would have been but then again, we were on an easy route and canceled our IFR just outside of Prattville. On about a quarter mile left on our final approach I pointed out to Dan that there was a Cessna landing on the opposite runway. Unannounced. Going the wrong direction with respect to the wind! Both planes did a go around and it was a non event but just goes to show you have to be vigilant! We ate BBQ for lunch after the work was complete and then we headed for home. On the way back it was AWESOME because we were flying at 5,000 feet and the cloud level was about 4,800 so we had a very scenic view and occasionally we would blast right through a cloud that was a couple hundred feet taller than our altitude. It was really fun to bust through the clouds. I really got a sense of the speed we were flying at when that happened. What a great experience.
The next Saturday I lucked out and got to fly out to Monticello air park (GA06) with my good friend Keith in his RV-7. I had something really special in store for me as our tech councilor friend, Gary, was going to give me his old batteries from his plane so we could use them for testing. This was good because it allows us to defer our battery purchase a bit longer. More importantly though, Gary has an RV-10. Having an excuse to go visit meant we could get a ride in his plane! Sweet! I have been pretty nervous about taxing our -10 when the time comes because the last time on our fall leaf trip when I taxied a -10 I was weaving all over and didnt feel in very good control. This trip eased my worries on that a bit. The castering nose wheel of the 10 is different than the Cessna 172 I trained on. I find that I really have to start my turns 2-3 seconds in advance. So Keith and I flew up to Cherokee, filled up on gas, then headed down. The runway was a nice grass strip and I had only landed on one once before so that was fun. Keith did the landing because I'm not tailwheel rated (yet). We took off in Gary's -10 and had a nice flight and I learned a lot and had a blast. Got to practice taxing, which was very beneficial to me. Keith and I said goodbye to Gary and headed back for home. About 15 miles out from home field we decided to do a fly over my house. That was pretty neat because we were over dobbins air space so we could see the field really well. After I spotted my house, Keith suggested we tour Atlanta. Uh, yes! No brainer! We very carefully flew within the allowable airspace and flew past downtown, circled all the way around Hartsfield, and then back North to home. The view was spectacular and the experience was memorable. I'd really like to take Brandi on that flight in our -10 some day.
The 3rd Satuday involved a BBQ competition in Perry, GA. Keith offered to take me with him so of course I wasnt going to turn that down. We flew down to Falcon Field in Peachtree City where the Falcon RV Squadron is and met up with others. We flew a 4 RV ship formation down to Perry, which was fun. The weather was a little windy but up at altitude it was nice. Keith is one heck of a pilot and makes the formation stuff look easy. I got to practice a bit and I still struggle to stay in place. I guess practice makes perfect! Once we arrived at Perry we met up with and chatted with other pilots who had flown in. I saw our friend Pierre there and also finally got to meet fellow -10 builder Brian who is working on his build near Stone Mt. Someone told us that people who flew in got free bbq so all our eyes lit up and we headed over to have a look. Let me explain for a second. This wasnt some guy on a Webber grill. This was a SERIOUS competition. There was thousands of dollars in prize money, trophies, and a huge crowd. Well we walked right up and these ladies who were running things were so incredibly nice to us that it was just amazing. They ushered us into a hangar where they had like 20 different plates of all different kinds of BBQ from the competitors. These were extra plates that were not needed for the judges so we got to sample them all and I was in HOG HEAVEN haha. After we enjoyed some delicious bbq we all wandered around for a while and finally when everyone was ready to go we met on the flight line and headed for home. Before we left, we did a few formation fly-bys for the crowd. We did a diamond, echelon, and then single low approaches. It was a lot of fun and there were lots of people waving and it looked like they enjoyed the demonstration. Keith and I landed back at Falcon field and ended up hanging out for a few hours, which was great! I love being around all those guys and we talked aviation and had a great time. Got some good advice, told and listened to stories, and had a great time just hanging out. Everyone marveled at how much Brandi was doing on the project and that she was home working on interior while I was out playing :)
With all the fun adventures like these ahead of us and all these good people to share it with, there is no doubt in my mind that getting involved in this build project was one of the coolest things we could ever do.