Ohio Adventure

Spent the weekend with a couple friends in Ohio and found it to be quite an adventure flying yesterday. I got to town two days ago and we spent a day wrenching on Greg’s plane before Evan and I decided to head over to his direction. Greg and I put together this video of the fun we had at his strip.

Afterward, Evan and I flew over to his strip and found the winds tumbling over the hill leading to high turbulence on approach. The Maule is a compromise airplane. It’s pretty good in short fields and it’s pretty good for cross country, but it isn’t exceptional at either. One of the ways that they tuned it for short field was to give it very large flaps, but the tradeoff for that is smaller than typical ailerons. In order to use a strip like Evan’s, I need to be on approach at about 40 knots. The problem was that with my short ailerons I was going stop-to-stop keeping the airplane upright at 60 knots. I tried to touch down, but because I was faster than I needed to be, kept floating each time I hit another little gust of wind. I think I probably would have been ok if I just planted it and worked the brakes, but unfamiliar fields are kind of a bad place to push you luck. All in all, it was *way* sketchier than my approach in Philo. At Swingle’s the strip is pretty well sheltered, so once you are below the trees there isn’t nearly the same level of rolling winds.

Still, I’m looking forward to coming back to both when conditions are more favorable.

After bailing out at Evan’s I planned to go to Columbus as I have been there a few times and like the folks there. Evan is about 60 miles east of Columbus so I had plenty of time to monitor the weather readings and see how things were shaping up. Columbus caters to jet traffic and only has two parallel runways, facing nearly due west. Yesterday the windows were from 220, putting them at 60 degrees across the runway. Crosswind landings in a tailwheel aircraft are always challenging, but the winds were 17 gusting 30. That puts the gusts at a 26kt crosswind component. That’s pretty much a recipe for an insurance claim in anything with a rudder smaller than a DC-3, so I looked around for other options.

Just past KCMH is Ohio State University (KOSU) and they had a runway facing 230, right down the pipe of the winds. Rather than call for a clearance though Columbus class C, I flew a few miles north and went under the outer ring, calling State when I got about 10 miles out. They cleared me for a straight in approach and the I spent what felt like the next 20 minutes trying to go against the wind to get to the airport. Without crosswinds to deal with, I was able to slow to a normal approach speed, about 40kt, on short final which gave me a ground speed of 15-20kt! I think I should be able to log my time as helicopter for this trip! Really weird to feel normal pressures on the controls, see a normal speed on the airspeed indicator but look out the window and feel like you’re in a hover.

The tower there was having everyone take Hotel, Charlie, Alpha to the ramp but, in a move that I both welcomed and found surprising, noticed that I was a tailwheel aircraft and let me taxi all the way down the runway to within a few feet of the ramp so I could avoid having to taxi with the stiff winds. Very forward thinking of them!

On the ramp there was a minor hiccup with a rampie that stood where it was hard for me to see him over the cowl, but soon enough La Naranja Danzante was tied down and sitting pretty until I’m ready to head be to Chicago.