Because it was a nice day, when I picked my pane up from the repair shop (more on that later), I couldn't resist taking it up for a little test-hop.
First I flew east, over the Jefferson County Fair.
Then it was over the Blue Ridge mountains and into Virginia and the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) that surrounds Washington DC. This was my first foray into the SFRA, formerly known as the DC ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone). I guess that the new warmer and fuzzier name is supposed to dispel fears of being intercepted by F-16 fighters if you don't do everything exactly right. But no worries--I did my homework, I have the correct squawk codes, and come the worst case, I can fly a lot lower and slower than an F-16. You guys want a piece of me? Come on down here.
No pics of the inbound flight to Leesburg (JYO) because I was working a bit to stay both under the Dulles Class B airspace and above the terrain. Kinda tricky and not much time for camera work.
Once on the ground, I got parked next to this Piaggio Aero P180, known locally as "the flying catfish".
And with that, it was off to Fredneck. (And I've called it "Fredneck" for so long due to it's special demographic make-up that I actually had to catch myself when talking to the tower there. ("Fredne--Uh, I mean Frederick Tower, this is Cessna XXXXX inbound from the south...")
I had lunch there (The Kebab steak sub...avoid it) and then got my departure instructions from Ground. They sent me to the departure end of Runway 23 to wait next to these guys.
Here's a nice, posh neighborhood with it's own golf course. We're not in Fredneck anymore.
Next, I touched down in Clearview, a bit south of Westminster.
This place was covered with old aircraft, most of which looked like they'd been abandoned and/or stripped for parts. It was like the Island of Misfit Toys, only for aircraft. But that didn't mean that there wasn't some cool stuff there, too.
Check these out.
And this little beauty is a 1947 Aeronca 7BCM. It's an eary Champ, forerunner of the Citabria. All of these originally went to the military as L-16As (So it's a real warbird!) but eventually most of them made it back into civiian hands.
I hit Carroll County on a touch-and-go, and then overflew this little marina east of Hanover, PA.
I hadn't landed on grass since my flight instruction 15 years ago, and I'd forgotten how soft yet firm those strips are. No tire screech or bounce--just a soft "thunk!" and you're down and rolling. Grass strips are cool!
I back-taxied and took off again.
So smooth. Did I tell you that grass strips are cool? And yeah, I picked up a lot of bugs on that landing.
Then I went up to Carlisle, PA. This should have been a quick one but there was another Cessna in the pattern and he was flying such a HUGE pattern that I like to have run out of gas or dozed off waiting on him to come around. When he called his crosswind leg, I told him that I'd work in behind him on downwind but then I spotted him and he had to be 2-3 miles out. Seriously? Dude, you just took off. I tend to fly a tight pattern personally, so when this guy held off before making his base turn way, WAY down the road, it was all I could do not to just cut in front of him and dive for the deck. But that would be rude, and besides, I spotted this cool amphibian sitting on the airport grounds so I quit cursing him and used the time to mess with my camera.
They may be cool, but they can also be damned hard to spot.
Oh, there it is? Can YOU see it?
Next I tagged Franklin County (PA) Airport because it was there.
I flew south, got clearance to cut Hagerstown, MD's Delta airspace, and in a few short minutes, I was crossing the Potomac River back into West Virginia.
Then it was a smooth landing back at my airport, right past the big guys again.
Oh--and I stopped off at the fair on the way home. There were horses.