Took the plane up for a test flight today to make sure that the shimmy damper is fixed. Since it was a nice day, I decided to grab some cross-country hours. I searched the charts until I found a neat-looking little airport called Penn Cave, (N74) and decided to go there. It's a 2500-foot runway in a valley with 700-750ft. ridges half a mile to either side of it. What a great place to put an airport, eh? I SO have to go there!
So off I went, heading north. Soon I was crossing Maryland (with a concealed handgun--suck that, Maryland gun-banners!) and in no time at all, I was flying over lush Pennsylvania farm country. (Click on the pics to enlarge 'em)
It's amazing, but you can actually smell the cows at 3,500 feet!
All too quickly though, I ran out of flat farmland and found myself in the mountainous terrain of mid-southern PA. Mountain flying kinda concerns me, because if there's a problem and the prop stops spinning, decent landing places are scarce. I smile thinking back on last summer when I went out to western Kentucky to get this plane. Back then I did't give the terrain below--or the weather--a thought. I just jumped in and launched, and got a schooling in both before I was back home. But I've learned a lot more since then, so I climb higher to allow me to stretch my glide if need be. Fortunately the mountain ridges seem to be old glacial moraines, remnants of the last ice age, and they've got lots of farm and other developed land in between, so no matter what happens, I've got landing sites.
This golf course would be a nice spot. Cessna playing through!
Of course I can't see a golf course without thinking of my dad. Golf was his thing. Miss ya, Pop!
Here's a highway tunnel cutting through one of the ridges.
And here's a close-up shot of a truck going into the tunnel.
Antique GPS says we're on course, 32NM out, at 103 knots. (Why aircraft have to use nautical miles, I do not know.)
More views of the ridges with the farms in between. It was beautiful up there today.
Here's the valley with my target airport in it...But where's the airport?
Oh, there it is--way off in the distance. Hell, that's not a runway! It's a driveway with numbers and a wind sock!
But I got her down on the second try after coming in way too fast on the first approach. That's when I found our that the runway itself is on a hill, and once flared for landing, you can't see the far end of it (which isn't far away at all).
Bump, bump, bump, bump! Either the front gear is still jaked, or else this is the worst runway ever. Note to self: Don't combine test flights with cross-country trips from now on.
I turned around and took off again, and decided to try my luck at Mifflin County airport (RVL) since it was on the flight path.
I greased it in here slick as you please, so maybe it was the runway at the last place. We'll see.
More ridgelines on the route home.
Hey farmer guy! Your yard's a mess! The eye in the sky sees all.
And soon enough, I was back home. Another silk-smooth landing suggests that maybe the gear is ok now, and back to the tie-down.
2.7 hours logged. Happy day.