It was cold and overcast this afternoon, but I went to the airport regardless, intent on moving my aircraft away from the repair shop and back to it's regular tie-down before the expected winter storm arrived here. The forecast called for a ten-knot direct crosswind today but when I called the tower for taxi clearance, fingers crossed, they had the wind as sixty degrees at eight knots, and with runway eight available, that sounded great.
Now my repair shop was at the far end of the field, necessitating my taxiing all the way back to the other end of the runway. But the tower cleared me for Taxiway Alpha, the one on the Air Force side of the field, so I got to wheel it past the C-5 fleet up close and personal. One of them had it's engines running and the tower called to caution me about this, but it wasn't until I was passing it that I understood why: even on the ground those things have power. As soon as I passed it, I felt the jet blast grab my little Cessna and I was glad that I'd spent some time just yesterday reviewing taxi procedures in high winds; Right aileron down, elevators down as the exhaust from the parked jet rocked me. Kinda cool except for that burnt kerosene cloud that I was enveloped by. COUGH!
But I got to the runway without further incident and took off. Finally. And it was great.
I flew north to the Potomac River and followed it down to Harpers Ferry, then banked right and flew down over Charles Town to say hi to some friends on the ground. Then I went back east to the Shenandoah River and followed it down the Blue Ridge to the pass where Route Seven cuts through the mountain. I made one quick low pass over Mt. Weather just to remind them that I own the sky here today, then flew west to Winchester, Virginia and joined the traffic queue for a touch-and-go on their Runway 32 just because I was in the neighborhood.
By this time. I could see the storm front out to the south and west already, so I just followed highway 522 back between the mountain ridges to Berkley Springs, then banked southeast again and headed back into the airport, getting a straight-in approach back onto Runway 8 again.
It was supposed to just be a short hop, but I wound up flying for about two hours, just enjoying the hell out of the plane and the day. And the work that the shop did on the nose gear strut made a big difference on the landings--no more teeth-rattling vibration on touch-down. (Yay!)
So now the plane's tied down in it's stall, I'm back home with the dogs, and the snow's just starting to fall. What a great day, indeed.
Sorry for the lack of pics today. Maybe next time I'll remember to put the memory disc in the camera before I head out the door with it.