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Flying Stories from Bucky Carr, 1999 (From the PPC emailing list.)

Flying Today (2-25-1999) in Southern Colorado
Man-o-Man it has been *4* months since I flew last.  For that matter, it has
been 4 months since I laid eyes on my flying machine, Bonnie (yeah, I named
my flying machine after my girlfriend :).
For those of you who worry about leaving your flying machine idle for
many months,
rest easy.  My 6C, SR-7 w/ 582 engine has been idle sitting in an unheated
hanger at the airport since mid-October '98.  Had to add some air to the
right-side tire, but after priming with the primer bulb, applying the choke
and pulling the starter about 4 or 5 times, the engine roared to life and
purred just as the last time we went flying.
I let 'er run along at 2200 RPMs for a while and decided if it was gonna
fail, I'd rather have it do so on the ground, so ran 'er up to 4500 for
a while and walked around looking at everthing shaking.  There wasn't even
any bird poop on the machine and the hanger is full of pigeons and other
roosting critters.
I wondered if mice might have gotten after the canopy still tucked in its
bag.  Such was not the case, either.
All seems well.  Turned her off and headed for Runway 9...
Hmmmm, the wind is clearly coming from the SW, so turn about and set up for
a takeoff on Runway 27.  Darn.  Windsock looks like 12-15 knots of crosswind.
Laid out the chute...  Lessee, how does it go - do I use fanfold with wind or
without?  Should I use inverted?  Question answered.  *Must* use inverted
just to keep the canopy deflated with the wind blowing.
Climb aboard with considerable trepidation.  I know, I know.  If you wonder
if you should, YOU SHOULDN'T!!!  But it has been a long time since defying
gravity and besides, my worrying is largely due to my lack of recent trial
and success (gulp, I hope).
Everything is ready.  A call on the Unicom frequency and the airport manager
says he has assembled a crowd to watch.  Oh, great.  Hope I don't roll 'er
over.  Bonnie doesn't look good upside-down (don't tell my girlfriend, who
looks GREAT upside-down :).
Gulp, here goes.  Power forward very gradually and smoothly - probably the
smoothest application of power I've ever done.  The chute kites up directly
without hesitation, pulls to the right side which is easily fixed with opposite
rudder, er, steering tube and the canopy centers up and steadies.
Now the trick to doing a cross-wind takeoff with a pretty stiff breeze is to
leave yourself plenty of escape room.  The nice thing is that the wind will
help levitate you faster, but the sideways pulling can be unnerving for a bit.
Make sure you steer the way the chute is pulling, else you'll likely go over.
The Ghoddess was with me - after a 20 foot roll the carriage was climbing at
800 fpm (love that power) and travelling sideways faster than forward.
Ahhhhh.  Four months is just toooooo long to go without sojourning into the
breath of Mother Nature.  With a good rate of climb established, full right
rudder and my RV is darting toward the onlookers.  A few minutes of showing
off for them and it is time to explore the countryside again.
Early Spring is apparent everywhere.  Trees are budding in the 65 degree temp
which is common during the waning Winter.  Calving is apparent, too; there are
numerous babies running about the pastures.  Best avoid them but they sure are
The wind up here is stiff and bouncy.  The sun is shining through a thin
layer of high cloudiness and when I turn just so, the shadow which is
following me stops; it just ceases to move.  I can hover until the next
gust hits me.
Moseying over to Doc Biber's place I wave to his son who is going to prepare
a field for some early planting.  It's entirely too gusty to get closer than
100 feet AGL, but it is close enough to enjoy the scenery.  The landscape in
Winter out here paints a different picture since the crops have long since
been taken in.  Spent cornfields are stubbly as the wino's face.  The dry
riverbeds are sinuous as they traverse the foothill plains.  A hawk sitting
on a telephone pole eyes me as if a competitor.
But the wind-chill is taking its toll on my tennis-shoed feet, so I coax
Bonnie into a turn back toward home.  Hopping across the highway, I want to
try one last time to skim the fencetops, but the gusting is too unpredictable,
so it is me scurrying away at 200' AGL.
The airport is bathed in sunshine, which it wasn't when I took off.  Now
there is thermal activity and despite reducing the power to idle, I'm
a glider and soon at 1000' AGL - eek, airplane pattern altitude.  Pulling
away a spiralling descent is accomplished, then a return to the takeoff site.
The wind has changed and is now directly perpendicular to my chosen runway,
but the wind is strong (15 knots) so the rollout ought to be short - probably
much less than the 75' width of the turf runway.
The key with a small landing area is in the lay up.  First approach - waaaay
too high.  Next approach looks perfect, but I wanna do it again, so around
we go.  Next approach is pretty and the gusting has let up, so aim for the
spot, back on the power, begin the flair at 10' and pull the power all the
way back...she settles in as a sparrow.  Engine off and pull in the steering
lines.  All's right with my world.
Did a post-flight (what's a pre-flight?), pack 'er up and put 'er to bed
back at the hanger.  It was definitely a worthwhile flight.  'til tomorrow,
Sweet Bonnie.