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Flight: 2014-1005-2 in N12556 (Penny) for $
KJZP - KGMU (flying time 1:21)
Returning to KGMU with Penny -- so that she can go to work *sniff*
From KJZP (Pickens County (GA)) 2014-10-05 15:43:27 to KGMU (Greenville Downtown Airport) 2014-10-05 17:04:53 [01:21:00] with 1 day and 0 night landings.
David Thorburn-Gundlach (pilot-L) /
Off I go in Penny to bring her back to KGMU -- to, with much trepidation, put her on the flight line for Instrument students! This even gets to be a lesson, though, as we explore formation flying.
Dan in the 150 took off first and was heading away as I did my runup. He was still in sight as I took off, so no problem, right? But I flew a regular pattern for altitude instead of just heading East as he had -- and I immediately lost his little black plane in the green hills. Arrrgh!
We played cat & mouse for a while, and I even took a turn across the V463 airway since we could both guarantee recognition, and we finally met up just off of Gainesville. I was constantly adjusting my viewpoint to see through the strut, which had never seemed so huge, in an effort to find him -- and in the end I found him hiding behind my window post after he spotted me. Ah, well...
Then came the fun stuff! Everything is slow and easy, so it takes a while to effect a change (although we had also planned our bailout procedures in case we needed to separate in a hurry), but I eventually closed on him and worked my way into position 1000ft, 500ft, 250ft, 150ft apart. Then it was time to just stick together, which went well. As I was closing we adjusted our heading to get back on course, so I got to follow him a bit, and then it was back to steady work.
After working on his right side and also working through some turbulence, I switched to low and behind for a while. I kept wrestling with throttle and pitch until I realized that I could just settle into about a 200fpm climb -- after which he admitted that he had unconsciously been climbing because he just 'knew' that I was right back there and gonna chew him up :-) Then over to the left for more of the same, and it was actually easier to see him that way because he was no longer in the distorted curve of the windscreen. I'll take either, though; formation is AWESOME!!!!!!!! :-)
We weren't up to landing in formation, so soon enough it was time to separate. He grabbed his phone and filmed me breaking away, which felt a lot quicker than it looks :-) and which I want to capture better another time. Still awesome, though!
Back at KGMU, things were busy; woo hoo! It was nice to be able to get slotted in and actually fit, but I ended up floating just a hair and so the tower and I were kinda nervous about clearing in time for the next plane. My speed bled off quickly, though, and I made it right to the proper taxiway as originally expected and all was well. [But I'm back to inconsistent landings; urgh.]