So, when I was talking with him after we had put the plane away, he said he wished he had a method of hooking his towbar to the front of his garden tractor that he uses to mow the grass around his hangar so he could let the tractor do the pushing (apparently, he told me today, he slipped last winter and banged himself up pretty good in the fall)
“Not a problem” I said. “Lets see the tractor”.
So I got a tape measure and measured the front frame rails and made a sketch and went back to my shop.
I made him a plate to fit the front frame rails and a bar he can hook to his towbar which will allow him to use the tractor to push the plane up the ramp. Simple to cut a bit of scrap metal and tack it together with the welder. I figured it was the least I could do since he wouldn’t let me pay for the fuel we used last time…. I’m a pretty good fabber if you don’t mind that it ain’t pretty….
Today, he was at the hangar, so I was able to meet him out there to test fit the plate and mark some holes in the frame so I could finish it up and full weld it together. A pretty nice piece of design, considering I made it from the pieces I had available, if I do say so myself.
As it was about 11:30 when I got there and it took about 40 minutes to mark the holes and fit everything else, he asked me if I wanted to have some lunch.
“Sure, where would you like to go?”
“Rochester” he replied. “I know a place”. (About 55 miles away from where we were)…”Up for a flight?”
Since I didn’t have any plans that afternoon that I could not change, I agreed.
We pushed the plane out of the hangar and preflighted and I started to get into the right seat.
“You don’t wanna fly?”
So I climbed into the left seat and started the engine.
Winds were 210 so we used 18 and I flew us to Rochester. about a 30 minute flight. I’ve been there before, so it was a sorta familiar route. He has a Garmin 430 and an I-Pad with ForeFlight, so navigation was easier than paper charts. First time I have simply taken off and flown without a real flight plan though.
3500 feet and MAN that is a nice, easy to fly airplane. Climbs at over 1000 FPM with just the two of us, and cruises at a bit over 140 knots (He is still breaking in the new powerplant, so we didn’t cruise at over 65%).
Winds at RCR were 180 at 12 gusting 15 so I chose 110 as the runway (110/290) and I did a straight in approach as there was no one else in the pattern. Did a nice, if not great crosswind landing and taxiied to park on the grass near the restaurant, which is near, but not on the airport property.
Lunch was good, and we walked back to the plane, preflighted, and taxiied back to the end of 11.
Took off and climbed to 4500 feet and set course back to home.
AWOS said winds were 250 when we were 20 miles out, 240 at 10 miles out, so I began setting up for a downwind for 27, but then were at 220 at 5 miles, so I instead entered the downwind for 18 and did a bounced landing due to a slightly late roundout and gusty wind at touchdown. Added a bit of power and stabilized and then set it down….Not my best landing, but not too bad either. Not a hard bounce, but still, a bounce.
Taxiied in and pushed the plane into the hangar.
Since everything fit right the first time, I will finish welding the pieces and do a bit of grinder work on the edges and such and then paint it this weekend. He will have a towbar and a more or less permanent hitch to hook it to. No more slipping and falling on a slippery ramp when he is by himself….at least not when pushing the aircraft back into it’s hangar.
I should have it done when he gets back from his trip next week.
He still won’t let me pay for even my share of the gas though. I did buy lunch.
As Aaron puts it….1.1 and 2.
I gotta find one that I can buy.