Night flying

Took Midwest Chick and Ed to Eagle Creek for dinner last Friday night.

Preflighted at 4 PM Central time and then fueled up (I had about 7 gallons in one tank and just under 30 in the other according to the dip tube…which was enough, but just barely and my reserve would have been marginal) with 37 gallons of 100LL.

Fired up and listened to the weather, then taxiied out to 18 and did a southbound departure. The takeoff roll was long as the weather was fairly warm (FIFTY DEGREES in January!!!) and I had full fuel with me (180lbs), Ed( 250) and MC (120 lbs) plus 40 lbs of ballast in the luggage compartment. fist time I have had that much load in the plane. Climbed out well though.

We went up to 5500 and flew to Eagle Creek with Flight Following, arriving after dark. Picking out the airport from the other light clutter on the ground was at first difficult, then, once we saw the airport, it was easy. Did a base leg entry and an Ok landing…not my best, not my worst. I did miss the last taxiway and had to turn around and back taxi as there was a plane waiting at the end of the runway (winds were negligible, so either end was useable. We never did hear any of his radio call though, (and yes, I WAS on the right freq….I checked)

Dinner was AWESOME. Service was excellent. Walked back to the FBO and unlocked the plane and did a preflight and fired up and took off. The ATC folks weren’t busy, so they were pleasant and fun to interact with. We had ’em watch us on the way back too…

Arrived back home, did another base leg entry for 27 and was a bit fast over the numbers….but other than the float, the landing was good.

Pushed the pane into the hangar and went home.
A VERY good evening. MC had never seen the lights on the ground from up at night, so she was happy. Ed got his “Altitude Fix” so he was as well. (his 182 is down for an engine/prop rebuild)….he does now want an autopilot though. His 182 doesn’t have one. The air was smooth as one could ask for, clear as glass, and ceilings were 25,000 or greater.

I gotta do some pattern work and practice night landings. Mine are OK, but just OK. I need more practice so that I have better perspective on final. The lights and nighttime illusions make it hard.

But overall, nights like this are why I wanted to learn to fly. this would have been a 2+ hour drive each way, with lots more hassle and stress. In a plane, it is a bit less than an hour each way.
Plus it is fun. I could not do things like this with rental aircraft either. Too expensive and the availability of the planes just isn’t there.

I’m glad I learned to fly and bought an airplane.

As Aaron puts it: 2.2 and 2.