Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last flight before the annual

Got in one more beautiful evening flight before we have some downtime for the annual.

Finally got a good landing in at PYG which I always have issues with.  Nice sunset flight on a crisp November evening.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Late evening pattern work

What a beautiful cool clear night for some pattern better way to end a great weekend than some flying on a Sunday night.

These planes really perform so much better in a cool environment, noticeable change on the climb out from the 90 degree+ days.

Monday, October 3, 2016

SC Breakfast Club

Another beautiful weekend and another breakfast club.  A bright and early start on Sunday morning for the SC Breakfast club in Camden SC.

Was a really amazing turn out, so many planes we had to park on the grass!

With the rest of the Cherokees

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

AOPA Podcast Interview

Hey all, the AOPA Podcast interview that was recorded a few weeks ago is up and posted!

If you ever wanted to hear the story of the cherokee in audio book format and have 30 minutes to kill then this link is for you!

Our interview is around the 26 minute mark.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Triple Tree 2016

Triple Tree 2016 is in the books!

One of the goals I had set when we first started the plane restoration was to take the plane to the Triple Tree Fly-in which is held every year at the Triple Tree Aerodrome (SC00) near Woodruff SC.  I had been before on Tinker Belle but had never taken my own plane there or been able to camp out.

There was a bit of a scheduling conflict with one of the crew members on Tinker Belle, so I offered to fly down on Friday with Tinker Belle and then the other crew member (who was a CFI) could fly with Cody on Saturday in 86T.  That worked out for everyone as the plane got down there and everyone could get a chance to enjoy the fly-in.

I arrived early Friday morning on Tinker Belle and the grounds were fantastic.  The guys at Triple Tree work really hard all year to make sure their grounds are pristine.  Every time I've been able to visit it's better than the last.

Friday evening we attended the "Taste of Triple Tree" dinner and there I was able to meet Mark Baker the AOPA President.  He had read the article on our plane and had heard about us which was pretty awesome.

That night I spent sleeping under Tinker Belle, I had never camped out before so this was all new to me.  

The next day Cody arrived early around 8am in 86T which fortunately missed most of the traffic.  People REALLY started packing in Saturday morning and at last count over 645 planes arrived for the day.  

The AOPA was on site with their crew and asked if we would like a picture taken and put up on their instagram page with the plane at Triple Tree. 

Kinda embarrassed to admit but we actually got recognized a few times by people who had seen the article or had seen me on facebook.   Everyone wanted to hear the story and ask questions about the plane, even had a few people come by for a quick tour.

The guys at were onsite selling their 100LL alternative and we picked up a few gallons for the flight home the next day.  

Sunday morning was a beautiful cool morning with clouds around 5000 feet, a front had come through the evening before which made for a smooth as glass flight home.  Total time was 47 minutes back with a little tailwind.

I'll be honest, words do not do Triple Tree justice, if you are even remotely interested in aviation you need to make it a point to come out during the fly-in.  I guarantee it will be an experience you won't soon forget.

Here is a link to my full album of pictures from the many great memories!

Photo Album

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Longest Trip Yet!

Finally after weeks of planning and canceling due to family issues, scheduling and weather we were able to take the little Cherokee on it's first trip to the coast.
We got a late start on Sunday and didn't leave until around 2:30pm which was way later than I wanted to leave. This flight was also my biannual review and I wanted to work on some tower work. Our first stop was to KFLO in Florence SC. There was a big nascar race in town and the airport was pretty hopping. We stopped for a 'bladder break' and went into the FBO. I found a copy of this months AOPA Magazine on the table, about that same time someone recognized the plane N number and asked if this was the same plane from the article. That was a pretty surreal experience.
The plane did really great and I still have a lot to learn about controlled airspace. It's amazing how sanitized the training was for me doing controlled work during training compared to the real world. I realized that during my training we never actually went to a controlled airport, shut down, got out and got back in the plane. I had no idea how to 'get out' of a controlled field.

Here she is on the ramp in KFLO

Hanging with jets...

The guys down at Florence were great and talked with us for about half an hour before we decided to head on to our real goal which was making it to the Myrtle Beach (KCRE) grand strand.
It was pretty bumpy down to KFLO, but the ride to KCRE was very smooth and what a view we had of the coast line. I have done this trip a few times in other planes but there is just something special about flying over the coast line in your own aircraft that just adds to the excitement. It was shockingly quiet despite being a holiday weekend but we made it into CRE just fine. Unfortunately all of the courtesy cars were out so we couldn't make it anywhere to eat, so we just ate a pack of crackers out of the vending machine. But to be honest I really didn't care because just being able to fly down was great.
The view I've been working over a year for... finally made it

Short final for CRE

It was smooth as glass on the way back, however it was VERY dark by the time we reached Monroe and we learned on final that our landing light had gone out at some point. Landing with no landing light is a lot harder than expected, your depth perception is really off and the ground will come up to meet you quicker than you think. All turned out well as my CFI friend gave me a little assist on the landing back to Monroe and we were back safe and sound. Total time was 3.7 for a total of 250nm. By far the longest trip yet in one sitting.

I replaced the landing light on Monday in prep for our trip this weekend to Triple Tree (SC00) if anyone is looking for a great place to come and camp out with your plane I encourage you to check out Triple Tree. The annual fly-in is this weekend you still have plenty of time to plane to visit! 7000ft grass runway, we are bringing Tinker Belle in this weekend along with the Cherokee.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Long XC

I'm pleased to report that Cody has completed his first long cross country solo in N2886T.  

Beautiful weather today for an early start and early morning flight down and back.  

The plane did well and this was the longest and farthest we've flown it yet. 

This is the world famous Triple Tree as seen from the Cherokee!

Here is Clemson University and Death Valley Stadium.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Past Pilots

I received a nice note from the AOPA which was sent into the "Letters to the Editor" section and wanted to share that here.

August 17, 2016

To the Editor:

Arriving home from work yesterday, I saw the September issue of AOPA Pilot sitting on the kitchen table

so I made a quick grab and headed to the recliner for some reading.  After a few minutes of thumbing

through the pages I ran across an article called "The $1,000 Cherokee" written by Jill Tallman.  Wow, this

excellent piece brought back some fantastic memories.  The reason for this is that N2886T is the aircraft I

completed my first supervised solo with at the now gone Alameda airport (Q64) in Albuquerque.  The date

was May 19, 1976 which was during my sophomore year of High School and my morning aerial

adventure made me show up late for class so I was sent to the Principal’s office.  When asked for an

excuse, I told Mr. Barefoot about what had just transpired and held out my certificate of solo flight.  He

looked it over, gave me a smile, a handshake and handed me a hall pass.

The last time I saw N2886T was on May 21, 1992.  I had flown a Skylane to Tupelo from Atlanta and

noticed it sitting in an area for permanent tie downs.  I walked over to where she was parked and spent

time reminiscing about that special day.  Thanks for helping me make another flight down memory lane

and I wish Mr. Atkins many years of great times and safe flying with the Cherokee I'll never forget.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

25 hour oil change

Finally hit that magic 25 hour goal that we had set and it was time to change the oil.  

Again as before i was relieved to find that we had no trash in the oil filter.  This time however I opted to send the oil off for analysis.  Should have the results back in a few weeks.  

No Glitter! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

AOPA Live!

We made it to this weeks edition of AOPA Live!  Our segment is around the 8:23 mark.

The real purpose of this blog has and always will be to remove the mystery of airplane ownership and to emphasize that GA aircraft ownership is possible by the middle class.   I am so grateful that the AOPA picked up on this and not only produced this story piece but also highlighted it in their broadcast.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some XC time for Cody

Cody received his solo endorsements and was able to get some solo practice time in this afternoon.

Few nice pictures from the flight between destinations.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Offical AOPA Digital Article and Video

The digital edition of the Sept Issue of AOPA Flight is out now and has a link to the video piece that was done back in June.

Read the full article here and watch the video segment at the end.$1000-Cherokee

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What a weekend!

Boy what a on the heels of the AOPA article we had 3 major accomplishments back to back.

First, I finally was able to take the Cherokee up for my first solo flight.  What a flight it was!  Second, I was able to fly my first formation flight and on a beautiful summer evening.

Finally,  Cody received solo sign off and was able to solo the Cherokee for the very first time.

Enjoy these beautiful pictures!


Friday, August 5, 2016

AOPA Article

The article on the little Cherokee is out!  Seen in this month's issue of AOPA Flight Magazine.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

First Long XC to Darlington SC

Hey guys,
Sorry for the delay it's been so brutally hot here for the last month that flying is just miserable. Today however we braved the heat and decided to take the little Cherokee for her first long cross country.
There were a few showers in the area and I wasn't really keen on flying through rain so practiced a little storm avoidance. Aside from a pretty good 17kt cross wind at our destination it was an uneventful flight. The little plane is doing great and did just fine today zipping around.
In total we flew right at 115nm which is the longest (in one sitting) that we've flown so far. The next goal is to take her on a first trip. Thinking I might take it to the beach for the day here coming up soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Engine out procedures

Finally, a weekend where I do not have a million things going on and can fly.  The weather cooperated however it was incredibly hot and as you can see from the start the video below take off and climb was sluggish.  Today's DA was 3180 so not a lot of power today in the climb out.

I wanted to do some power off simulations so I can see first hand the glide characteristics of the plane.  The book said that it's best glide speed is 79mph and it certainly seems to have held true.

The first power off 180 was so/so but the second one was a real belly flop, but I guess in an emergency it's nice to know you can get it down if needed.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

AOPA Article Video Shoot

Wow what a crazy two days....the AOPA came down and did a full photo and video shoot in addition to a follow up interview.  I can't wait to see the article (it's scheduled for September issue of AOPA Flight Magazine)

On Tuesday I got to the airport very early to take some morning drone footage while the airport was nice and quiet.  We ended up shooting videos for almost 3 hours, it's so interesting to see how all of that comes together to produce a small piece on the internet.  I can't wait to see the finished product.

On Wednesday the other members of the AOPA came in from Maryland to do follow up interviews and to shoot some one on one video interviews.  I can't wait to see how that turns out, we ended up recording almost 3 hours of video and spent another hour taking pictures.

Here are just a few of the RAW video from the shoot.  These videos have no edits but still really cool shots...