Friday, October 19, 2007

A little bit of picture taking

A fellow that I work with has been after me to take him out to his cottage to take some pics of it for his rental site. He built it last year and people book it during the summer months to spend a little vacation time on our beautiful island.

The day we chose for our little photo excursion was fairly nice, we all met at the airport at a predetermined time. I had booked the aircraft out for a couple of hours as his cottage was situated about 50 miles away. He brought his cousin along so the rental cost was split three ways, this was going to be one of my cheapest flights to date!

I preflighted the aircraft, she needed some fuel so I topped the tanks up to 3/4, which left us about 100 pounds under our max weight. Before startup Terry pointed out on my GFA exactly where his cottage was located. In order for him to get some decent pics we'd be flying low and slow, I put him in the back so he could take the shots via my open window. I then studied the chart looking for anything that could be a danger to us, I made mental note that there was a 65o ft cell tower about 4 miles north of his cottage.

I expected the flight to be slightly choppy due to the variable cloud cover, but it was surprisingly smooth. We had a nice tailwind so our flight time to his cottage was only about 20 minutes, it was easy to find. We first made a simple pass at 1,500 ft so I could check out the area throughly, the cell tower was easy to spot and I pointed it out to my passengers.

Since the area was surrounded by wheat fields an emergency landing area wasn't going to be a problem in the remote chance something went wrong with the engine. The wind was from the ten o'clock with the sun at twelve. (I didn't tell my pax that in addition to inspecting the area for safety I was also scouting for a good place to do a forced approach). Everything looked good so I trimmed the aircraft for 80 mph and left the flaps up since they would interfere with the view.

The next next 20 minutes were spent cranking and banking in order to get the perfect shots. I have to tell you that there was some work involved with keeping the aircraft steady in a medium turn, making sure that I stayed at 600 ft AGL, being careful not to bleed off any of my airspeed while scanning the sky for anything that might do us harm. It was also a lot of fun too!

With the photo mission successfully completed we visited a small fishing town nearby and then turned for home. The return trip took considerable more time due to the headwind but it was a beautiful day for sightseeing and I took advantage of it.

About 25 minutes later I called the airport to tell them that we were inbound for the zone from the east but that we'd be doing a loop over Charlottetown first and that we'd be entering the circuit from the south. Radio replied with the winds and the active runway.

My landing was perfect with a couple of chirps. (I floated a tad longer than I wanted too but I still got some nice comments from my pax). 1.6 hours for my log book at only 1/3 the cost... gotta love it!

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