To Fly or Not? That Was the Question

As a flight instructor, I've always pushed the idea of establishing personal weather minimums. Crosswind limits, ceiling/visibility limits, etc. And as a "regular" pilot out doing my own thing, I try to live by those rules just the same. So it should come as no surprise that when the world started stacking the deck against me on our last attempt to fly, it was an easy decision: not today!

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Giving Back: WWII Vet Goes Short Wing Flying!

On Friday, my good friend and fellow short wing owner, John Moes, mentioned he had a special flying mission lined up. Naturally, I was interested. After learning that he was going to give a ride to a friend's dad, Jerry Micka, a WWII veteran (and 91 years young!), I was in. Heck, I just wanted to tag along! We decided that a little formation flying would fit in nicely with the mission.  It's the least any of us can do to give back to our veterans, so I don't think anyone had to talk John or myself into the mission.

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A Spring Flight to Decorah, IA

There are mornings that are "nice" and then there are mornings that are "NICE". This one was "NICE". Our original plan was to go to a fly-in this morning at Mason City, IA (KMCW), but a few things conspired against us - not the least of which was the fact that our overnight temps dipped close to (or below) freezing and complicated preheating the aircraft's engine. We'll definitely make that flight again, but on this occasion, we opted to go another direction: Decorah, IA (KDEH)!

What's Special About Decorah?

Decorah is a great little town that holds some history for Amber and myself. It was where we first started "dating" at a high school honor band and where Amber spent a summer singing/performing with a statewide showchoir. And, of course, there is Mabe's Pizza and Whippy Dip ice cream.

A Beautiful Flight

After getting everything preflighted and ready to roll, we jumped in the Pacer and lit the fire. On a cool, crisp morning, there is nothing better than a purring Lycoming engine. We made our way out to the runway, did our pre-takeoff checks and launched into the cool springtime air. It's about 50NM to Decorah, so we settled at 3,000' and enjoyed some smooth air. About 30 minutes later, we were on the ground at Decorah's city airport. No trip to an airport would be complete without a little poking around, so we jumped out and headed for the main hangar. Among the treasures we found were old friends, a beautiful Stearman biplane and an older, but clean restroom. :)

Heading Home

The flight home was uneventful as well. The day was starting to heat up and the afternoon clouds were forming, so it was a bit more bumpy on the way back to Independence. No worries - we're both seasoned veterans and it was nothing to worry about. We landed, fueled up and put the Pacer back in the hangar, thanking her for another safe, enjoyable flight. Photos of the entire trip are below!

Photos!

[gallery ids="117,108,119,118,109,110,111,112,113,114,115,116"]

Over the Clouds and Through the… Woods?

To grandmother's house we go! It was a beautiful day for flying in Iowa yesterday, so of course we had to take advantage. Around here, when the temps finally start to warm up, we often get windy conditions (like we have as I write this post), but yesterday was the exception. 50 degrees and  less than 5mph winds. We're going flying! The mission today was to fly up to Amber's grandparents house in Northeast Iowa. They live in a nice valley just west of the Mississippi River. It's about a 35NM flight from Independence (KIIB) and the winds aloft were light. An easy mission for a lazy day.

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