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Dinner flight with Lou


Out of the blue, I responded to Lou’s Facebook post about flying the Dakota on Saturday morning. His description of the flight was tempting. Clear smooth sky’s with great aircraft performance thanks to cool temperatures on this crisp fall day.

I was working from home on a cutover and wasn’t thinking about flying. I offered to come up and see him “soon” thinking that I would fly up some time next week. Just then, my wife commented “when are you leaving?”

As luck would have it, we had a plane available so I decided to fly up for dinner.

After work, Steven and I flew the 182RG from Morristown NJ to Lou’s private airport community PS03 . On our way we did a few chandelles (still need work but I think I have the idea) and flew past the Good Year blimp on it’s way to Yankee Stadium.

After landing, we decided to fly to Chester County for dinner. Lou acted as my safety pilot so I could get some hood time and shoot the practice ILS 29. The approach went well once I settled down and knocked off some IFR rust and I even ended it with a good landing.

We ate dinner at the restaurant (highly recommended by the way) and made it back to 57t for a quick turnaround… We took off and saw nearly 2000 feet per minute in the climb! Got to love cold weather flying sometimes!

During the quick flight from KMQS to PS03 I knew the biggest event of the flight was yet to come. The night landing at ps03! Not exactly like night flying at Morristown KMMU! Trees on short final etc! Lou mentioned the possibility of deer on the runway so I elected to do a low approach to not only scare any deer but to also get a better look at the surroundings. One thing I noticed was that the runway lights were much wider then the paved runway giving me a confusing visual illusion of being lower then I actually was. With the non standard configuration noted we went around for our landing. The approach was a team effort. Me flying and Lou providing guidance so we didn’t end up hanging from a tree! One nice thing was that they do have a VASI (Visual Approach Slope Indicator) but not like one I have used before. It consist of a runway light and an extra light just to its right. It worked well but as Lou pointed out, you should stay a little high until crossing the trees on short final (cant see them until you pass them). I brought her in for another good landing.

We stopped in for some coffee and a chance for Steven to check out Lou’s ever evolving train layout.

Steven was having a ball controlling the big steam locomotive when Lou turned to him and said “Steven, would you like a train set?” He said “YES” and Lou turned around a showed him one of his beautiful electric trains “hear you go Steven, let me get the passenger cars” being the father I was really impressed with Lou’s kindness. These are not “toy” trains. Now my job is to set it up…. I can’t wait! 🙂

We packed up the plane and departed for Morristown. I called NY approach and was given a class bravo clearance direct Morristown.

I let Steven do most of the flying and brought 47t in for one of my smoothest landings ever. On touchdown Steven started clapping and said “daddy, that was like landing on marshmallows!
Once again…. Time to open the window to make room for my head. 🙂

Until next time; happy safe flying everyone!
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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda