Sunday, September 28, 2008

Decompression Flight

I've been working very hard installing flooring for most of the last week and needed a break... So this sunny afternoon came at just the right time! I was really tired and almost just stayed home, but I figured I always felt better after a flight... so...

Just about 2 miles East of my house...

Headed up the Knik River

Bill's Island landing spot

Knik Glacier

I flew on up past the glacier to the lake and landed just to the North of the lake.

I watched a Sharp Shinned Hawk hunting for a few minutes. It was very cool - he flew just above the brush and did more flapping than soaring and worked back and forth low-level hunting. I got this photo from the net. I also emailed a falconer friend because the Birds of Alaska book says they go to 12 inches long but this one seemed much larger... more Raven sized. Maybe it was an illusion because he was close and the brush is relatively small.

10/5 - My friend replied: Sounds like a harrier hawk (sometimes called a marsh hawk or northern harrier) they fly pretty close to the ground 5' to 15' up with constant flapping. They fly pretty similar to the short eared owls you see up @ Alpine, almost hit the ground, flap bounce up, glide down, flap bounce up. About 4.5' wingspan raven size or a little bigger. They have the distinctive white patch just in front of the tail you mentioned.

So, I'm not sure what it is - maybe I can get a better look sometime.

Then I climbed up on the moraine. Here's the "obligatory airplane shot".

View of the lake. There's a canoe here, but I forgot to bring my life jacket. Plus going in that water alone, life jacket or not, might be a drag... A couple years ago, a friend told me he'd seen wolves killing a moose on this ridge so I flew over it the next day and saw 2 wolves but no moose.

"Obigatory airplane shot" with agitated guy wanting to land.... I thought he was just flying around until he began making low passes over my plane. I was parked in the way, which is definitely uncool, but I hadn't planned on walking so far from the plane. When I started to think that he wanted land, I ran back as fast as I could.

The guy made a real nice low speed approach - I was impressed. It was a 172 with a Horton leading edge and an O-320. When they landed, the pilot said he was "fuming" about me being in the way, but after I apologized profusely, told me some interesting stuff about flying Beavers and Norseman (both of which have ailerons that droop with the flaps like my Robertson STOL kit does). We hung around on the ground for an hour and kicked rocks off the strip.

Then I headed on home, back over the glacier...

coming into the sun by Metal Creek...

Enjoying the colors on the way home.

I made a great pavement landing back at Palmer. I'm finally getting them figured out, I think. I used to make them hot but would have directional control problems. Coming in slow with a low descent rate is working real good. They still aren't real short though. I did the math, and reducing the touchdown speed from 70 to 60 MPH reduces the energy by almost 30%. No wonder it's easier to keep it straight.

1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful pictures, I wish i can fly like you.