Impromptu Flying

Abby and I were in Nashua this afternoon to meet with someone at a bank. Things wrapped up around 16:30 and since the weather was nice I suggested we drop by the airport and fly for a bit. I believe my initial request was a “coupla laps around the pattern” but we did a bit more than that.

This is truly the benefit of ownership. I had my flight bag and everything needed in the back of the car since I knew we were going to be up in Nashua. By the time I got to the airport my typical renter FBO was already wrapped up for the day and there was no way I could have rented a plane on such short notice. But I was able to head over to the airport and fly an hour without arranging anything in advance.

I decided to start with two laps in the pattern. By the time I finished my run-up and pulled up to the hold short line there was a business jet waiting behind me. So why not stay in the pattern and get to see them takeoff? I did two nice landings in the pattern following a Civil Air Patrol plane then told Nashua tower we’d like to depart to the West.

Abby’s parents live in Hollis, NH which neighbors Nashua to the west. Many times I’ve flown over the general vicinity approaching the airport but generally I don’t have the extra mental energy to look around for the house during that phase of flight. This time I specifically requested from Tower to maneuver in the Hollis area at 2000 feet and this was readily approved (the house is well within Nashua’s class Delta airspace).

Abby spotted the house and then we headed out to the west. There was an area of VFR rain showers to the south and I stuck relatively low – around 2500 feet – and asked Abby if she wanted to do some flying. Everything was nicely trimmed for level flight so I introduced her to turns with rudder coordination and adding the appropriate amount of back pressure for a level turn. With some turn practice in and a few drops on the windshield I turned away for one last demonstration. I told Abby to look forward at the sight picture and then do whatever she needed to do to keep us flying straight and level. At that point I began to roll in nose down trim. Once she felt what it was like to fight against the trim I had her continue to fly straight and level while she adjusted the trim and she did a good job.

I tried to keep Abby with me on the controls to feel my inputs as we headed back to the airport but once we got close I was concentrating on the landing and she was back to being a passenger. Afterwards I suggested that next time we should try some “slow flight” in the practice area with flaps and gear down to see how different things feel in this configuration. Teaching is fun!

One thought on “Impromptu Flying

  1. Phil Day

    Awesome Dan. So glad to hear one of my students enjoying the world of aviation with such vigor. Hope the flying keeps up. A good pilot is always learning. Clear skies and smooth landings friend.

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