I finally got the Swift into the air on December 31st after a month without flying. No serious reasons, jut a combination of work and weather.
Yesterday dawned with just high clouds and little to no wind and was forecast to stay that way so I headed for the airport.
First I plugged in my little ceramic heater and let it do its job of blowing hot air into the bottom of the cowling. I knew that was going to take a while since the outside air temperature was only in the high 30s at that point so I went across the way to a friend’s hangar to hang out for a while.
My plan was to just fly around the local area for a bit to exercise the airplane and then to spend some time in the traffic pattern.
I did a thorough preflight and checked all the tanks for water. I had filled all of them to the top after my last flight in November as a series of storms was approaching the area. I figured that it would be a while before the next flight and that turned out to be right.
Everything looked good so I pulled the plane out and started up. It sounded really happy.
There was one other plane in the pattern and even though the winds were calm they were using runway 32. Normally locally-based planes would use 8-26 with calm winds since that runway runs parallel to the main ramp. I figured that they were from the other airport (KRNO) and 32 is marginally closer to them. That runway has a displaced threshold so it is also a good training experience for new pilots.
I departed on 32 and headed north for a while to stay out of their way. The air was beautifully smooth and though there was some smoke haze in the area from fireplaces the views were great – sorry, no photos this time.
To recap my flying year…
My first flight of 2019 wasn’t until April 27th – there was an almost 4-month process to drain the (of course) full fuel tanks and do maintenance of the fuel selector valve. I obviously didn’t work too fast or consistently.
Even so, I managed to log 34 flights and 50 landings in the Swift during the remainder of the year – a total of 29.4 hours of flight time. That doesn’t really sound like much but in the history of my Swift ownership it is a good year – actually 3/4 of a flying year. That averages out to more than one flight a week. For a personally-owned airplane flown only for recreation that is pretty good – and it sets a good level to exceed in 2020.