We were between storm systems today with light winds, partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures. How could you NOT go flying?

Snow-capped mountains and scattered clouds visible over the wingtip of the Swift taken at 8000 feet MSL.

While I was doing my preflight inspection I only heard 3-4 planes take off and then depart the area. That seemed unusual for such a nice day.

I made my way to the runway behind a nice yellow SuperCub and then waited while a Diamond DA-40 landed and a Cessna Corvalis entered the pattern. I took off and cleared the area to the north of the airport.

I hadn’t intended to go anywhere specific just planned to fly around the area. My Foreflight track log shows that I accomplished my goal. Eventually I made it back to the traffic pattern where I found myself alone in the pattern with the AWOS calling the winds calm.

I had taken off on Runway 08 so I chose that one and accomplished three quick trips around to reset my landing currency. After the last landing I visited the fuel island and topped off my main tank again.

I put the plane back in my hangar and while cleaning/covering it up I turned on a handheld radio and tuned in the Stead frequency to see if anyone else was taking advantage of the nice day. It sounded like 4 or 5 planes were sharing the pattern for runway 14. It didn’t take long for two of them to give up and go sightseeing.

Different aircraft types and pilot abilities often make that operation a bit difficult. I find it hard to share the pattern with most other planes. I fly a very close pattern – usually half (or less) of the size of most pilots. It has to do with the abysmal glide ratio of my plane and my desire to be in a position to end up with most of the parts on pavement if the engine quits. Old school training, I guess.

I remember being instructed to always fly your own pattern no matter how other pilots are flying their own. If the spacing doesn’t work out by the time you turn final – then go around. I end up doing a lot of go-arounds. Good practice.

All in all it was a nice flight. A little bumpy in places and a cloud deck to the north at about 8500′ MSL as a precursor to the front coming through tonight.

Later next week the weather is supposed to be nice again – maybe I can actually fly someplace for one of those $200 lunches.