I receive several different EAA Chapter newsletters through the relationships our chapter has made in northern Nevada and California. I received one a few days ago from Corning, CA EAA Chapter 1148 that said they were having their annual roast turkey lunch and a featured guest speaker at their Saturday meeting.
The weather forecast was for light winds and clear skies so I decided to make the trip down to Corning to see how their chapter meeting operates.
It had been three weeks since my last flight so I got a little practice in on Friday by going out and flying around for a bit and then completing a few patterns and landings. All that went well so I topped off the fuel tanks and set up the pre-heater for the next morning. Our days lately have been starting our cool (20s-30s) and then warming up to the mid-60s. Really nice flying weather.
Foreflight said it would only be about a 1.2 flight going the ‘long’ way over Donner Pass so I could easily make it there and pack with full tanks at the start. I did all my flight planning and figured I’d update everything in the morning while the engine heater was doing its thing.
I got to the hangar about 9:15 am on Saturday, plugged in the ceramic heater and headed for the pilot lounge in the terminal. They have a good wi-fi signal there so I did my ForeFlight ‘packing’, got my official weather briefing and filed a VFR flight plan.
Back in the hangar I completed my preflight, loaded up what I wanted to take with me and pulled the plane out. Start and run-up were good so before taxing to the runway I pulled out my phone and activated the VFR flight plan.
I just had two important things to remember at the end of the flight – go to full rich on the mixture since the Corning field elevation is 300′ and to close the flight plan after the plane is parked.
The flight down was beautiful – not a single bump – even over the pass. Foreflight got me right to the airport and kept me out of the nearby TFR at Beale AFB and the MOA to the east of Corning. The landing was acceptable but not one of my best – I attribute it to the really different perspective view between my home field with a 7000′ x 150′ runway and Corning’s 3000′ x 60′ runway.
It was good to see some of the people I had worked with in the past and to hear how things are going in the Corning area. I also had a nice talk with Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation about the challenges they are currently having with their business.
The turkey meal was excellent as was the pumpkin pie desert. There were active conversations all around as we enjoyed our meals. Then the program started with a few announcements followed by the introduction of the speaker.
Mike Woodrum spoke about his father’s book, Walkout, which follows his father’s experiences during a portion of WWI. His father Henry was piloting a Martin B-26 Marauder on a mission to destroy bridges over the Seine River near Paris ten days before the D-Day invasion when flak disabled his aircraft enough to require baling out. The book chronicles the 105 days he spent evading capture by the Germans before Paris was liberated by the Allies forces. You may purchase the book here.
I stayed around a little bit longer to help clean up and thank everyone for their hospitality. I did my exterior preflight, got into the plane and arranged everything for the flight back. I left off the jacket I had worn on the way down since it was so warm at Corning – which I regretted as I topped Donner Pass on the way home.
The run-up went fine and I pulled out onto the runway – rechecking the mixture full rich. The takeoff was, lets say energetic. Sea level power with a 3-bladed prop gives excellent acceleration. The challenge was to get the nose up quickly enough to keep the speed below 80 mph so the gear could fully retract. With the ‘P-51-style’ gear doors I have installed the air loads on the doors can easily stall out the hydraulics at higher speeds. I’m sure it was impressive to watch.
The flight back was equally enjoyable and a little quicker even with the longer climb from 300′ to 11,500′ for the crossing at Donner Pass.
All in all it was a very enjoyable flying day. Here are some photos I managed to take.