A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

This is the second day of a busy weekend which we started by flying to my cousin’s wedding in Maryland. Check out the rest of the weekend here.

From Pennsylvania to Basin Harbor

We woke up as early as we could the next morning. My parents cooked pancakes on their camp stove while Tyson and I struck our tent. Then we hurried back to the airport.

Basin Harbor is a country club with a golf course, sailboats for rent, several restaurants, and a 3,000′ grass strip. The country club is on a prominent head of land that sticks out into lower Lake Champlain. We had three hours of flying to get to there. The short field competition was to start at 9 AM and end at 11 AM.

We were in the air at 8:00. Tyson flew so he could do the landing at Basin Harbor. If the winds were with us, we could arrive at Basin Harbor on time. If not, we would miss the competition. The predicted winds were light and slightly from behind. There was no rain on the radar. Overall, it looked like a simple straight cruise. So I fell asleep. Isaac did too.

I woke up over Great Sacandaga Lake with the Adirondacks on my left. We must have had favorable winds because we arrived at Basin Harbor at 10:30. There were 20+ planes on the ground and a few in the air — mostly Cub and Cub derivatives.

The short field competition was still open. Mark, the Cub Crafters rep, was scoring each pilot’s first landing at the field. Pilots with passengers could drop their passengers and do a second landing. The competition threshold was about a third of the way down the runway. It was marked by a flag on either side and Mark standing beside it with a radio. Tyson knew he couldn’t compete with the Cubs, so he decided to do one landing to see how well the Bearhawk fully loaded could perform. That’s more realistic than perfectly empty.

Tyson’s speed on final seemed reasonable to me. But when we passed over the threshold, I could tell we were too fast. We flew on down the runway for a dreadfully long distance. As soon as the plane touched down, Tyson braked hard. The extra weight in the baggage helped keep the tail down.

John’s RV, XCub, and Dave’s Bearhawk

First thing after shutting down, Tyson hopped out to pace off his landing. 360′ total. Dave, the other local Bearhawk pilot, came over to chat. “Your landing looked good” he said. Dave had arrived much earlier and landed in 300′. His Bearhawk is 230lb lighter than ours. “That landing was with full camping gear and the family” Tyson clarified, “and I just flew two and a half hours straight.” “Well, why don’t you take everything out and give it another shot?” Dave asked, eager to see what the Bearhawk contingent could do. Tyson thought about this for a bit. He’d meant to only do one landing. 360′ was short enough that he might be able to compete with the Cubs with an empty Bearhawk. I wasn’t competing because I’m not confident flying the Bearhawk solo. After a minute or two talking with Dave, Tyson decided to go out and try again. We emptied the Bearhawk and Tyson taxied off.

Cubs departing

I’m afraid I became preoccupied with the motherly duty of finding a bathroom. So Isaac and I missed Tyson’s second landing, but when I caught up with him again, he said it was 280′ long. That’s quite good. At Brookline, he uses at least 400′. Of course at Brookline, if you land short, you crash the airplane. Whereas here, you just get disqualified from the competition.

We milled around for a while talking with the other pilots. I met Jacob Papp, husband to Adina whom I met at Wentworth last fall and visited their air strip in New York. I looked at the XCub. It didn’t look much different from a Carbon Cub. It’s supposed to be faster.

Awards presentation

At 11AM, Mark thanked us all for coming and announced the winners. Shortest landing was 200′. Second place was 240′ and third place close after. Both of those were in much lighter Cubs. So Tyson’s landings weren’t too shabby. We ate lunch with Dave and his wife and then headed home.

Photos from Day 2

GPS Track