A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Parlin Field

We fit three flying destinations into Saturday. First we stopped at Parlin in southern NH for their pancake breakfast. They redeemed their white flour box pancakes with a good helping of blueberries. Mike from Brookline, and Kurt, who flies a Champ, also came, but we barely talked before departing for our next event.

Southern Lake Champlain

We flew northwest to Lake Champlain clear across Vermont. I was a passenger and Tyson flew the Bearhawk. Friday morning, we didn’t have enough working seats or airplanes. So Tyson spent his vacation day sewing a new Bearhawk seat together. My RV-4 still needed soldering and wheel pant adjustments.

We landed at Basin Harbor at the published start time. This event was for the Super Cub crowd — short takeoff and landing competition put on by Cubcrafters. People were curious why I hadn’t brought my RV-4. Many of the expected participants were still enroute from breakfast at Mountain Bob’s, so the organizer, Mark, delayed a bit. Our schedule didn’t have time for a delay.

Mark directing Jacob to the line.

Eventually a whole crowd of planes and pilots arrived. Mark painted the competition threshold two thirds of the way down the grass runway, contradicting the saying “the three most useless things in aviation are the runway behind you, altitude above you, and gas in the fuel truck.” Two Carbon Cubs made by Cubcrafters took first and second place despite Tom’s efforts in his shiny newly restored Super Cub. Tom’s takeoff roll and landing distance were both about 120 feet. Tyson’s landings and takeoffs were more like 220′. Jacob, in his stock J3, tried dragging it in low and slow. That approach has minimal energy, but it’s really hard to aim. He landed short every time. Other pilots I don’t know competed, less than half the attendees in total. Joe, in the winning Carbon Cub, took off in 130 feet and landed in 80. I watched most of the competition. As soon as Tyson was done, I grabbed the Bearhawk and flew north.

Peter running after the Bearhawk to measure takeoff roll

Tyson and Isaac stayed at Basin Harbor, which caused several double takes. Meanwhile, I cruised up Lake Champlain to the Canadian border. The middle of the lake was streaked bright yellow with pollen. I felt pressure in my sinuses as I climbed to 2,500′, so I opted to talk to Burlington approach rather than fly over their airspace. Benoît was waiting at Franklin County airport. He said he’d only had to wait 20 minutes. If I had known how the schedule would pan out at Basin Harbor, I should have picked Benoît up first and brought him to see the fun flying.

Before departing Franklin County, I needed to refuel the Bearhawk. I hadn’t considered this when I left Basin Harbor. I phoned Tyson for instructions on his unusual fuel caps. With his help, I got the fuel caps off and back on again. Then we took off back to Basin Harbor.

I tried cruising through Burlington’s airspace at 2,500′, but this time the controller was assigning altitude restrictions left and right. And forgetting whom he had assigned where. He sent us up to 3,500′ and then 4,500′. My sinuses squeaked and popped, but luckily no lasting headache when we landed at Basin Harbor.

Sailboat on Lake Champlain

Most everyone was departing when we landed. We ate lunch at Basin Harbor then slowly worked our way home via ice cream at Jaffrey.

For the return trip to Franklin County VT at the end of the weekend, I wanted my faster plane. We tuned up the RV-4 Sunday morning. Benoît and I fixed the wheel pants and Tyson soldered the loose intercom wires. That evening’s flight north with Benoît only took an hour. It would have taken an hour and a half in the Bearhawk. Beautiful calm evening. No wind, almost no one on the radio. We saw one jet descending below us to Lebanon NH and a hot air balloon illuminated over Lake Champlain.

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GPS Tracks

Saturday flying

Sunday flying

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