Me an 5JW - 3,000' to Heaven
By: Joe Hollar

Howdy again! Remember my post about the first flight. :) Wellll, been waitin' all week for the weather to cooperate for the second flight. Yesterday morning I couldn't wait any more. I went to the hanger to just hang out and piddle... you know, check this and check that. It was misting rain and a heavy overcast.

Me an "5JW" just sitting there and talking it over, about all the flying we were gonna do and all the cool places I'm gonna take her. I let her know that she was gonna LOVE flying up to the second annual Challenger fly-in, if it happens, and seeing all of her sister planes. I would Windex a little here and check a bolt and nut there, then go to the hanger door and look outside...still misting.

You know, "5JW" loved her new green, yellow, and white limit circles I put on her ASI. She told me we just *had* to try out her new ASI, just to make sure it worked okay. I looked outside again. Good... looked like it's stopped misting rain for a few minutes anyway. She fired up on the first try with just a little choke. I did a couple taxi tests, pulling the nose wheel off and running down the taxi way. The nose came up at about 20 MPH IAS. "5JW" told me she just *had* to do one hop down the runway. We taxied down to the end of the runway, noting along the way that the windsock was hanging dead calm.

We held short at the end of runway 19. I checked all of my little darling's temps... exhaust temps- good... cylinder head temps- good... volts- good... fuel- good... heart rate- a little high but strong... lust factor- really high! Both of us wanted to get up, if only for a little hop. I checked for incoming, and thought if there was any traffic, they were IFR 'cause the ceiling was only 200-300 feet. I checked the clouds again and could see the misty rain returning soon.

Let's go baby, just an easy little hop. "Okay," she whispered to me. I eased her throttle up, started moving, and lined up on the centerline. Throttling on up to about 4500 RPM, the ASI started flickering... 15, 20, nose wheel coming up... 30 MPH... I could feel her getting light... 37 and her wheels broke the bounds of the earth. I eased her throttle back and leveled off about 15' drifting a little to the left, a little more right rudder and just a little right on the stick. GREAT!! Back on centerline, level flight and half of the runway sliding under our wings at 50 MPH IAS.

It's time to sit back down. Throttling back to 3200 RPM, Baby starts settling dead center on the runway. We're down to 10'... 8'... 5'... now 2'... throttle back and start to flare just a little. Double chirps from the tires let me know that we were earthbound once again. Throttling down to 2300 let the nose wheel finally touch down. We turned onto the taxi way and headed back to the hanger 'cause the wind screen was starting to mist over from the coming rain. She wanted to do it again, but I saw some water and mud on her pretty little wheel skirts. I knew we had to get that off right now.

At the hanger once again, I gently backed her in tail first, checked that all of her switches were off, prop was straight up and down, rudder straight and elevator stick secured by the seat belt. I lovingly applied the Windex I had gotten out and wiped her off. I then sat by her nose with my hand on her side rail, looking out toward the runway. I told her, "Baby, we just flew another 3000' down that runway." This was our second flight together. As we watched the rain come down I whispered "Thank You, Lord, for that 3000' of what I hope to be the start of many thousands of miles to go."

Joe Hollar