Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hot Flying

KFAM 301155Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 23/18 A2993

Note that was about 73F at 0655 local time. Later on, it was considerably hotter.

KFAM 301855Z AUTO 19009G15KT 10SM CLR 39/16 A2989, or 102F.

Two days before that, it reached 108F.

I flew yesterday morning, I was airborne before 0700 and back down around 0800. Unlike last weekend, the air is starting to have the summertime "milk-bottle" haze that builds up when there hasn't been a front push through for awhile. The KFAM area has not had any significant rainfall in weeks. The city canceled its fireworks for the Fourth.

Around 0900, this bird showed up:

There was a forest fire in the next county. The governor came to fly over the fire.

Normally, KFAM on a Saturday morning is pretty quiet. There's not a pilot shop or a restaurant to generate traffic. But not yesterday. The helo disgorged a number of National Guardsmen and cops started showing up; first a state trooper, than more troopers and county cops, as well as a couple of photographers. A rather bemused transient stopped in for fuel and a bathroom break; he and his family got out of there as soon as they could.

I left about 0920 or so, long before the governor and his entourage arrived. There was a trooper outside the terminal building, smoking a cigarette. I told him that I was leaving before the circus showed up. He laughed and said that was a good idea.

When it is getting warm, oil temperatures are something I watch. Normally, I fly at cruise with the throttle wide open, enough carburetor heat to get a carb inlet temp of 5-10C and I control the engine speed with the mixture control. It is an efficient way to fly, but it does generate more heat in the engine. Using fuel for cooling isn't a terrific idea, but in these temps, it's what one does. (Or fly higher for longer flights.)