JRNM 151 student
It was a beautiful afternoon as I waited with anticipation outside the Discover Aviation Center hangar at Lorain County Regional Airport. With the persisting winter weather, I was eager to get back into the sky for a flight. There were calm winds from the west and an overcast ceiling. I was meeting with Larry Coleman, a certified flight instructor and teacher of Lorain County Community College’s private pilot ground school, for a quick flight around the area to get a photo for my story in the Collegian.
We would be flying N8574X, a 1963 Cessna 172. After the large hangar door was raised, and a thorough preflight inspection performed on the aircraft, we were ready to begin our flight. With the pilot in command normally sitting on the left, I was excited when Larry said I could ride in left seat. With much of his time spent instructing students, he was more comfortable in the right seat.
In the small cockpit, we buckled up and latched the doors. A quick crank and the engine started right up, bringing the aircraft roaring to life. Taxing out to the runway, we listened to the automated weather reporting system and the traffic frequency established for the airport. After completing an engine run up, Larry announced our intentions as we taxied to the runway centerline for takeoff.
He opened the throttle and we rumbled down the runway, quickly gaining airspeed thanks to a nice headwind. With the airspeed well in the green, Larry rotated the nose into the air as our wheels left the ground below. The feeling never gets old. Leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life below does wonders, providing a fresh perspective on the magnificent world we inhabit.
Climbing off the end of the runway, we banked smoothly to the right, rolling out on an easterly heading. Now with a strong tailwind, we were quickly over downtown Elyria. Continuing northeast I could see LCCC’s main campus sprawling on the ground in the distance.
Soon overhead campus, we made a large circles, looking down and seeing the still snow covered roofs below and parking lots full of vehicles. Satisfied with the pictures I had snapped, we continued north to lake edge, flying over the Avon Lake Power Plant which is very easy to spot with the large smoke stacks. Continuing west along the frozen shoreline we flew over the Lorain Light before heading inland at the abandoned Baumhart Rd. Ford Plant.
Now a straight shot back to the airport, I could see the runway and hangars of the nose in the distance. Nearing the airport, we entered a right hand pattern to land back on runway 25 (pilots always try to take off and land into the wind). Larry made a radio call to inform other aircraft in the area of our intentions and ran through his landing checklist. Flying the standard downwind, base, and final approach, the runway soon lay directly ahead the aircraft’s nose. Easing back on the throttle and increasing the degree of flaps, we quickly descended over the runway’s threshold.
Pulling back on the yoke to bleed off our excess energy, Larry slowed the aircraft to stall speed. Without enough airflow over the wings, the plane set down gently on the runway making for a beautifully greased landing on the centerline. Clear of the active, we taxied back to the parking ramp, another successful flight in the books.