KBRD - $100 French Toast                                       

05/12/2013 -

Those of you who fly need no explanation for the purpose of this flight beyond what it is written above.  For those not yet bitten by aviation bug, I'll bring you up to speed quickly.  Wikipedia offers the following definition of the old pilot speak '$100 hamburger': "... is aviation slang for the excuse a general aviation pilot might use to fly.  A $100 hamburger trip typically involves flying a short distance (less than two hours), eating at an airport restaurant, and flying home. "$100" originally referred to the approximate cost of renting or operating a light general aviation aircraft, such as a Cessna 172..."

Mother's Day breakfast was just the excuse we needed to get the plane out to stretch it's legs just a little bit.  We spent a little bit of time on Saturday evening trying to determine just where we should go.  We had heard great things about the restaurant at the Brainerd airport.  Brainerd wasn't a very long trip (just 20min flight time in the Cozy), but it was devoid of any hassles.  An on field restaurant meant no need to wonder if a crew car would be available on what was the first nice flying day in a couple weeks.  Being the opposite direction of Minneapolis meant we didn't need plan any diversions around the Mode C vail, being 4TF couldn't get in for the required pitot-static check until the 17th.  But mostly, John liked the choice because he knew the area well and it offered good emergency landing options along the route.  While the airframe proved solid during testing, and the engine has been flawless since the first flight, John still believes overly cautious is a better stance to take while still early in the plane's flying career.

We departed KSTC and shortly after climb out turned to a direct heading for KBRD.  It was a touch chilly, at 37F, but the sunny skies made it psychologically warmer.  The wheels only had about a 20 minute rest before we put the weight back on them as we touched down in Brainerd.  The taxi back to the FBO gave us an opportunity to see if the new fan we installed to improve oil cooling while on the ground would help.  Upon landing the oil temp was about 182F, after switching on the fan, the temp slowly dropped during the taxi.  It was down to 167 by the time we reached the FBO and parked.

We were met by a very friendly and helpful ramp associate, who asked "This is a Cozy right?", as we opened the canopy.  We were pretty impressed, and when we confirmed his suspicion he responded, "I thought so, it looked a bit too big for a LongEZ."  OK, now he's just showing off.  There really aren't very many canards in MN, so this guy clearly loves airplanes.  We liked him immediately.

It didn't take long before the Cozy attracted some curious on lookers as we were getting out.  4TF doesn't spend much time on the ramp at  St. Cloud.  The few times it has, it has always drawn the attention of others at the FBO, who simply have to come out to check out the unique looking plane.  After a couple brief conversations we went inside for breakfast, and as mentioned by some of our hangar neighbors, it was very good.  Ella devoured her pancakes and proclaimed that 'a caramel ice cream sundae would be great for desert'.  Christine and I figured it was a bit of a celebration, being the plane's first cross country trip (albeit barely), so with our agreement Ella ate her sundae while wearing the biggest smile....and a bit of the sundae.

By the time we saddled up for the return flight, the wind had picked up a bit, and so had the turbulence.  Ella wasn't too thrilled about how bumpy it was, especially after just eating, but after climbing to 8500' things got a bit smoother.

Upon landing back at KSTC we put the plane away, yet Christine and I both looked at each other and smiled when I said "Well, should we go to the FBO and figure out where to fly to for lunch?"  Ella was not a fan of this idea however, which was a little disappointing.  So instead we met up with a friend in town for lunch.  After lunch he and John would go for a short sightseeing flight.

Some pictures from the day are below: