KSUW - 100lb French Toast                                       

11/24/2013 -

When building an airplane, you often day dream about all the far away places you'll go with it.  But equally as rewarding is the ability to visit friends on a whim that would otherwise involve several hours of driving.

Back in May when preparing the plane for final paint, my friend Bryan devoted his Memorial day weekend to helping me sand.  By car the trip to or from Superior, WI where Bryan lives is between 2-1/2 and 3 hours.  By Cozy the trip is a mere 44 minutes, making it a quick trip for brunch and showing Bryan how the paint turned out.

Unfortunately, every time we attempted to make the short trip to Superior, the weather just wouldn't cooperate.  Finally, with a weekend of decent weather on tap, it looked like we'd get to take the Cozy to Bryan's.  So Saturday (the 23rd) morning, we went out to the airport, braving the cold and wind to saddle up.  When we arrived at the hangar I discovered that the battery maintainer had tripped off somehow, and trying to start the plane was a lost cause.

We put the charger on it, but by the time we got unloaded and waited for the charger to top the batteries off, then reloaded, it would have been a bit late for our brunch plans.  We opted instead to wait till the next day so we weren't so rushed.

The next morning, with the batteries at full charge it was only mildly difficult to start the frozen 360 cubic inch box of coffee cans.  Don't get me wrong, the engine still starts after only a couple of revolutions but the cold batteries, even fully charged, didn't turn it over very fast.  Once started, we loaded our flight plan into the GPS and took off for Superior to meet Bryan and his wife Tonya for brunch.

Bryan picked us at the Superior airport, and we proceeded to one of regular breakfast spots, The Shack.  While Brainerd may be our favorite $100 french Toast run, The Shack is home to the one and only  100 POUND french toast.  OK, maybe it's not quite a hundred pounds as served, but somehow you magically feel that much heavier once you finish eating it.  It's delicious, but I began wondering if 28 degrees trailing edge down was going to be sufficient elevator travel to lift off again when we left.

After brunch we went to Bryan and Tonya's for some more visiting and to see our favorite puppies, Olivier and Cooper, before heading back to the airport.  When we got back I thought it might be a good idea if I started the plane first before getting Christine and Ella loaded, just in case it didn't fire up, and so they didn't have to sit in the brutal wind that had picked up while we were there.  It was also a good chance for Bryan to take a peek at the finished product.  Unfortunately it wasn't sunny outside, so the glimmer of the pearl paint wasn't as pronounced.

The plane fired up about the same as it did that morning.  Slow, but successful.  I waved the family over and got them loaded.  We said goodbye to our friends, and set out for home.  The terrain between home and Superior is mostly flat, but it is also mostly wooded.  With the Cozy still being fairly freshly minted, I prefer to fly at higher altitudes for the additional glide time it affords if there is an engine problem.  On the return trip I was faced with the choice of the added glide time at 8500 feet, or not dealing with the 60kt headwind at that altitude.  Winds weren't much better at 4500' (47Kts), so I climbed back up to 8500' and sulked at my 120kt, Cessna 172 ground speed.  I was slightly comforted by the fact that if I had been flying a Cessna in that 60Kt headwind it would have been quicker to drive.

So even though the return flight was a little over an hour, it was still a great little trip.

Some pictures and video from the day are below: