Preflight Inspections, worth their weight in gold...

Today I went out to the airport to fly for the first time in over 6 weeks. Might as well been a life time. That's what it felt like. Anyway, when I got up this morning, the weather looked decent. Low clouds and fog where the order of the day west even though looking out my window here at the house was clear and sunny. It was forcast to burn off pretty quick and was supposed to be light west winds. 

After the weather started to come up I headed out to the airport. Arrived at about 11am an started my preflight. It wasn't to long and I noticed a slight issue. On the bottom of the right horizontal stabilizer there was a panel missing.  


Not really a huge deal but still nothing you would want to fly with. I'm pretty sure that it is the result of the annual inspection. Either it was not installed after the inspection, or wasn't installed correctly and lost sometimes after the inspection. The biggest thing I was unhappy with was that the airplane was flown 4 times since annual. 

I went down to Gary's hangar. Gary is the guy that did the annual. I asked him if we had left a panel with him? Amazingly enough, he did have a panel. He said that he had found it out on the taxiway. I'm unsure if he really did or was just protecting himself if he didn't reinstall it. Either way, we had people miss it on preflight and fly without it. Anyway, I reinstalled the panel after inspecting all the components behind that panel. And all was well. 

The rest of the flight went pretty good. The winds were forcast out of the west at 8-10 knots as of last night. Well they ended up WSW 15kts gust to 21kts. Good for crosswind landing practice but right at my personal limits for crosswinds. Good for confidence building. 

I flew to 0F2, Bowie Municiple. On the way I did some air work. I did slow flight both with flaps and without. I did power on and power off stalls. Proved once again that you really have to try to get this airplane to stall. I did one engine out practice. It worked out well. I did two very pretty landings at Bowie. Made even better since I was way high on both and still managed to get it down nicely on that relativly small runway. I did have 1 go around. It was my first in real world flying. The approach was good. I got a little to slow and had a pretty high sink rate too close to the ground. I'm sure I could have safely landed but no need in pushing it. Plus it was a perfect go around. Probably about 1 second from the time I though about the go around until I had made a decision and applied power. I was probably about 20 feet when I stopped the decent and began to climp out. 

The flight back was pretty nice. A dry line hanging out west of Decature made for a bumpy ride for a few minutes. Landing back at Denton was smooth. Drifted a little with the winds, but other than that, nice landing. 

Here is a link to the rest of the pics.