On Friday, October 24, Tony and I flew in one of the club’s Cessna 152’s to Walhalla, SC to visit the Just Aircraft factory (www.justaircraft.com). The route was as follows:
The visit was fantastic, but the cross-country was a great experience as well. When you look at the map above, you see a large yellow blob surrounded by blue concentric rings. This is Charlotte, NC. The airspace around Charlotte is classified as Class B (biggest airports and most traffic). You have to get permission from ATC to actually enter Class B airspace. It is surprising then that Charlotte Approach gave me permission to overfly Charlotte and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Here is a picture of downtown Charlotte:
We flew directly over the airport. I would have taken a picture, but I was TOO BUSY being directed by the controller. It is quite the experience to watch Boeing 777’s land and take-off underneath you. We were only at 4,500 feet but were above the bee-hive of activity below.
Needless to say, the activity at Oconee County Airport near Clemson, SC was much slower. They loaned us a car and we drove the 12 miles or so to the Just Aircraft factory.
Just Aircraft makes the SuperSTOL kit. This airplane is awesome! It can take-off and land in impossibly short distances. You can search Youtube for videos of this airplane. Here are a few shots I got from Gary (the designer) demonstrating for us:
That little strip of land ending at the lake is the airstrip at the factory. It is only about 600 feet long and slopes towards the water but it was no problem for this plane! You can see in the first picture that he has already climbed a couple hundred feet before he reached the lake and is going practically straight-up! These would be marvelous mission planes for the backcountry!
Another plane that seems promising for backcountry mission is the Zenith 750.
Hopefully, I can attend Sun-N-Fun or Oshkosh next year and get a look at this plane as well.
After spending a couple of hours with Just Aircraft, we flew back. We covered close to 400 miles and did in 4 hours of flight time. Not too bad for the little Cessna.
One of the downsides to the SuperSTOL is that it is a tail-dragger airplane, which requires additional training. The good news is that I have been told that it is some of the best fun to be had in a plane. Hopefully, we will get the funds raised/put together to get this done within the next year or so. Then it is on to raising funds for an actual airplane!