This one is a really short adventure. Without navigation equipment the Piper Cub is like a powered glider. I couldn’t go very far and I needed VFR conditions so I could use dead reckoning to find the airport. I looked at SkyVector just to see that it was a straight shot across Lake Michigan on a heading of 270 from Tulip City Airport, KBIV, in Holland, Michigan, to John H Batten Airport, KRAC, in Racine, Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, real-world weather was not VFR and I took off from KBIV in a cold, light rain. That should have been a sign to put the airplane back in the hanger and try again another day, but I didn’t.
I put the Piper on a heading of 270, adjusted the trim, and set the power to max. Up it went to about 6500 feet where it leveled itself. From there on I hardly touched the controls. I just corrected the heading every so often.
When I got to the west side of the lake the weather was worse than the east side. There was a low ceiling – probably 2000 feet – and I was at 5000 feet and descending. I called the airport radio and announced my position and intention. That gave me my position relative to the field so I could guide the airplane toward the field. A few more position calls later and I had airport in sight.
I didn’t hear any other traffic on the radio so I announced “on final” and pointed the nose at runway 22. I think I landed at about 45 knots, and I tried to keep the plane on the runway. The runway had a thin layer of ice on it so I kept steering to a minimum and didn’t use breaks.
Now I can say I flew the Piper Cub and cross that one off the list. Note to self, don’t every fly this plane again, at least not in MVFR conditions.
There is an interesting story behind this adventure. Somehow I read a Twitter post from @saugatuck that was an ad for the Saugatuck Visitor’s Bureau. I Googled it and it looked like a cool place so why not fly there. There isn’t an airport at Saugatuck, but there is one 10 miles south in Holland, Michigan – Tulip City Airport, KBIV. I used SkyVector.com for my charts to plot a course from KOSH to KBIV.
I chose to fly my favorite airplane, Beech Baron, for this trip. It was a short 150 miles from Oshkosh across Lake Michigan to Holland. Once over the lake the weather wasn’t exactly VFR, but no ATC was online to stop me.
My route was fairly simple. I flew direct to the FAH VOR at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, then via V510 to MKG, near Muskegon, Michigan. Then south along the Michigan shoreline to the Pullman (PMM) VOR.
I planned to do a few approaches into Holland and the first approach was the VOR-A using PMM. I had plenty of time and fuel so I went for the full procedure approach. Over PMM I timed 1 minute out bound on a heading of 180 Then I flew a heading of 135 for 1 minute, followed by a procedure turn to heading 315. Then I turned north to track the 180/360 radial of PMM until I was over GRADS intersection, the missed approach fix. There is a hold at GRADS so I did a couple 1 minute legs on the hold before completing the approach.
At the minimum descent altitude (MDA) of 512 feet I went missed. Pulling up I turned left back to the 360 radial from PMM. Once over GRADS, I executed a teardrop entry to join the holding pattern again. I flew couple circuits in the holding pattern before coming in on my final approach – circle to land runway 26.
Over all the flight was easy. The weather was as expected, kinda muggy. I was able to visually pick out the inlet at Saugatuck so I consider my mission a success.