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Picking up the Airplane from the Paint Shop and Flying to Houston

In case you missed it: Part 1 – Flying to Texas for Paint

Time to pick up the airplane!  I decided to time the pickup with my cousin Mike’s wedding in Tampa to save myself a trip east.  The plan was to fly to Dallas, pick up the airplane, fly it to Houston, then grab an airline flight to Tampa for the wedding.  After the wedding, I’d fly the airplane back to Seattle, with an overnight stop in Boulder with our friends Nicole, Brian, Dylan and Wyatt.  By my count, I’d be visiting 11 airports during the 7-day trip.

The trip down to Dallas was uneventful.  I grabbed a shuttle from Love Field to a hotel in Roanoke, TX.  The next morning, Grady, the owner of the paint shop, picked me up and took me to the airport.  This is where I got my first view of the airplane all done.  It’s amazing!

All done!

Unfortunately, when I dropped off the airplane in August, I’d discovered a small fuel at the fuel flow sensor (leaking through the threads at a tapered fitting).  It was very minor, but my philosophy is that there’s no such thing as a minor fuel leak, so I fixed it before flying it again.  After triple-checking everything and running the engine and fuel pump for a while to make sure there were no fuel leaks, I was ready to go.  Having just worked on the fuel system and having the control surfaces removed for painting and reinstalled, this was the most significant “test flight” since my original testing period, but everything was perfect.  Here’s a video of the takeoff–someone repave that runway, please!

I flew into Hobby Airport (KHOU), which is the smaller of two major airline airports in Houston.  I wouldn’t normally fly there, but my parents had left on an airline flight to Tampa earlier that day and had left their car parked at the terminal.  The controllers were really busy with airline arrivals, but were able to work me in to the flow.  The big airplanes were using runway 12R (landing to the southeast), so the controllers had me overfly the airport from the west at 1600’, then circle to the left to land on the parallel runway, 12L.  The approach into Hobby was fun, flying over my high school, just south of the Galleria, over my parents’ house in Bellaire, and over the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium.  I grew up and got my private pilot certificate in Houston, but it’d had been 10 years since I’d flown there, so it was a ton of fun to see everything again.

Crossing the Southwest Freeway, with the Galleria and downtown in the background

Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome

Waiting for landing traffic at Hobby

Here’s a video of the approach and landing.

Next: Part 3 – Flying home from Texas

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