Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Fight of Season

We have been blessed with an unseasonably warm and snowless start to the winter. Looking forward to almost the end of the year on a 10 day forecast, temperatures are expected with remain mild though there is some snow in the forecast.

Once the snow accumulates at our grass field here in Marcellus we are done. A couple years back the owner stopped plowing and sold the snowplow. We do have a few pilots that mount skis and continue right through the winter. Someday I'd like to do that. In a few days we will close up the hangar, sealing it with insulated panels until spring.

It couldn't have been a more perfect day for what will likely be our last flight of the season. The air was smooth and visibility very good. High clouds radiating across the sky thickening to the west with the approach of our next storm.

With the sun low in the sky, the ground below was dark. Much darker than the sky. The contrast was too much for my camera and as a result either the sky was blown out with no color or the ground was near black. I tried an HDR with 3 shots but even at 75 mph there was too much movement for the images to align properly. Instead, in Photomatix, I created a pseudo-HDR using one image. Not quite the same quality as with a series of 3 or 5 shots, since in this shot the dark area have to be lightened so much that noise is beginning to show. I still like it...

Looking west across 5 of the Finger Lakes in Central New York. Otisco, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga and Seneca (just a sliver below the horizon)

Looking south across Kate's Otisco Lake.

The town of Skaneateles at dusk.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Colors and Waterfalls

On a short flight from my home base at Marcellus Airport to Ithaca Regional Airport I circled Taughannock falls and Carpenter Brook Falls in New Hope. Beautiful colors on this late Fall day.

Taughannock Falls

Carpenter Brook - upper falls
Carpenter Brook - middle and lower falls

Monday, September 19, 2011

Alexandria Bay for Fathers 81st Birthday

I wanted to do something special for my dads' birthday. I wasn't around for Fathers Day as I was flying as copilot with a friend taking his Lambada to Florida to be put up for sale. This would be nice...

Flying out of Marcellus Airport we like to keep the plane with something less than full tanks during the summer months which makes clearing the trees much less stressful. Particularly with a west wind there is quite a downdraft coming off the trees that line the runway. This slows both acceleration once in the air and climb. With about 1/3 tanks we headed over to Skaneateles for a top-off. Once there we found the card reader out of order. Though we had enough fuel to reach Fulton and probably even Watertown, I decided to go back to Marcellus for the 5 gallons Kate and I keep in the hangar. As it turned out there was only 3 gallons in the can. But with that there was plenty for the 45 minute flight to Watertown.

In the air headed north with dad at the controls.

Passing Lake Ontario at Sandy Pond. This is the outlet to the lake. I love the colors and patterns of the sand in the water.

After fueling in Watertown it was only a short flight up to the Thousand Islands. Here is the Thousand Island bridge over the channel and onto Wellesley Island. A ship has just passed under the bridge headed towards Lake Ontario and beyond. I tried to find the ship name from various online sources but couldn't identify it.

Alexandria Bay

We used to rent a camp here back in the late 1960's. It's still there but the area has become much more developed. There is a little island just offshore that as a kid I would row, and later, motor out to for play and swimming. This now has a summer home filling most of the small rocky outcrop.

Boldt Castle

We landed at Maxon Field. It is only about a mile south of Alexandria Bay and a fairly easy walk into town.

We ate at the Admiral's Inn. I remembered this place from a previous visit to the town last year and liked the look and feel of the outdoor dinning. Lunch prices were reasonable.

Maxon Field is soon to be another closed airport. Currently it is abandoned and the field is being reclaimed by nature with grasses and weeds filling in from the sides and growing up through every crack in the asphalt. The first 1,500 feet of the runway on the east end isn't too bad but beyond that weeds became thicker and thicker until the runway was barely visible. Sad to see these small fields go...

Dad did most of the flying going both ways and did a fine job of keeping us on track and altitude.

Passing Nine Mile point, the sun and clouds came together for an interesting shot.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inspection Day and some flying

Dave Jones came up from Cortland to do annual inspections on both the club and private aircraft. We had a good turnout for the day with Jay, Joe, Brett, Mark, and Tim on hand. Having worked the previous night I arrived a little late with the club planes already being buttoned up, only Jay's ASW-15 and my Libelle 201B still needed to be checked.

It was a nice day for flying though a layer of cirrus weakened thermal activity considerably. There was lift, and both the rides given by Jay could be seen circling and climbing.

Some hangar talk after Dave finished some paperwork. (L-R) Dave, Brett, Joe, Jay, Tim,

Joe polishing the 2-33 canopy
Our newest member Andrew
Jay explaining effect of the flight controls
2-33 on tow above
Visitor, Joe and Brett
OUr towplane landing
Mark, Brett and Joe towing the L-33 to the staging area
Brett readying for flight

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

AirVenture 2011

On our first morning we found that in addition to frequent buses circling the 'North 40', drivers of golf carts and cars would offer open seats to people walking. Rarely, did a vehicle pass that wasn't full. This morning as Jeff and I began walking towards Camper Registration a driver in a VW stopped to ask if we wanted a ride. The driver was Tom Poberezny, Chairman of the AirVenture Fly-in since 1977 and President of the EAA from 1989-2010. Thanks for the ride Tom!

Breakfast that morning was at the Warbird Cafe on the north end of the show and closest to our campsite. As you probably guessed from the name it is adjacent to an area filled with warbirds. Hundreds of them! I counted at least 2 dozen of my favorite, the P-51 Mustang.

On display is "Glacier Girl", a P-38 that made a crash landing on the Greenland ice cap in 1942 where it sat for 50 years while becoming covered with 300 feet of snow and ice. In 1992 it was recovered and then restored to flying condition. There is an interesting read of this aircrafts' final flight, and its recovery half a century later at: Glacier Girl

With over 12,000 aircraft arriving and departing AirVenture this is the busiest airport in the world during this week.

The Taurus G4, Pipistrel's electric powered entry for the CAFE Green Flight Challenge. Rules for the flight: 2 hours duration at 100 mph with a 30 minute reserve. Economy must be the equivalent of at least 200 passenger miles per gallon. One way to double passenger miles per gallon is by doubling the seating to 4!

Hundreds of vendors with parts and expert advise. Here, Jeff is discussing his options concerning the oil leak in his Lambada. This Rotax supplier has a good stock of parts on-hand and can have almost anything here within a couple days.

More interesting, around the corner...

The legendary Bob Hoover spoke to a crowd of over a 1000 in front of "Ole Yeller" the P-51 he performed in during the '90's. Bob answered questions and shared experiences from his early flight school days, interesting flights as a test pilot, and a great story of his escape from a German POW camp in a stolen Focke-Wulf similar to one parked a short distance away.

Focke-Wulf 190

Custom paint and the HP to back up the statement it makes!

I'd never seen this before. Helicopter aerobatics in the "Red Bull" BA105.

A centerpiece in the static display area was a collection of Burt Rutan designs. Thursday was Burt Rutan day and we were treated to both the Boomerang and the Starship taking to the air.

David, Jeff and Warren during show.(right to left)

Jet powered cars or trucks are real crowd pleasers. Lots of smoke and flame, very fast and very loud. In fact they are so fast, it almost doesn't look real. In the act a couple planes compete with stunts to decide who gets to race the car. Then with the jet engine on the car spooling up, the airplane makes its run. As the plane passes the car at over 200 mph the car driver goes to full throttle, releases the brakes and with an air shaking roar the afterburner kicks in. Within a few seconds the car is moving well over 300 mph and passes the plane like it is going backwards. Then add a little pyrotechnics...

The show was stopped briefly as we all were reminded that a go-around, even one in front of a crowd, is the best decision when things don't look quite right on final. The F-16 ran off the end of the runway collapsing the nose gear. Fortunately there were no injuries. Video of this on youtube I have to add that I don't know all the details on this incident and whether equipment malfunction might have caused this.

Mornings and evenings were special times while at Oshkosh. The brief time between the heat and humidity of the day and the mosquitoes at night was wonderful.

We had planned on leaving Wednesday by noon. However the night before we were already watching a line of showers on radar approaching from the west. We knew it would be a small window between when the airport opened at 7:00 and before the front arrived. Upon waking I rolled up my sleeping bag and readied my pack for loading in the plane. Stepping out of the tent I was greeted by the first light of the day illuminating, in brilliant red, a wall of clouds and showers approaching rapidly.

From the looks of the clouds I was convinced that the end of the world was approaching. We made sure everything was as secure as could be, grabbed what we could carry and quickly walked through the fence off airport property and to the Hilton for shelter. As it turned out the storms passed with only moderate rain and no significant wind.

While eating breakfast and waiting on the weather at the Hilton, I noticed that Harrison Ford was there for breakfast as well. I did take a picture of him from a short distance away that came out quite well, however I will not post it as I feel it is an intrusion on his privacy.

When the kids were young I used to joke with them that the Indiana Jones movies were based on my life before settling down. In fact Harrison Ford got that part because he looks so much like me. I would even stand next to the TV so the resemblance could seen.
I don't know why they would laugh.