Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day '07 (weekend)

Ahhhh ... the sound of Wrights and Continentals and Kinners ... the blue oil smoke ... the smiles on the faces of pilots and passengers and bystanders ... this is the stuff that makes for a memorable Father's Day weekend at Bayport Aerodrome.

Ace's N3N is the first picture and the first below, with Steve's Fleet framed in the struts. Walter and Ace are just about ready to hop in for a flight to John's farm strip where the barbecue is held every year.

Next, Bob and Nick mount up in Bob's Stearman for the flight out to John's. Bob has owned this airplane over 30 years and knows every nut and bolt by its given name.

Bill's 1930 Bird is framed in the struts. You might gather that I like these kinds of pictures and you'd be right.

What a fabulous day! Look at that blue sky !

Next, Bill gives the Kinner a spin on Steve's Fleet.

These old engines are so easy to start (when they start). Richard Bach wrote about the old ones in his classic cross-country book "Biplane". The way he described hand-propping one of these was you just pull the blade through and let the impulse coupling take it out of your hand. Most people think they have to give it a mighty whirl; not so.

The next airplane in line is Bill C's Bird. The Bird holds 2 people in the front seat. It was a popular airplane back in the late '20s and '30s for that reason. That extra seat meant an extra few bucks for pilots who made their meager living hopping rides. It also helps those of us who have had one or two too many Big Macs.

If I were ready and/or willing to part with my Cub, I'd love to have a Bird.

Finally, Stu and Bill T. clatter off in the Auster. We give Stu a lot of grief about his airplane (?) but it's a neat flying machine and not one commonly seen in the U.S. Our cross-pond cousins like to build 'em strong and this airplane is no exception. The sound of the Gypsy engine is distinctive - sort of like a Merlin with a real bad cold.

That's the menagerie for Father's Day ... we hosted a benefit for St. Jude's hospital on Saturday that netted a nice sum for the cause. I don't think there were any kids left out who wanted rides and a few more "Young Eagles" were born.

The Cub is purring like the kitten it is, but I am reminded of an observation in a magazine some years ago that it's wise to remember that a Cub is still a baby bear.