Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Deep in December, it's nice to remember ....

What's a day at Bayport without a few distractions from the roar of airplanes and having to flap arms to get extra lift? Bill's sterling engine with its huge flywheel and distinctive poppawhappakpopkpop is a suitable attraction for pilots with inquiring minds. Look at these guys - they're like cocker spaniels watching TV.

And who is right in the middle of most of the mischief but Bill himself ... antique car/engine/airplane nut and ambassador extraordinaire for the sport of flying. He claims to be working on an instrument rating so he can fly in clouds, but when your airplane was built in 1929 when IFR meant "I Follow Roads", the instrument flying will have to be done in his Cessna 152.

A day out with the boys ... Steve and Bill and Harry and Stu and Bob and Andre on their way for a day trip to the Windsor Locks CT air museum ...

Stu and I log a little time in the Auster over Long Island's Great South Bay. Happy times at the old Aerodrome ... we like flying together just about any time.

The variety of airplanes that happen by is always fun to watch. This beautiful L-bird (I never can remember just which is which) pops in from time to time from West Hampton Airport.

The Cub and the PT-26 from my hangar just seem to go together and make a nice picture on a summer day...

This was taken in the spring - it's the club's Yak-12, engine starting for the first time in many years. The project creeps along slowly - a lot of parts, hardware, fittings, etc have to be scrounged or made and it takes time. Fortunately our resident Russian members, Vladimir and Andre, can read the prints!

At the end of the day, it's about flying. On some days when the conditions are just right I like to take the Cub along the beach and just cruise for awhile, going nowhere and going everywhere I want to go. On those days, by myself, the sky is so big and I am so small.

This isn't exactly a year in review - it's just a way for me to keep you posted on the doings at our little airport. The big news is that the Town of Islip has just approved the lease for the Bayport Aerodrome Society, which means our little corner of heaven will remain an airport for as long as I'll be around and maybe as long as some of the younger guys will be around, too. It's an important part of the history of the area, where once upon a time there were around 20 airports striking the sparks of imagination and where the wonder of flying was introduced to so many people. That tradition made the wartime industrial miracle of airplane production on a large scale possible. Grumman, Seversky, Fairchild, Ranger, Republic; these were the giants that built the machines that helped save the world during World War II and took us to the moon. All are gone now.

Bayport Aerodrome is where the magic still lives. The best part is you don't have to buy a ticket; it's open to the public for free. The Bayport Aerodrome Society has the north end of the field and maintains a living, flying museum. From April through October (or when the weather turns) you're welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the sights and sounds and company of antique airplanes and the people who fly and maintain them.