Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I missed: The Antique Airplane Club of Greater New York annual Fly-In (2011)

You want to tell God a joke? Make a plan.

I had every intention of flying the Cub north from NC to NY for the Fly-In at Bayport Aerodrome, then life got in the way. Gino called me from the Sheep Shagger Baaa, where the airplane and hangar keys are locked away for the night and merriment abounds. I talked to Bill and Bill and heard many serious discussions of aviation engineering, aerodynamics, and physics in the background, mostly pertaining to the results of bomb drops and spot landings, punctuated by laughter. Oh, how I miss these great people. I missed the Plane Janes, too, but you don’t have to.

Order a calendar!

2011 Fly in - flyer

There were great airplanes:

2011 Fly in - 2 2011 Fly in - 1 2011 Fly in - 4

Ace’s N3N is always a big hit. The big Wright engine, the collection of leftover blimp parts…..

2011 Fly in - 6 2011 Fly in - 11 Talmage Bird

Bill’s Brunner-Winkle Bird was joined by two others – a rarity in itself, you seldom see three in one place (The pic of the red airplane  is from the Cradle of Aviation web site, but it was there).

2011 Fly in - 15 2011 Fly in - 7 IMAGE_00052

And what would a fly-in be without Stearmans?

2011 Fly in - 12 2011 Fly in - 18

…Or the iconic Piper Cub?


2011 Fly in - 3 2011 Fly in - 9 2011 Fly in - 20

Feeling their way to the stripe in the spot landing contest …

2011 Fly in - 5

And always a committee to grade the landings ….

2011 Fly in - 14 2011 Fly in - 13

Stu in the Auster and Steve in the Fleet … you don’t see these every day except at Bayport.

2011 Fly in - 19 2011 Fly in - 17 2011 Fly in - 10

Airplanes snugged down for the night …

Thanks (& a tip of the hat) to Annemarie and Stuart for the great pictures.


See you next year!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Walter Mitty Cub, or Armchair Flying

Oh, how I love an adventure! Last summer I looked at a Piper Cub trip from Washington State to North Carolina and thought it would be the flight of a lifetime (which it would have been) but timing, that fickle quash, overrode my plans. The Bonanza had to go first and on the other end the Cub had to go so it became a race to the sale and the Cub won. Dang it. The Bonanza eventually sold (see February’s post) but it was too late for this participant. I found another Cub near my own backyard but the allure of flying through the high mountains of the west still strikes a chord in me.

Enter the internet and a website for Cub enthusiasts and wishful thinkers at . There is a forum thereon called “Cub Talk”, which is open to general discussion of all things Cub-related and where a younger-than-me United Airlines captain opened up a thread that became one of the longer ones on the site. The “New Boy Buying J3” led not only to his finding a fine airplane but to his embarkation upon a four-day trip from Lincoln NE to Southern California.

Chart J3 

This doesn’t give all the zigs and zags of his route, but you get the general idea. His destination wasn’t Palm Springs, either, but it’s close. The straight line flight would have been just over 1,000 miles; the route he had to take to wind through the mountains and to stay near highways across the desert ended up nearly 1,400 miles. Lucky guy (obviously the beneficiary of airline luck), he had tailwinds a lot of the way! I never have tailwinds.

chart SPOT

With today’s satellite technology and a nifty little hand-held device sending sparks to space and back, we were able to track the progress of the flight all the way from Lincoln to his home field. The gadget sent his position every 10 minutes and with a little interpretation you can tell he stopped for fuel between position 38 and position 44, at Buckeye AZ, just west of Phoenix. To add a little more realism, I pulled up Google Earth and traced the route over satellite pictures of the terrain. I can’t wait to see his pictures.

My wife tells me I’m nuts for watching NASCAR races but I haven’t seen a race yet that has captured my imagination like this flight in a little yellow airplane.

Maybe next year.