Saturday, December 29, 2012

800 Mike Echo

Five years ago my New York crash pad roommate, Mike Elliott, started building a Van's Aircraft RV8A.  Mike lives in Olympia, Washington and was commuting to New York as a 767 ER First Officer.  We are relatively close in seniority, and I remember discussing the merits of being a senior First Officer, and having time to build an airplane, vs being a junior Captain, and not having time for anything.  When I checked out on the MD-88 six years ago I was the junior Captain at Delta Air Lines.  I spent a lot of time at the crash pad!  Mike could see that being a junior Captain was not the way to go if he wanted to build an airplane in a timely manner.  Instead of bidding Captain, Mike ordered a RV8 quick build kit from Van's Aircraft.

Two years ago Mike received a transfer to our base in Seattle.  Free from the cross-country commute, he had even more time to work on his airplane.  In April the project moved to the airport.  He wrote that he hoped to be flying by the end of the year.  Two weeks before Christmas Mike sent the following email:

I don’t know if you saw my log yet, I only updated it today. I flew the first flight on 12-12-12! It went smoothly. I have a pretty heavy right wing which I am told is not unusual. I will fly it for a while to break in the engine then sort out what I need to do to fix the heavy wing. I messed up with the video camera (GoPro)* that I had on the first flight, but I took some video cloud surfing yesterday. I will be down for weather for a couple days, I am sitting my last on call day tomorrow, I managed to go nowhere this month. I even did the flight yesterday on Short Call, I know I was taking a chance but I stayed over the airport and I had cell coverage and a uniform and bag packed in the car!! Maybe I will shoot up your way when I am on the east coast in March-April.

I received an update from Mike two days before Christmas.  His said his Flight Advisor suggested putting time on the engine before trying to correct the heavy right wing.  Apparently adding the wheel pants and leg fairings helps with that issue, somewhat.  He hopes to have the airplane painted in February.  A shop in Texas is scheduled to do the work.  Mike also said he had nine hours on the airplane---and the weather looked good for the next four days.  He hoped to fly at least twenty-four hours during that time.  That would leave just seven hours to complete the required forty, and he could then leave the local area.  That is an aggressive schedule!  But I understand.  I know he can't wait to take his bride for a ride in their new baby!

Mike Elliott's Airplane Factory:

*Apparently the Jellystone crew are not the only operators with GoPro "issues."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Father-Daughter Day

Brother Baker called Tuesday evening.  He had a break in training (US Airways A320 School) and was heading down to Jellystone Air Park Wednesday morning to take his oldest daughter, Katie, flying.  Katie just finished her first semester at BYU, and is home for the holidays.  My youngest daughter, Holly, a Senior at NC State University, is also home for the holidays.  Holly and I had planned on flying earlier in the day, but quirky winds forced us to cancel.  I asked Holly if she was up for another attempt.  She said: "Sure, Dad."  I told Joe that Father-Daughter Day was a go, and we would see them in the morning down at Jellystone Air Park.

Holly liked the ride at two thousand feet.

She even documented her stick time!

And snapped a shot of Pop pretending to be an Airbus pilot. . .

Katie and Joe bouncing along at one thousand feet. . .

Was the Mayan Calendar off by two days?  No, just the sun. . .

Joe and Katie with Katie's friend, Maggie. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ned Mac's Latest Verse

Aviator, Photographer, Philosopher, Airport Manager, Chef.  Our good friend Eddie Price is a man of many talents.  I know what you are thinking, Tell us something we don't already know.  Would you believe that prior to becoming the Chief Pilot at Pond Branch Airways, Brother Price was a man of verse.  That is correct; a poet---his pseudonym was/is Ned Mac. 

My first exposure to Ned Mac was in a "Reply to All" email that made the rounds several years ago.  I can't remember what triggered the event---possibly a comment after viewing one of his many photo albums; but I was not surprised.  I could tell he was a man of the arts by the way he titled his email postings.  I particularly like the way he snags a line from a previous post, and then uses it to send the thread in a slightly different direction.  But that's not important right now. . .

Last week Eddie and a few of his Tree Top Flyer buddies flew up to Shelby, North Carolina and had lunch at a Bar-B-Q joint that is located next to the airport.  After viewing the photo log of their trip, I sent Eddie the following email: 
Looks like your trip to Shelby was a good one! Was it bumpy? It was rough in the upper layers Friday! Can't remember when I've had a worse ride. Picked up the Orlando Magic basketball team in MCO and flew them up to CLT. I could see the lights of PBA (at least the general vicinity) on the descent into CLT. Dropped them off at the FBO that Gary and I used to work for. Nobody remembered me. (Sounds like the start of a sad Ned Mac ditty.)  In TPA for the day. Don't leave until 6:30 pm. One leg up to LGA and then we're done.  Have a great day at the center of the universe!

This was his reply:
 When I Thought I Was Special

(Inspired by NSEG’s Experience at the CLT FBO)

Nobody remembered me at the FBO.

That can make a fellow start feeling pretty low.

It wasn’t long ago I was there pumping fuel.

At the time it was my dream job, really a jewel.

Then later I was a pilot and flew all around.

Pay wasn’t that good but adventures did abound.

Flew a plane from Hampton - Varnville in ‘83.

That wasn’t long ago as any dude can see.

How can they not know somebody special like me?

Keep in touch with your past or you might be forgot.

Some things you find important and other things not.

Remember your roots and from where it is you came.

If nobody remembers don’t you feel ashamed.

Ned Mac 12/24/12*
Alias E in PB

*Revised from 12/16/12

Sunday, December 16, 2012



FDC 01/0912 SFO.  12/09/12. 06:00GMT