Thursday, December 26, 2013


Brother Baker's latest masterpiece:

Pop Cottom in a 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12-D over Elser Field, North Lima, Ohio.  My Christmas gift to my father.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Rules


I just finished reading the latest Flight Ops Bulletin explaining the new FAR Part 117 Flight and Duty Time Regulations that take effect January 1, 2014.  I am not sure how other airlines plan to handle the new regs, but Big D has decided that BOTH the Captain AND the First Officer must now sign the Flight Dispatch Release---to certify they are fit for duty---prior to departure.  Yes; you read that correctly.  The powers that be have decided that First Officers should have a say in things.


John Mullis, be thankful you are retired.  The camel's head is now under the tent wall.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

No Attaboys

Five inches of snow at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut yesterday.  We were number three to deice behind this MD-88 bound for Atlanta, Georgia, and an Airbus A320 on it's way to Detroit, Michigan.  Only one deice truck was in operation.  Flight 541 arrived in Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota one hour behind schedule.  The captain's landing was a squeaker; probably his best ever!  Not one attaboy.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Sweet Potato Run - A Champ Encounter

Test-fitting the sides of the Jellydrop Camper.

Brother Barbeau's highly modified Teardrop Camper project is coming along nicely.  The base is up on wheels, and the sides and doors have been stained and poly-coated.  It has been a fun project to work on.  Sunday evening Gary and I received the following text message from Brother Baker:  "Any plans for tomorrow?  I'm off. . .  Flying?  Trailer hitching?"  (Previous attempts to help install the trailer hitch on Gary's car have been interrupted by crew scheduling.)  I replied:  "I already have a hitch, so I vote flying." 

Two of the three stooges.

The Directions for Instillation (English, French and Spanish) touted a thirty minute instillation time.  The Jellystone install crew finished the job in twenty-seven!  The wiring harness took an additional twenty-five minutes to install---not mentioned in the Instructions pour L'installation. 

A test drive was in order. . .

In the parking lot at the local Jersey Mike's sub shop.

So what does any of this have to do with sweet potatoes, or Champs?

Well, it was the Monday before Thanksgiving. . .  One dish that I especially enjoy is my bride's sweet potato casserole.  I can't imagine Thanksgiving dinner without the savory orange colored delicacy.  I just love the stuff!  So where can you find fresh sweet potatoes?  How about the Bush-N-Vine Produce Stand in York, South Carolina---just ten minutes (in a Hatz or Luscombe) west of Jellystone Air Park.  Leaving the house Monday morning I said to my wife:  "Don't buy any sweet potatoes, I'm hitting the Bush-N-Vine!"

The temperature Monday afternoon was somewhere in the mid forties.  Perfect for Luscombe flying, but maybe a little uncomfortable in an open cockpit Hatz biplane.  Still "chilled" from the morning hitch instillation, Gary decided the hangar needed cleaning more than he needed to freeze on the way to the Bush-N-Vine.  So while Brother Barbeau swept the hangar floor, Brother Baker and I set out to save Thanksgiving dinner at Casa La Cottom!

The produce stand sits on the northwest corner of the York airfield.  The winds were favoring a south operation, so we landed on Runway 18, and then back-taxied to the Bush-N-Vine.  As we were making our one-eighty we noticed a bright yellow Aeronca Champ beside the hangar on the southeast side of the field---then watched it depart as we walked to the sweet potato stand. 

Ten minutes and eight sweet potatoes later the Champ was on downwind.  Sensing a photo opportunity, we stashed our produce in the baggage compartment, and positioned ourselves for the Champ's landing. . .  After a nice touchdown, the Champ made a quick one-eighty, and then back-taxied and parked next to Four Three Bravo on the Bush-N-Vine ramp.

Photo by Joe Baker

The Champ driver was local celebrity, Bobby Woodson.  Does the name sound familiar?  It should.  Bobby had a small part in a video that was making the rounds last year.

Joe Baker & Bobby Woodson

The 65hp Champ was a beauty!

Glamour Shot!

Two classics:  The Bush-N-Vine Produce Stand, and a '46 Aeronca Champ.

The Mighty 65!

Autograph Session!

Bobby is a super nice guy---very "down to earth."  Not what you would expect from a movie star. . .

Fired on the first pull!

The sweet potatoes were awesome!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flour Bombs & BBQ

Ladies and gentlemen the 2013 PBA Flour Bomb Chuckin' Fly-In & BBQ was a huge success!  More than sixty-five people were on hand to enjoy Brother Price's World Famous Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs, and watch fourteen flying machines battle strong west winds at the November 2nd celebration at Pond Branch Airfield.  The extra large turnout was not a surprise.  The Pond Branch-Jellystone Telegraph was extremely active in the weeks leading up to the fly-in.  If you are a member of the Gaston Tree Top Flyers; the Citadel Round Table; EAA Chapter 961 in Rock Hill, South Carolina; or one of the Luscombe groups on Yahoo and Facebook, your inbox was inundated with fly-in updates---all for a good cause!

This years contest was the third official (fourth overall) flour bombing competition to be held at Pond Branch Airfield.  Previous events were held in December 2011, April 2012, and October 2012.  Once again Brother Baker was in charge of advertising.  I'm sure everyone involved will agree; he did a fantastic job!  My bride, however, was not enthused with his decision to publish a 9am start time.  As Commander in Charge of the Jellystone Squadron Support Vehicle (CCJSSV), she was responsible for fuel and ammo delivery.

Friday evening the conversation went something like this:  CCJSSV:  "Why do Yvonne and I need to be down there at 9am?"  Me:  "Because you can't have a flour bombing contest without flour bombs."  (I probably should have skipped the sarcasm.)  CCJSSV:  "You know you'll never leave Rock Hill on time---just like last year, you'll be fogged-in!"  Me:  "Yeah; well we can't have people waiting around just because we thought it might be foggy."  Saturday morning the fog was thick as pea soup. . . .  (sigh)

Photo by Colin Baker

Eventually the fog cleared and the Jellystoners launched for Pond Branch Airfield.  Just like the Triple Tree Invasion, I hitched a ride in the Hatz with Brother Barbeau, and young Colin Baker flew right seat for his Pop in Four Three Bravo.  It was a chilly ride!  Thirty degrees cooler than the flight down to Triple Tree Aerodrome---too cold for open cockpit iPhone photography.  Luckily the Luscombe crew took up the slack.

Photo by Joe Baker

Fog near Winnsboro, South Carolina.

Photo by Colin Baker

Test shot.

Photo by Eddie Price

Joe and Colin announced their arrival at Pond Branch Airfield with a low pass down Runway 11.  Gary and I were three miles north of the field.  I had a nice view of the signature Baker pull-up from my seat in the front of the Hatz.

Photo by Eddie Price

Gary and I touched down a few minutes later.  Another superb fly-in landing by Brother Barbeau.  He always seems to know when the cameras are rolling---that's why we call him The Great Barbeau!

NC1143B and N558 in their usual parking spaces.

Tree Top Flyers Don Bledsoe and Neil Deye were the first to arrive.  They were parked on the East Transit Ramp next to Elzie Hallman Road and I-20.  Don's Super STOL Cessna 172 is a work of art.  Neil's Apache is a frequent visitor during cooler months.

CCJSSV, Nancy Cottom, and Yvonne Carrasco (of Team Carrasco-Barbeau) set up shop on the north side of Runway 11.

Opposite the (very active) windsock . . .

. . . with a nice view of the target.

The flight deck of Karl Von Kaenel's 1949 Ryan Navion.  In his spare time Karl flies a Boeing 717.

Brother Price's 1950 Cessna 140A, and two of three Weber grills used to produce PBA Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs.

Triple Webers at the 2013 PBA Fly-In.

Here they are in action!  Nine racks of baby-backs, and 40 pounds of BBQ!

Gary and Yvonne in the chow line.

Just a few of the 65 (or so) . . .

. . . that passed through the line.

Karl had to sit on the ground because I broke a chair at the PBA Tree Top Flyer meeting back in April. 

Team Baker's first bomb run.

I only snapped two action shots all day, apparently.  This shot of Colin and Joe . . .

. . . and Neil's departure fly-by.  Centered in the bulls-eye!  Just not in the picture.
I did manage a nice video of Karl's Navion fly-by, however. 

As the day progressed, the winds got stronger.  After watching several go-arounds I started calculating approach speeds.  The rule of thumb in the airline world is to use half of the computed head wind, plus all of the gust factor, when calculating wind additives.  I know PBA isn't the airline world, but it's still a good rule of thumb.  The winds were forecast to be out of the west at ten knots, with gusts up to eighteen.  Eddie's windsock agreed with the forecast.  Takeoffs would not be a problem; especially on PBA's downhill Runway 29.  However; a thirteen knot wind additive will increase your landing distance significantly!  My first landing at PBA was on Runway 29.  The winds were light---and I used every inch of the 1,500' runway!  With that in mind, I decided to skip this year's competition.

Eddie was the last to compete.  And . . .

. . . I should have been watching Eddie; instead of watching Gary watch Eddie.

Because Eddie hit the bulls-eye!

Photo by Eddie Price

Via con dios. . .

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are Your Charts Up To Date?

Instrument Approach Chart for Charlotte, North Carolina from 1943, compliments of Joe Baker.

Instructions for using the approach chart, compliments of United Air Lines Captain Duncan "EG" Flett.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Morris Field, Charlotte, North Carolina (looking southwest) compliments of the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

If the weather cooperated, maybe the captain gave you the landing!  If you were ahead of schedule, maybe there was time for coffee with the pretty gal working the lunch counter. . .

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When I Grow Up. . .

Octogenarian Neil Deye in his '56 Piper Apache

I want to be like Neil Deye.

Photo by Eddie Price

I want to hop in my vintage Piper Apache on Saturday mornings and visit my neighbors, because I know that tree top fly-bys always make them smile.

Photo by Eddie Price

And they know that pictures of tree top fly-bys always make me smile!

Photo by Eddie Price

All of that smiling will entice me to grab my other vintage airplane and do it again!

Photo by Eddie Price

And again. . .

Photo by Don Schmotzer

. . . and again!

Neil Deye & Eddie Price

Because smiling is contagious, especially when you have great neighbors! 

You can never have too many pictures.  As my good friend Eddie Price likes to say:  "You don't know how you look, till you get your picture took!"