Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"It's A Major Award!"

I have been fussing about not having enough light in my Not So Exotic Office for quite some time---ever since we moved in, actually.  The room does have two windows, but it sits in the shady corner of the house.  Two hours of morning sunlight is all it receives.  Once the sun is above the roof line the room is bathed in shadow for the rest of the day.  I am not a shadow kind of guy.  I find this lack of sunlight depressing---especially since this is the room where most of my aviation "treasures" are displayed.  What I really need is a desk lamp with serious horsepower.

Every time I see the classic movie, A Christmas Story, I think a leg lamp would be the perfect solution to my lighting problem.  You know the one I'm talking about.  "It's a major award!"  But $250 seems like a lot of cash for a lamp that quite possibly could end up like the one in the movie---my wife has always been cool on the idea.  Still, I kept putting it out there.  Up until last week.  That's when Brother Baker delivered his Christmas gift---a cylinder lamp that he designed, and built, from one of 43 Bravo's worn-out cylinders.  How cool is that?  Brother Barbeau received one too.  We are twins!

Eat your heart out EG.  Who needs a JN4 prop on the wall when you have a 43 Bravo Cylinder Lamp?  Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Jellystone Brothers

Photo by Eddie Price

One hundred and eleven years after Kitty Hawk the Jellystone Brothers honored Orville and Wilbur Wright with a flight to the center of the universe, Pond Branch Airfield.

Brothers Bob & Joe

The brothers en route. . .

Pond Branch Airfield, 9 o'clock.

Left crosswind for Runway 11.

Brother Price was there to greet us.  (We called ahead.)

Eddie, Giddy, and Joe in front of the PBA Wall of Fame.  Eddie's plan is to have every airplane that has ever visited PBA on the wall---eventually.

Photo by Eddie Price

Pre-departure photo, Gate 1, Pond Branch Airfield.

Thanks Orville!  Thanks Wilbur!  Thanks Eddie!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Quote Of The Week

From Brother Barbeau:

"A1A is 40 years old this week!  Let's take the Hatz to Key West!"

Album photo courtesy of my good friend, Bob Blythe.  Yes, it's had a few plays!

Friday, November 14, 2014

"The More Than Great Waldo Pepper's"

We had beautiful weather here in the Carolinas on Wednesday.  Clear blue sky, light winds, and temperatures in the low seventies.  It was the perfect Hatz day---and a welcome change from Monday's planeload of ice in Minneapolis.  I fired off a note to Brother Barbeau:  "Is it a Hatz day?"  He replied, "I think it is!"

Photo by Helmut Buquor

Start up, Jellystone Air Park. . .

Photo by Helmut Buquor

Jellystone Air Park neighbor, Helmut Buquor, coined the phrase, "The more than Great Waldo Pepper's."

"The Great Barbeau" . . .

. . . and "The Not So Exotic Guy."

This never gets old!

On downwind for Runway 18 at York, South Carolina.

Bush-N-Vine Farms.

Turning final. . .

Peach Trees in Autumn!

My Captain, "The Great Barbeau."  

His side kick.

Back on the ramp at Jellystone Air Park. . .


A peach leaf from the Bush-N-Vine.

What a beautiful day!  I am so not ready for winter. . .

Friday, November 7, 2014


Sorry folks, no Grateful Dead stories.  I missed that scene.  The deadhead I'm talking about is the airline variety:  Positioning flight crews around the system for reasons known only to Crew Scheduling.  It's not something I look forward to---and the airline is not big on it either.  It would rather collect the revenue from the seat it can't sell---and I'd rather be flying the airplane.  But it happens.

At Big D planned deadheads usually occur when there is a schedule change.  Network Planning decides that September 14th is summer, and September 15th is fall.  The summer 757 to Orlando is replaced with a fall MD-88. The layover MD-88 crew will ride in on the 757, and the 757 crew will ride out on the MD-88.  These are known in advance, and are usually included in the monthly bid packages.  Other planned deadheads are the result of "staffing issues."  Someone gets sick mid rotation, or a delay pushes a crew into extended rest.  When this happens the reserves get called. . .  "Good morning Captain Cottom, this is Crew Scheduling.  We have a 0500 sign in at Newark (New Jersey.)  It's a deadhead to. . ."   

Unplanned deadheads are usually the result of maintenance or weather issues.  Our maintenance folks are good at what they do.  Rarely does my schedule change because of a broken airplane.  The weather; well that's a different story.  One inch of snow in Atlanta and there is a pretty good chance that crews will be deadheading for days.  Big D continues to spend a lot of money trying to mitigate the chaos of snow in the Southland.

The deadheading "experience" can be hit or miss.  If the flight is full, I expect to sit in a middle seat in the back of the airplane.  If the flight is empty (maybe on a Saturday) I might see First Class.  It is all covered in The Law of Deadhead Travel, which states:  First Class travel is reserved for flights with block times less than 60 minutes.  Any flight longer than one hour, the deadheading crew member will sit in coach, period.  (Usually in the seat with an inoperative reading light.)  Widebody International crews are governed by a different set of rules.  According to their manual, and I'm paraphrasing here, if a lay-flat Business Class seat is not available, the deadheading crew member may, at his or her convenience, request a reserve pilot be called to cover the deadhead.  That's the story I heard when I was a new hire seventeen years ago. .

My deadheading experience is almost always positive.  Probably because I enjoy chatting with my fellow travelers.  Sure, there is the occasional Grumpy Gus, but that is the exception.  The uniform helps too.  My last deadhead was back in October---to cover a layover in Norfolk, Virginia.  I was seated in coach (as per the Law.)  When a tall gentleman sat down beside me, I said:  "I was hoping for a short skinny person."  He replied:  "Yeah, and I bet with long blond hair."  We had a nice chat on the way to Norfolk. Last Tuesday I received the following letter:

Click on image to enlarge.
Who needs a lay-flat Business Class seat when you have interesting fellow travelers? The DVDs were awesome.  Be sure to check out New Dominion Pictures.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Commando Update

Joe Baker, 2,000' AGL, 150 MPH.

Brother Baker has thirty-six minutes of C-46 time (and one grease-job landing) in his logbook!

To honor the occasion a reception is planned for mid week at Jellystone Air Park.  Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear the Commando Zen Master tell his tale of Daring Do!  Space is limited so be sure to purchase your tickets early.  A sign up sheet for autographs will be posted on the hangar door.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Brother Baker Goes Commando!

It's not what you think. . .  Then again, maybe it is!

Tinker Belle & the Hatz, Monroe, NC.

Thursday morning I received a text message from Brother Baker.  It was actually a group text message---Brother Barbeau was included, as well.

Joe:  "Gonna check out Tinker Belle today.  They're doing a training flight.  I'll get some pix!"

Me:  "Are you included in the training?"

Joe:  "Probably not this time.  But. . .  I'll keep you posted!"

Me:  "Commando Joe!"  "As in C-46 Commando, for Gary."

Gary:  "I was in mid sentence."  "Does that mean he's not wearing underwear?  That can be chilly in the Hatz today!"

Joe:  "Nah, I am fully supported!  I appreciate the "support" from you guys, tho. . ."

The Tinker Belle is a 1944 Curtiss Wright C-46F Commando.  It is owned by the City of Monroe, North Carolina.  (I'm sure there's a story!)  Brother Baker was invited to ride the jump seat Thursday morning.  Here are a few pictures:

Joe Baker & Jim Zazas

The Luscombe crowd.  "No Wood, No Nails, No Glue!"

"Let me show you how we start this sucker. . ."

Departing Runway 23 at Monroe, NC.

Point it straight and lock the tail wheel!

Runway 24 at Lancaster, SC.

Keep it locked for landing. . .

"That was fun!  Let's do it again!"

I know what you are thinking. . .  That control wheel is so cool!

Jim Zazas & Alex Mello

Now it's Jim's turn. . .

"Where's the line boy when you need him?"

Time for a break. . .

The Tinker Belle, Lancaster, SC.

"Y'all gonna put that thing on a tie-down?"

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 Fall Vintage Fly-In


Pick Freeman's 1946 GC-1B, Photo by Eddie Price

The Carolinas - Virginia Antique Airplane Foundation (EAA Vintage Chapter 3) hosted it's Fall Vintage Fly-In this past weekend at Woodward Field in Camden, South Carolina.  Dad and I were there for a few hours on Saturday.

They travel in pairs. . .

Jim Wilson's 1936 WACO YKS parked next to Bob Perkins' 1939 AGC-8.  This kind of style and comfort ensures a parking space close to the chow line. . .  "Ask any pilot!"

1936 in 2014.

You know you want one!

My latest obsession:

At Roxboro I drooled over Steve Roth's 1935 Fairchild 22.  Saturday I drooled over Buddy Wehman's 1939 Fleet 16B.  


Buddy Wehman

New Vintage. . .

Bob Coolbaugh arrived at 2 PM.  The blue and orange Pietenpol Air-Camper quickly drew a crowd---it could have been the Ryan NYP at Le Bourget. . .

I'm not sure if 40 lbs of stuff will fit in here.

The most important instrument is top dead center!

The Luscombe crowd. . .

Jim Zazas' 1946 rag-wing 8A.

Another '46 rag-wing 8A.  This one lives in Florence, South Carolina.

Vortex generators?

A beautiful 1947 8E.

Something zippy. . .

I did not speak with the owner, but the FAA says it's a 1976 Williams Monocoupe 90C with a Continental O-300 engine.  Experimental.  It looks like a lot of fun!

The Peanut Gallery:

Eddie Price, Chief Pilot & Airport Manager at Pond Branch Airfield.

His hound dog, Giddy.

Pop Cottom, Eddie & Giddy, and Don Schmotzer---the camera crew.

Pop with the Big Iron!

And finally. . .

. . . the chow line!