It is the end of January and Brother Baker is vacationing in Alaska. I know, weird. Most folks visit Alaska during the summer months. In Brother Baker's defense, except for yesterday, it has been warmer in Anchorage this week, than here in North Carolina. Wait, there's more. He is visiting his Brother in Law, who works for the Army Corps of Engineers, lives in Alaska, and works in India---building a C-17 base for the Indian Air Force, just outside of New Delhi. The Alaska Command is in charge of the project, apparently. What I want to know is: How do you pack for THAT trip? They are forecasting snow and ice in the southeast today. Big D has canceled over 500 flights in Atlanta. It is all out of whack!
Photo by Joe Baker
A 1929 Fairchild 42 (that appears to fly regularly) in the Lake Hood Land Plane tie-down area. How cool is that?
The generator in Brother Barbeau's Hatz Biplane is having "issues." Our good friend, Les Kanna, of Unity Airfield fame, has a buddy that is a generator wizard. His schedule was free Wednesday afternoon. If we could meet him at Les' place at 4 PM, he'd take a look at the generator.
The temperature at departure time was in the mid thirties. Brother Baker had to bundle up! I handled the radio calls from the relative warmth of the Luscombe: "Rock Hill traffic, Luscombe One One Four Three Bravo, flight of two, departing Runway Two Zero, Rock Hill. . ."
The Wizard said: "Yep, it's busted. Pull it off and I'll take back to the shop."
Twilight arrival at Jellystone Air Park. . . Left Base, Runway Two Zero.
We found this note when we were putting the airplane to bed.
OK - My car temp says it is 36 degrees on the ground & youz - guyz are out flying an open Bi-Plane.
Jeff Skiles' recent article in Sport Aviation magazine about wheel landings in Alaska's bush country prompted me to reflect upon my own wheel landing proficiency, or lack thereof. My three-pointers are, for the most part, pretty good. There are a few clunkers here and there, but they are straight (mostly) and in the touchdown zone. To be honest, I don't care as much about the touchdown as I do about the approach. A well planned approach usually ends with a decent touchdown. It works in the airliner; it works in the Luscombe; it works in the Hatz, usually---and the proficient/prudent pilot knows the approach isn't finished until the airplane is parked at the gate! My wheel landings are just so-so---and since wheel landings are all about the touchdown, I reallydo care!
Two weeks ago I managed to cajole Brother Baker into riding along while I practiced wheel landings down at Lancaster, South Carolina. Out of seven attempts, only two were respectable---the first; which I'd say was a seven, on a scale of one to ten; and another, equally unremarkable. I also had one bounce to a go-around---the result of a poor approach, understandably. Brother Baker's wheel landings (from the right seat) were flawless! Well; one was a little weird, but nothing embarrassing. The guy in the Mooney waiting to depart on Runway Six certainly couldn't tell anything was amiss! They say practice makes perfect. I'm not there---yet. I still need more practice.
Jellystone Air Park neighbor, Ray Bluhm, has just finished a six month project upgrading the avionics in his 2001 Vans Aircraft RV-4. Original steam gage flight instruments have been replaced with a new Garmin single panel flight display that really looks sharp. An autopilot was also added. Ray's craftsmanship is outstanding. Two Six Foxtrot Bravo is a serious travelin' machine. . .