Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Speaking of Travel Airs"

I was poking around the Internet a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across a familiar name from my 737 First Officer days.  Captain Dave Moffett is one of the good guys! Unfortunately we don't cross paths much anymore.  Dave is now a 767 Captain based in Atlanta, Georgia.  He flies to London and Paris and other exotic locations.  I fly the MD-88 out of New York City.  I spend a lot of time in Richmond and Grand Rapids.  We sit on opposite ends of our airline's food chain.  What I liked the most about flying with Dave was fact that he was an Airplane Guy---not all airline pilots are.  He lives in a fly-in community on the south side of Atlanta, and has a plans-built RV-4 in his hangar. Yeah; as soon as he pulled out the pictures, he was my hero!

Besides flying, one of my hobbies is drawing cartoons.  My talent is marginal---but it has proven to be a fun way to pass the time while out on the road.  I borrowed Dave's airplane pictures on a layover in Salt Lake City. . .  The drawing was respectable---it really looked like an RV-4, so I gave it to Dave at the end of the trip.  A few weeks later I found this photo in my v-file at work.  It was a nice surprise!

So where am I going with this?

Dave's latest project is a Travel Air biplane!  If you are a fan of classic biplanes, as I am, you will enjoy following Dave's Travel Air Project.  I recommend starting at the beginning. You will not be disappointed.

Shifting gears, slightly. . .

United Airlines Captain Duncan Flett, known throughout the world as The Exotic Guy, has been vacationing in the Pacific Northwest.  Duncan shares my passion for small town airports.  Last week he called to tell me (rub it in) he was wandering around the Orcas Island Airport in the San Juan Islands.  We chatted for a while and towards the end of our conversation I told him about running across Dave's Travel Air web log.  Ten minutes after we said our goodbye's I received a photo text message with the following caption:  "Speaking of Travel Airs."

Photo by Duncan Flett

How's that for a serendipitous ending?  Be sure to check out Magic Air Tours, Inc., of Orcas Island, Washington.  Watch the video!

And to prove I'm not making this stuff up. . .

Here are a couple of layover drawings.  Sorry; no RV-4---I gave it away before I had a chance to make copies.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jellystoning Around The Guilt

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 -1944)

Brother Baker has been fussing about wanting to visit the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville, North Carolina for quite some time.  In early May he announced his intentions to visit the museum on Wednesday May 14th.  Everyone was invited.  Brother Price, the Chief Pilot at Pond Branch Airfield, said he was up for the adventure---but that was about it.  Brother Barbeau had to send his regrets.  His services were needed at the UPS Store.  I had the time off, but was not sure I could swing the deal with my wife.  Our oldest daughter was getting married on Saturday the 17th.  Friends were scheduled to arrive on Thursday. It was my job to ensure the cow pasture at Casa La Cottom was presentable for out of town guests.  I told Brother Baker it would be a last minute decision.  Tuesday afternoon, with no clear direction from the Jellystoners, Brother Price decided he would play elsewhere.  If Hendersonville was going to happen, it would probably be a one airplane show. . .  Then Tuesday evening, after much cajoling, my wife relented.  "Go play with the guys at the airport."

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men (often go awry) . . .
Robert Burns, To a Mouse, 1786

I started feeling guilty about half way through the drive to the airport.  The museum opens at noon on Wednesdays.  Even if we were there when the doors opened; toss in time for lunch (because the Jellystoners are ALL about lunch) and, well . . . I could foresee problems for the Father of the Bride if the day went long.  I expressed my feelings of angst to Brother Baker as we were pulling the airplanes out of the hangar.  He said:  "Why don't we head over to Les' place."  (Unity Airfield near Lancaster, South Carolina---twenty-five miles southeast of Jellystone Air Park.)  "Benny (Zimmer) and Chas (Boswell) will be here shortly, I'm sure they won't mind the change in plans.  I've been meaning to introduce Chas to Unity anyway."  My guilty feelings began to subside. . .

The Boswell 170 lives two doors down from Jellystone Air Park.

The Zimmer 150 lives in Lancaster, South Carolina.

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
Richard Bach

This view never gets old!

After briefing Plan B we launched for Unity Airfield.  But not before warning Les we were on our way.  We've made that mistake before!  There's nothing worse than showing up unannounced---especially if you are hoping to catch a ride to lunch with the airport manager.

Jellystone Air Park to Unity Airfield is an easy fifteen minute flight in the Hatz.  After departing the pattern to the east, follow the Catawba River until it makes a sharp turn to the south. When the river turns, hold your heading (about 120 degrees) and look for two white water tanks on top of a small ridge about five miles ahead.  Fly to the right of the tanks.  As you cross the ridge you will see JAARS - Townsend Airfield dead ahead.  2,600' Unity Airfield (SC76) is five miles southeast of JAARS.  Airport elevation is 640.'  If you call before you visit, the airport manager will take you out to lunch, usually.

Anyone who can look unmoved at an aeroplane after it has been a long run must indeed be insensitive to romance. . .  She is the symbol of conquest, the earnest of fresh conquests to be.
Wing Commander Roderic Hill, 1929

Transit Aircraft Parking, Unity Airfield

Oh by the way; the wedding was a huge success!