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Archive for May, 2006
Posted by GRW3 | May 24, 2006 @ 04:48 PM | 15,985 Views
Last Saturday, son #2 and I set out on a modeling trip. Our intention was to visit the Scalemasters Qualifier being held at the Hill Country Aeromodelers field in Austin, TX. This was a new event for the area. If any one was in the hunt for a position at the big show and didn't go to this one they missed a relatively easy shot.

I've always liked this field. The people are very friendly and the field is excellent, although it has a grade that is usually downhill with typical Texas weather patterns. It's odd at first but you get used to it.

When we arrived, they were doing the static judging. This really makes the time drag. Since it just got started we decided to drive up to the big hobby shop in Georgetown. I needed a new starter and I wanted a high torque model. The local shops I will deal with did not have what I wanted but Discount Hobbies has a lot of supplies. I was happy but my son was disappointed that almost all the planes were ARFs.

We headed back to Austin for the event but got sidetraked by a visit to Fry's the big, everything electronic superstore. What a bunch of toys they have there. After that we went to... lunch. Finally we went back to the flying site. The flying was well in progress.

They were starting the second round. Unfortunately we saw several of the best planes laying damaged in the pits. The wind was a little gusty but straight down the runway. The wind and the nerves seemed to be bothering the pilots in the usual way for a scale contest....Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 14, 2006 @ 11:24 PM | 16,269 Views
I thought, "Boy, those two Cubs overhead appear to be the same size..." then blammo - mid air. Happened at one of our Big Bird fly-ins. Two pilots, two spotters and yet no one noticed the potential disaster. Isn't that the truth of mid airs?

Over the years I've seen lots of crashes, too many from behind the sticks myself, but it seems like the mid airs are the most memorable. Besides the one previously mentioned, there are two that come to mind...

The first happened at our flying field. I was flying a friends Phaeton 90, it was quite the experience at the time. This was the early days of big birds so this now modest plane was seemingly huge. I was at least one mistake high and doing some aerobatics. I did a loop and right at the top a smaller plane flew directly over it.

As I was completing the loop I heard the pilot next to me utter those classic words... "I ain't got it!" Shortly thereafter I noticed my engine was dead and handed the controls back to the owner to land. As he was guiding the plane in for a landing I heard that the other plane had come apart in mid air. When the Phaeton landed we immediately noticed that the prop had a nick in it.

The retrieval crew brought back the remains of the other plane, a Sig Kougar, and it was obvious what happened. The tail had been neatly sliced off the Kougar. It happened at the top of the loop with the Phaeton inverted. The Kougar had to pass close enough to get the tail cut off without fouling...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 06, 2006 @ 03:48 AM | 17,835 Views
Mostly I read for entertainment and usually science fiction or fiction with science involved. I also like the King-Koontz brand of horror supernatural reading. I'm a Heinlein fan from childhood and my current favorites for 'hard' science fiction are Peter Hamilton and Jack McDevitt. Sometimes though I read non-fiction.

I just read a non fiction book that has bearing on the sport we love, even though it involves man carrying planes. The book is No Visible Horizon by Joshual Cooper Ramo. Its premise is covering the entry of a pilot into competition aerobatics but it it so much more. I usually read the first chapter or two of a book before bying it. I was sold on this book by the last sentence of the first chapter:

"... "Sh_t" I think. "I've just killed myself." ... "

In fact aerobatics is a brutal sport that has killed many a man and woman. (A fact that the detractors on Amazon try to dismiss by touting the fact that no one has been killed in competition.) Pushing the limits against the air has been an obsession of man even before the wright brothers.

Every pilot has looked at that picture of the biplane in the tree and thought "Not Me!", at least for a while. You get your license and you think you're the king of the world. You have a plan laid out on how you're going to progress. My eyesight was not good enough for an airline job but I knew I could be quite the sport pilot. I flew for a while and then just stopped. Oh I...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | May 01, 2006 @ 10:49 PM | 16,739 Views
Most of the time flying is routine but sometimes it just goes awry. Yesterday I left San Antonio at 8:00 am (arriving the airport at 6:00am) and arrived in DC at 10:00pm, driving in from Richmond,VA (without my luggage). I was planning on going to see the new Air and Space Museum facility at Dulles this morning but instead spent my time locating my luggage.

I am actually in Alexandria, VA one of the most pleasant places to hold a business meeting in the country. Too bad I'm not at the meeting hotel. We have to use the "Company Travel Agency" where I work and the agent just forgot to make my hotel reservation. Of course it it my fault for not making sure she did her job.

Flying is one of the great leveling experiences in American life. Everybody flies because airplanes are just the cheapest way (money and time considered) to get anywhere. I fly American mostly for two reasons, the frequent flyer program and the seat pitch. I'm tall and that extra inch for my knees is important. BTW second best in this category is Southwest.