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Posted by singpilot | Oct 23, 2017 @ 04:57 PM | 965 Views
I flew the LAX to Honolulu run for years. Passing along the Ventura-Santa Barbara coast while climbing out for the 'tracks' to the southwest. Would steal a glance at the coast while preparing estimates for our reporting points, getting the freq assignments for the HF radio, and then checking in with Oakland Radio, and finally a SELCAL test. Making sure we were going to be established 'at speed' and 'at altitude' prior to first waypoint; that the fuel burn and temperature were what the flight plan was predicting, was a busy time.

Returning from HNL, Vandenburg Approach would hint at radar contact and assign a squawk code. This usually occurred 325-ish miles offshore. We would then sign off of Oakland Radio on the HF. It was usually just dark, and the glow of the California coast was rising in the east. Officially, LA Center took the handoff at 299.9 miles offshore, would report radar contact, and clear us to the Ventura VOR. They would then change us to Coast/Mugu approach. A cruise clearance to cross VTA at 9000 usually followed, sometimes 15000 if there was outbound traffic. After the mental arithmetic was done, and the rate-of-descent dialled in, allowing for the slowing to 250 knots at 10000, I'd get a chance to look out the window at the coastline I had grown up along, the channel islands, knew every little anchorage, now dark except for lighthouses and a few ranch houses, and the lights of my home town.

As I got to be senior, and the equipment I flew got more...Continue Reading
Posted by singpilot | Oct 20, 2017 @ 09:21 PM | 1,790 Views
Departed Shannon, Ireland, destination Burbank, LaLaLand. Gulfstream 4. Westbound at FL430, Mach .80 (gas saving speed).

Talking to Artic control, we are way north of Hudson Bay. Has been really quiet on the freq, is VHF thru a remote from somewhere down there. Center calls with traffic.

"Traffic 6 o'clock 60 miles 1100 knot overtake, no altitude readout, in fact is a primary target only intermittently, we're not talking to him."

I look over at the F.O., who puts down his paper, and he asks "and what does he want us to do about it?"

The controller says that we are on a merge track, but he has an idea... be right back.

A full minute goes by...

"Your traffic is on a flight from Mildenhall (mil base in Great Britain) to Mather (military base in California), and is not in controlled airspace (60,000 feet and below), and by the way, your targets just merged."

The hair on my arms sticks straight up, even now as I type this.

I lean forward and look up. The now familiar black double triangle shape was speeding by 20,000 feet above us, with two dark yellow triangle cones from the engines.

From the time he passed overhead to disappearing over the horizon out in front of us was all of 2 minutes.

37 years of amazing things seen while airbourne, that was one of the best.
Posted by singpilot | Oct 18, 2017 @ 08:29 PM | 1,315 Views
I've been asked a lot about it.

At one time I had 21 motorcycles, mostly classic Hondas and BMW's. Towards the end of my flying career, I went around the world twice a month. I kept a bike I bought in Frankfurt-am-Main at a garage in London, and would go exploring the British countryside on layovers. I was north of Birmingham in the Midlands and had started looking for a petrol station, without success. Of course, in the middle of nowhere, at dusk, it started running on 3, then 2. There was an opening in the fenceline along the road, and a dirt road led down a small ravine into the woods. From the road, in the silence, I could hear minstrel-type music, and see a bonfire. I put it in neutral, and coasted into a campground full of people partying.

It was a nudist camp.

I contributed to the camp general fund and was served a meal of I dunno, but the beer was good, and the scenery was great.

I woke up the next morning, having slept better than at any Marriott in town. I bartered for a gallon of gas, and cranked the batt down before realizing a downhill rolling start was going to be my only hope. I started pushing the bike up the dirt road to get to the highway. Three 'helpers' joined me to help push up the hill. We rested once up there, and after saying our goodbyes, two pushed me to get rolling, and after it started, I went back to get my helmet.

When I got back to Kensington, I discovered the pic on my phone cam, which was in my helmet when I left.

Every time I see that pic, I wish I had gotten names and numbers.
Posted by singpilot | Sep 08, 2017 @ 04:04 PM | 1,459 Views
Funny how we all started the same way. Cox PT-19 with the rubber-banded wing. Wore mine out. Schoolyard across the street in Oxnard, Ca.

I remember spending weeks building the Midwest Tri-Squire, then learning to my horror that it had to be 'test-glided' and the rubber-banded stab shimmed with popcicle sticks until it didn't crash. I think it took two sticks (three crashes) until I actually got to fire up the engine and actually fly it. Then shim the Cox 1/2A engine thrust line so it would slowly climb under power and slowly glide once shut down.

By the time I got it all correct, the little plane was pretty beat up. I immediately started building another one. Dope-shrunk covering. Cloth hinges on the rudder. Took several flights with just a splash of fuel until I got it right, and was able to fly out a full tank.

On my Controlaire Mule MKII single channel. As I got good, and the altitude increased, I got the receiver up high enough to be able to receive the truckers on US-101 talking on their CB's. On the frequency I was flying on. My first experience with aerobatics. Lost altitude enough to blank the signal. Got 'control' back.

Yep, lots of fun.

Frank's Hobby House, downtown Oxnard. Frank chain smoked, even while demonstrating how to apply dope repeatedly to shrink the cloth covering in wings. He had retired from the Navy, I think he was a SeaBee at Port Hueneme. Tom Roe, the main photographer for the local paper was the resident expert. He would collect whoever was...Continue Reading