Saturday morning, I dropped my dear mother off at the airport for her trip home. For some reason, she didn't care for a Cessna ride back to Michigan. Just as well though, because the weather's not looking at all conducive for a return flight over any of the next few days. However, Saturday's weather was great, and in the process of planning an intended Michigan flight, I found out about an event a couple of flying hours away that warranted a trip. So...
Off we go, on a heading of 335 degrees.
Half the fun of going somewhere is the trip itself. You never know what you'll see below you. Like here, in Berkley Springs, WV. It's the world's largest reel-to-reel tape player!
And then there's the Sideling Hill cut where I-68 chops through the mountain ridge just west of Hancock, MD.
Windmills galore northwest of Bedford, PA.
And the airport at Johnstown, PA, named after that slug John Murtha, unindicted conspirator from the ABSCAM scandal and basher of US Marines in Iraq. He's also famous for abusing his power in Congress to steer hundreds of millions of dollars to this formerly tiny airport that no one was using.
But their Air Traffic Controllers were nice as they picked me up and gave me flight following all the way to my destination, which came in handy as the airspace around my destination was full on this day. They were giving me constant warnings of other aircraft in my immediate vicinity, none of which I could actually spot. At one time, there were four others within four miles of me and I couldn't see any of them. So I just turned on all my flashy blinky stuff, hoping that they could see me, and then I shed some altitude since they were all in the 4,000-6,000 foot range. My destination pattern altitude was 2,400 feet, so a drop to 3,000 gave me a little more separation from the others.
So I flew past this neat man-made lake...
And I joined the busy pattern at Indiana County, PA's Jimmy Stewart Airport.
There were others too, though. The airport was hosting an open house and everyone was flying in or flying around.
I came around, lined up nice despite a stiff crosswind breeze, and slid in for a nice landing...or at least a nice one until I passed an opening between the hangars where the breeze was funneling through. The wind caught me in my flare and I dropped down onto one wheel and started skidding for the field lights before I got it straightened out with an application of power that brought the nose around and took me past the turn-off point as a bonus. And naturally, there were only a couple hundred plane-watchers sitting there along the runway to watch me land like a complete prat. I taxied back in from the far turn-off and since the guy in the orange STAFF shirt wasn't giving me any direction at all, I just coasted down to the end of a row of airplanes and parked myself on the grass. Then I walked back past all of the plane watchers, trying not to make eye contact after that landing.
But then a Pitts biplane came down and the same wind caught him. He bounced half way down the field and the audience broke out with fresh chuckles and snide comments; I was apparently forgotten. (But I can only imagine how they sounded when I screeched past all kittywumpus.) Then a T-6 made a less-than-stellar landing and I started to feel better. It wasn't just me. And the hell with these people; I still flew in here. Most of them likely didn't.
So I walked on, head held high, and went to see the planes.
There was this fantastic T-6.
There was a B-25 here, too.
There was a C-46.
And the one that I came to see--The Boeing PT-17 Stearman.
But then I found this one.
Nifty gas gauge.
Yeah, I'm thinking I can learn to fly this.
There were other "normal" planes here, too.
A Piper Cub:
I saw planes, ate way too much delicious and unhealthy carnival-type food, and then I went inside the FBO and they graciously loaned me this nice truck so that I could go into town for a bit.
I drove into downtown Indiana to make a pilgrimage to this place:
All too soon though, it was time to go. So I thanked the nice airport people for the use of their truck, did a quick pre-flight, and lined up to take off.
Going back, I could have just reversed my course up, but the day was too nice. I knew where I was, and I knew where home was, so I just set out to explore. Here's a nuke plant.
Johnstown, PA from the west.
And a really nice-looking golf course. Miss ya, Pop.
I flew back over mountain ridges, farms, towns and forests and just had a ball.
It was a great day. I went to bed tired but happy.