Monday, July 15, 2013


Tower: "What's your heading?"

"Me: "Heading of 354. Off to the north."

And off I went, climbing out over the West Virginia countryside. (Click on pics to enlarge.)
Here's a neighborhood I hadn't seen before. Near Berkeley Springs, t's built in and around a golf course. My dad should have lived someplace like this.
Potomac Air Park, at Hancock, MD. That's the Potomac River adjacent to it. The high ridge to the south and trees just off the approach end of 29 makes left pattern landings "interesting".
And here's Breezewood, PA, where most of us get on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And visible on the right side of the picture: the beginning of the 13-mile stretch of old, bypassed turnpike known today as "The Abandoned Turnpike".
This old section of roadway is in the process of being turned into a rail-to-trail route. Next time he's down, I'm going to take my Nephew, The Spud, out to bike it.
And here's the entrance to one of the two tunnels along it.
This one is the Rays Hill Tunnel. It's still open though unlit. It's a mile long. Bike it at your own risk.
Here's the other side. A bit overgrown, but...
Destination, first leg of the flight: Altoona, PA airport.
On the ground in Altoona, PA.
Then I went walk-about. I'd heard of a really great Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonite restaurant called Traditions that's not even a mile from the airport. And as it was getting to be lunch time...

These horses told me how to get there.

Oh, wow. Was that place good. I'ma gonna fly back there just for the pot roast samminch.

A mural on the wall at the Altoona airport.
Here, I cut through the passenger terminal on the way back from lunch. I walked in and immediately felt the evil eye from two obese TSA thugs goons customer service specialists who were lounging around the ticket counter, rubber gloves at the ready, waiting for someone to get on or off a commercial plane so that they could grope them inappropriately and maybe steal some of their stuff. They watched me as I sauntered over to the little book shop in the terminal, which turned out to be closed.
I can see why they'd watch me. I was looking kinda bummy and sweaty, and I was the only one other than them in the building, but they didn't say anything until I walked out the side door past the mural. Sure enough, then one of them waddled after me came to the door and told me that I was not supposed to walk out that door. I shrugged and offered to go back in, but he told me that I was not allowed to walk in that door, either.
"So why even have a door here if we can't go in or out through it?", I asked him as I turned away and kept walking towards the FBO and MY plane. He seemed butthurt that I'd bypassed him and his pal. He'd probably have been even more upset if he'd known that I had a sidearm on me. But I didn't enter his precious little "secure area" as I walked out onto the tarmac, so he could just go pound sand.

The FBO people were nicer. They gave me water and let me hang out in their air conditioned lobby and watch TV for a bit. Then we made fun of KTVU News Anchor Tori Campbell for for her blinding stupidity as she read off four joke names of the flight crew of that jet that crashed in San Francisco last week.

Way to go, Tori, being the last person in America to get the joke. What a blithering ditz. She needs to reassigned to a job more suited to her talents, perhaps as a greeter in the KTVU lobby.
On second thought, she'd just spend the day paging "Jack Meoff" and Bill Melater" every time one of them got a phone call.

I took off again, and headed southish. I didn't even bother turning on the GPS. I just flew a heading of 210 until I passed the Bedford, PA airport, shown here (complete with a small plane taking off).
Then I picked up Highway 220 as it meandered down this valley and followed it all the way to my next destination: Cumberland, MD.
Flying my approach into Cumberland, I passed over what looked to be a small park with what appeared to be a F-80 jet in it. But I was already in the landing queue with a few other aircraft so I decided to come back and find it again later.
Here's downtown Cumberland. I've been here before.
And here's the airport. I was third in line to land, and that didn't deter a glider and it's tow plane from taking off on the crosswind runway with two of us on downwind and one on final.
Fortunately he did not foul the deck as he crossed the active with his glider. Some people are just too important to wait in line, I guess.

After a quick touch and go, I went back to find my F-80 jet.
There it is! Looks to be a T-33 two-seater, actually. The RC-172 eye in the sky sees all!
And look ahead of it--a tank, too. Can I find stuff, or what? "Cessna FAC is orbiting, Cricket. What air assets do you have available?"

I'm going to go back in a car and find that jet. It looks to be in pretty decent shape. Maybe, just maybe...

I flew back east, dreaming of a restored T-33 jet of my very own.

The clouds are building. And the terrain is rising.

Clouds cast shadows over the mountains below.
I just have to thread the needle between the clouds and the ridges.
But quickly enough, I'm through and there's home.
And oh, look what's on the AF side of the field: A C-130, nicely parked next to a C-5 to give some scale to the true size of the C-5.
That C-130 could fit inside the C-5 if you took it's wings off.

Home and down now. 2.7 flying hours in the book, and I'm happy.


  1. What a great day! Once again I'm jealous.

  2. Sweet. Didja notice the artillery piece up and to the right of the T-33? I think you've stumbled onto something here Murph!

    Suspected truck park?

  3. Yep, saw that, too. Where's a flight of F-105s when you need one?

  4. Sounds like a great day! Good for the proficency too!

  5. Murphy,
    "Where's a flight of F-105s when you need one?"
    Pretty sure if you'd looked up sun and high, Ras was circling waiting for you to clear him.

  6. @ Juvat: I like to think so.

  7. Saw a hot air balloon east of Front Royal yesterday before sunset. I was jealous. Then I thought of you and I was even more jealous.

  8. Looks like a great time!

  9. @ Keads: If was great. And I'm still planning a NC flight.