Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Four States Worth of Flying...and horses.

Because it was a nice day, when I picked my pane up from the repair shop (more on that later), I couldn't resist taking it up for a little test-hop.

Bye, C-5s!

First I flew east, over the Jefferson County Fair.
(Running all week. Go see it!)
Then it was over the Blue Ridge mountains and into Virginia and the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) that surrounds Washington DC. This was my first foray into the SFRA, formerly known as the DC ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone). I guess that the new warmer and fuzzier name is supposed to dispel fears of being intercepted by F-16 fighters if you don't do everything exactly right. But no worries--I did my homework, I have the correct squawk codes, and come the worst case, I can fly a lot lower and slower than an F-16. You guys want a piece of me? Come on down here.

No pics of the inbound flight to Leesburg (JYO) because I was working a bit to stay both under the Dulles Class B airspace and above the terrain. Kinda tricky and not much time for camera work.

Once on the ground, I got parked next to this Piaggio Aero P180, known locally as "the flying catfish".
Wanna know what Leesburg doesn't have? Food. Once the ramp rat told me that, I told him to clear the prop, as I was leaving. He suggested Frederick, Maryland. Sounded good to me.
Yeah, yeah... Switching to the super-secret and oft-published "special" squawk code for VFR JYO departure. (Don't tell anyone that it's 1226, ok?)

And with that, it was off to Fredneck. (And I've called it "Fredneck" for so long due to it's special demographic make-up that I actually had to catch myself when talking to the tower there. ("Fredne--Uh, I mean Frederick Tower, this is Cessna XXXXX inbound from the south...")
They landed me and gave me taxi instructions to the restaurant there, and because Frednecks like to park all kittywumpus on the ramp, I had to play "thread-the-needle" between other parked birds to get up to where I could actually park and chock mine. This is how wingtips get dinged, people!

I had lunch there (The Kebab steak sub...avoid it) and then got my departure instructions from Ground. They sent me to the departure end of Runway 23 to wait next to these guys.
I did my run-ups and sat for a minute, then I did some figuring. The gray one is a commercial. They're going through a checklist. The other Cessna is a flight school plane. They're doing a checklist and there's probably some discussion going on there, too. Screw it--I called the tower, told them I was ready, and they cleared me to jump the line and take off.
Hey look--my shadow. At least I hope it's mine.

Here's a nice, posh neighborhood with it's own golf course. We're not in Fredneck anymore.

Next, I touched down in Clearview, a bit south of Westminster.
Nice runway, eh? But I came in hot and used up every bit of it's 1840 feet. Glad I just got new brakes put on.

This place was covered with old aircraft, most of which looked like they'd been abandoned and/or stripped for parts. It was like the Island of Misfit Toys, only for aircraft. But that didn't mean that there wasn't some cool stuff there, too.

Check these out.
That is a 1972 McCulloch Aircraft CO. J-2 rotorcraft. Cool, huh?

And this little beauty is a 1947 Aeronca 7BCM. It's an eary Champ, forerunner of the Citabria. All of these originally went to the military as L-16As (So it's a real warbird!) but eventually most of them made it back into civiian hands.


I hit Carroll County on a touch-and-go, and then overflew this little marina east of Hanover, PA.
I banged in and out of York, PA after working out a common plan with a helicopter that was practicing autorotations on the runway, and then, just because it was there, I decided to hit a grass strip at Bermudian Valley.

I hadn't landed on grass since my flight instruction 15 years ago, and I'd forgotten how soft yet firm those strips are. No tire screech or bounce--just a soft "thunk!" and you're down and rolling. Grass strips are cool!

I back-taxied and took off again.

So smooth. Did I tell you that grass strips are cool? And yeah, I picked up a lot of bugs on that landing.

Then I went up to Carlisle, PA. This should have been a quick one but there was another Cessna in the pattern and he was flying such a HUGE pattern that I like to have run out of gas or dozed off waiting on him to come around. When he called his crosswind leg, I told him that I'd work in behind him on downwind but then I spotted him and he had to be 2-3 miles out. Seriously? Dude, you just took off. I tend to fly a tight pattern personally, so when this guy held off before making his base turn way, WAY down the road, it was all I could do not to just cut in front of him and dive for the deck. But that would be rude, and besides, I spotted this cool amphibian sitting on the airport grounds so I quit cursing him and used the time to mess with my camera.
In and out of there, and then, because the first one was so cool, I scrounged up another grass strip at Shippenburg and headed over that way.

They may be cool, but they can also be damned hard to spot.
Oh, there it is? Can YOU see it?
I made my calls and dropped in. As I rolled past the ramshackle buildings there, I spotted these two old guys inside one with a nifty Citabria and a Corvette.
(Whew! At least now I was sure that this field was really an airport!) They waved, all friendly like, so I waved back, took their picture, and flew away again.

Next I tagged Franklin County (PA) Airport because it was there.
Then I pointed the nose towards home.

I flew south, got clearance to cut Hagerstown, MD's Delta airspace, and in a few short minutes, I was crossing the Potomac River back into West Virginia.
There's Hagerstown Airport in the distance. Didn't land this time. Been there before and getting tired.

Then it was a smooth landing back at my airport, right past the big guys again.
Three and a half hours flying time, ten airports, four states. Not a bad day at all.

Oh--and I stopped off at the fair on the way home. There were horses.
Horses are cool.
And this last shot is a close-up of a horse's mouth. He bit my lens while I was trying to focus on him.
Bad horse.


  1. Nice! So you are flying to EQY anytime soon? Take you for some down and dirty Southern food for lunch!

  2. @ Keads: Before the snow falls. Planning on it.

  3. What's your fuel burn rate, and what's avgas go for these days?

  4. Great day, and great pics. Nice!

  5. @drjim: I figure on 8GPH for safety's sake, and it runs from $5.50-$7.00 per gallon depending on where you get it.

  6. "Free as a bird." ... [Sigh.]

  7. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Thanks for sharing the cool pictures