Thursday, August 07, 2014

Up, up and away!

So this morning, I turned the Lair and it's canine denizens over to the house/dog sitter, gathered up Proud Hillbilly, and flew off to the northwest. We both have family up in the Detroit area so it made sense to travel up together to visit them.

The flight usually goes as smooth as pie, but this time, the gremlins came out right after take-off. First I lost my airspeed indicator, and then, despite talking to my departure airport on both radios without difficulty, I noticed after a bit that it was suspiciously quiet out over the mountains, even for a week-day. The intercom between us was working, but I couldn't hear any other traffic, not even AWOS or ASOS broadcasts. So I set down at the closest airport that looked like it had a shop--the Joseph A. Hardy Airport in Connellsville, PA--and enlisted the help of the field mechanic to troubleshoot the problems. Fortunately he was willing to help me out despite having a plane up on jacks in his hangar already, and it took us about ten minutes to trace down a loose plug on the radio where the headset jacks linked in. I was broadcasting just fine, but I couldn't hear anything until we found and fixed that. The airspeed indicator came back right and proper after a bit of pitot tube probing with a length of wire; something probably got lodged in there on take-off because it's never been the least bit troublesome before. So we were back on course, albeit running even later than we had been.

A windmill ridge, west of Cumberland, MD.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania: Cool quarry with a massive portal to what is probably a fascinating underground space.

Here's a towboat on the Monongahela River.

Interesting old building complex in Fremont, OH.

Bridges across the Maumee River, south of Toledo.

Maumee River in Toledo, looking out onto Lake Erie.
Back in 1835-36, the State of Ohio and Michigan Territory staged a nearly bloodless war over the strip of land between this river and the present-day Michigan border. Ohio was granted the land by President Andrew Jackson (likely because Ohio was a state and had voting delegates and Michigan, a territory, did not) and Michigan was given the Upper Peninsula as a "consolation prize". My take is that Michigan actually won, both because Ohio had to keep that worthless chunk of Toledo and because the Upper Peninsula was soon discovered to be rich in timber, iron and copper. Suck on that, Ohio!

Here's downtown Toledo, and the stadium where their famous minor-league team plays. Anyone care to guess the team?
That's right, M*A*S*H fans--the Toledo Mudhens!

I shot landings at both Toledo Express Airport and Suburban Toledo Airport (actually in Michigan, just across the border) and then it was north towards our destination airport, with just a quick flight over Willow Run Airport, location for an airshow this week-end. (Coincidence? NOT!!!)

Look--A C-17 is already there.

And here's a B-24 Liberator and a Beechcraft AT-11 bomber.

Let's zoom in a bit on that B-24, "Diamond Lil", of the Commemorative Air Force.
Look, Ma--no top turret!

And last but not least, a lone two-seat F-16 belonging to the Thunderbirds is already there.
The rest of the team will be in this week-end.

A few minutes later, we were on the ground and the day's fun was done. It wasn't my quickest flight, at almost 4.5 hours, but it beats driving or waiting around at the commercial airports for TSA to feel you up while anything valuable gets swiped out of your luggage. Plus, PH and I both flew armed so muslim terrorists with bombs in their underwear were no threat to this aircraft.

It was a good day.

16 comments:

  1. That was a good trip. Do you ever just go up on a weekend and just drop in on airfields you've never been to, just for coffee and to see what the FBO is like?

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    1. Whenever I can. My goal is to hit as many different airports as I can, hence the list on the bottom of the left side of the page. Even if only for a touch-and-go, I need to put wheels on as many runways as I can.

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  2. You always have the best pix. :)

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    1. Thank you, sir. Coming from you, that means something..

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  3. Y'all have fun! Sigh.... Glad I saw this. I was gonna call ya about AR uppers tonight. So PH you will fly with this guy =)

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    1. So call. I never mind a call from you, esp. About gun stuff.

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  4. Sounds like fun, (once you got it fixed).

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    1. Yep. Radios are a must-have, and so is the airspeed indicator. No fix woul have meant a trip to a more advanced shop or a return home. But once fixed, life was good.

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  5. I've actually got a Mudhens pennant--my dad was from NW Ohio and the family went to a game back when.

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  6. "PH and I both flew armed so muslim terrorists with bombs in their underwear were no threat to this aircraft." What!!??! No terrorists, no underwear bombs.....how boring.

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  7. Now that underground portal intrigues me...

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  8. Enjoy the trip, and y'all have fun!!!

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  9. Sounds like a great trip! Have fun and stay safe! (and give my regards to PH)

    gfa

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  10. I watched the movie mentioned at the end of this Wikipedia article. It was mostly forgettable except for the B24 and Brooke Langton:

    40-2366 Diamond Lil (formerly Ol' 927) - Commemorative Air Force (B-24/B-29 Squadron) in Addison, Texas This B-24 is number 18 off the assembly line, and is one of a handful of surviving early-war aircraft.[10][11] Most notable about this aircraft is that it is the only surviving "A" model of the B-24, as the "A" was critically under-armed and under-armored. From the Commemorative Air Force's page on Diamond Lil, "On a training flight from Eagles Nest Airport, N.M., prior to its delivery to England, AM-927 experienced a landing accident. The damage was major enough that the aircraft had to be returned to San Diego for repairs. The plane was deleted from the order to be shipped to England and was converted to a transport aircraft. This was to be the prototype for the C-87 transport and AM-927 served as a flying test bed for further development of important B-24 features, such as modifying the control surfaces to help with lighter control forces for the pilots. For this reason, Diamond Lil was spared from the slaughter in Europe. In 1971, she was painted in the colors of the 98th BG and given the name Diamond Lil. During 2006-2007 the aircraft was reconfigured back to her B-24A/LB-30B roots and was given the Ol 927 nose art. In April of 2012, she was renamed back to Diamond Lil. The aircraft was involved in a nose-gear collapse upon landing at Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina on 26 May, 2012. Damage was minimal and none of the 16 aboard were injured.[12] She was featured in the film Beautiful Dreamer (2006 film).

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  11. Thank you for keeping the terrorists at bay! Pretty pics.

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