Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Good Day to Fly.

Because Monday was a nice day, and because I hadn't flown in a few weeks, I decided to take advantage of the day and exercise the airplane. (click on any picture to enlarge.)
Today's impromptu flight plan has us flying out over the mountain ridges to the northwest.
Here's Sleepy Creek Lake, in the middle of the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Area.
Used to be a nice shooting range down there, but the yahoos and bubbas who kept bringing out household trash to shoot up (and leaving it behind) coupled with the fools that kept putting their targets on top of the backstop berms instead of in front of them, causing rounds to leave the range area, eventually managed to get it shut down. This is proof once more that unless we police ourselves, the stupid among us will cause us more harm than the most dedicated anti-gunners can.

Down below is Route 522, Valley Road, heading up to Berkeley Springs.

Over a couple more ridges and we find ourselves above downtown Paw Paw, WV at 4,000 feet.

And here's the train tunnel that cuts through the ridges as it tries to go straight across the meandering bed of the Potomac.

Following the Potomac roughly southwest from here brings me over FCI Cumberland, a federal prison nestled here in western Maryland. It's a medium security place with a lower security camp next door.
Per it's wikipedia page, it currently hosts former Green Beret doctor and convicted murderer Jeffrey McDonald, Actor Michael Douglas' drug-addled son Cameron Douglas, and anti-government whack-job Ed Brown. But it's kind of chilly outside today, so it looks like they're all inside watching TV.


Heading north a bit, I cross over the grass airport at Mexico Farms, just south of the main Cumberland regional airport.
I didn't land there this time, but looking at the picture, I sure wish I had. I love grass strips and that's a pretty nice one.


And there's Cumberland, MD, with it's regional airport, my first stop, in the foreground. I'm setting up a left downwind approach to runway 23 now. Winds light and variable.

Just north of the airport is the big CSX rail yard, formerly part of the Baltimore and Ohio system.

I see trains moving around.

"Cumberland Traffic, Super-cool Cessna is left base, Runway 23. Cumberland."
I shot a quick touch-and-go, settling down so smoothly that it took a second to realize that I was on the runway. I love this cold, dense air for flying. Then it was off again and a couple of right turns brought me right up the north branch of the Potomac again.
I cross another section of the rail yard, and spot this roundhouse turntable below.
And here's downtown Cumberland, with a shot of the river valley coming in from the west.

I head north for a while, and play over western Maryland and Pennsylvania for a bit, then I head back east, crossing over Interstate 68's Sideling Cut, a massive 340ft. deep chop through the mountain ridge that was man-made to allow passage of the highway.

And here's downtown Hancock, MD on the north side of the Potomac as I set up a left base approach to Runway 11 at their little airport just south of the river.
Around, down, in and out. I shoot a touch-and-go and follow the runway heading east along the Potomac after take-off. My GPS terrain warning alarm is going nuts as the airport sits below a parallel ridge. Does it think that I can't see the big tree-covered hill right outside my right side windows?
A bit more meandering and playtime, and I find myself back at my home field again. A smooth landing and another two flight hours (with three landings) goes in the logbook. I heart my plane.

14 comments:

  1. I notice that your posts about flying, with the photos, makes it feel more & more as if I were riding shotgun. Thank you for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well come down and visit and we'll make it happen, real-time.

      Delete
  2. I "jealous" your plane.

    Ditto what the Rev said. It's as close as I get these days, except for the Stearman doing acro over the house yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same applies. Come visit. It doesn't go supersonic or climb very high/fast, but it's flight.

      Delete
  3. Very nice! And cold/dense IS great flying... :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. Better climb rate, smoother descent, engine makes more power. what's not to like?

      Delete
  4. Great pics! Was that the range we went to when we first met?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naw, they shut Sleepy Creek down before you ever came up here. I think you and I first went to Izak Walton, and they're still in business.

      Delete
  5. Great pictures.
    The scary part is the stupid breed and vote.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's a nice way to spend a day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Murphy,

    Great way to spend the day....Cruising around.....Did you take the hamsters with you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not this time...not unless you count all the dog hair that they've left in the back seat from previous hops.

      Delete
  8. Have you ever seen the Western Maryland RR on one of its steam runs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not, but I would sure love to.

      Delete