Yesterday was such a nice day that I was able to get out flying again. Bruce, having nothing better to do and being a glutton for punishment, came along.
The first twenty minutes or so were "interesting" enough that I didn't get any pictures. We were hitting convective currents that had the aircraft bobbing up and down like a yo-yo or suddenly trying to go perpendicular to the horizon without warning. So because both hands were actually needed to fly the aircraft, no pictures got taken until we got down to Front Royal, VA, where those convective currents made for a seriously sporty landing that had Bruce looking just a bit nervous (as in "pulling the grab handle off of the side of the cockpit") but I still managed to get it on the runway and back off again without leaving any parts behind.
Normally I like this sort of challenge and would have stuck around for a few more shots at it, but I've learned over time to be sensitive to the feelings of my passengers, especially since when they barf, it's in my plane.
Here's a nice shot of the Shenandoah River, with Front Royal in the background.
And then, since we were in the neighborhood, we dropped by my friends at Mount Weather. Looks like someone is doing some new construction on-site.
And here's a nifty little secure compound within the overall secure compound that Mt. weather is.
That's a double fence with a clear gravel visibility zone in between them and just one gate on the west side.
Here's another view.
And here's another "compound within a compound" on the east slope.
I love watching this place and speculating. Just wait until I get a better camera.
(Hey Mt. Weather guys--this is what happens when your helicopters mess with G.A. pilots who are just flying past in the unrestricted airspace, minding their own business. Some of us get pissed and/or curious and come back again and again and again.)
Next, it was up the Shenandoah River into West Virginia, where this little blue house surrounded by evergreen trees set off both the "cat" and "liberal" detection alarms.
Sixty degrees out, but still a lot of ice on the water of the quarry below.
And here we are over Harpers Ferry, WV, where the Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac River, sixty miles above Washington, DC.
And across the river to the north, the remains of the Union fortifications built atop Maryland Heights are just visible through the bare trees. Back in the day, they had some mighty big cannon up there that could dominate the town and river junction below, and every last cannon ball, bag of powder and cask of water had to be schlepped 1200 feet up the mountain from the river below. Not exactly a vacation assignment for the troops.
Another Harpers Ferry shot, just to point out all of the sediment in the rivers courtesy of last week's rains and snow melt. Normally, the water here would be almost totally clear.
Here's another train crossing the Potomac at Shepherdstown.
Then it was back into the pattern to land.
Here's two of the new little Boeing C-17 transports (left) with the last two Lockheed C-5a transports that will soon be heading out to retirement at Davis Monthan AFB's boneyard.
Short final for Runway 8. Air's smooth as glass now. I hate to land.