There will be more airshow posts following, but Murphy wanted me to post on our return flight home on Monday.
We went out to the airport, accompanied by my mother and The Spud, and we loaded up the plane. After the pre-flight check and the good-byes, I called my father up at home and told him to be out in his back yard for one final bit of airshow. He lives in a subdivision made up of tree-lined streets that all look like every other street for miles from above, but the day before, I'd plotted out some landmarks that I was sure that I could pick out from the air and once I took off, I headed straight for them. Sure enough, I found my way-points and was able to roll in just north of his house so as to be perfectly visible in the clear space over his back-yard fence. I came in low and loud (while observing all applicable FAA regulations as to altitude, or course) and for about two minutes I made passes over his place as he stood in his yard below and waved. Then with one final wing-rocking pass, Murphy and I were off to the east and gone. But we'll be back soon, and that's a promise.
Flying over Detroit, I called up the tower at Detroit City Airport to get clearance through their Class D airspace. City Airport should not be confused with Detroit Metro Airport to the south. Metro is the big dog airport and I was already flying below the floor of their Class B airspace. City's tower promptly cleared me for a flight out to the north end of Belle Isle in the Detroit River, at which point I made a turn and flew south, just enjoying the city skyline.
There's the Ambassador Bridge over the river, and Canada on the other side.
Algomarine. What a sweetie.
Then it's south to the Ambassador Bridge and beyond.
Michigan Central Station. Built in 1913, it was once the tallest train station in the world. It's been empty and stripped longer than I can recall.
And then it was time to climb for the lake crossing. But once across the lake, I set up for a landing at Port Clinton. Murphy, dozing in the back seat, has already figured out that when I pull power to descend, that means that we're getting ready to get out. He sits up, just like other dogs do in cars when you take the cruise control off and begin to slow prior to exiting the highway in your car. He watches over my shoulder as I make descending turns in the pattern and set down on Runway 36. I park the plane, the fuel truck comes out to see if I want gas, (At just $5.80 a gallon, you'd better believe I do!) and I take Murphy out of the plane for a drink.
Once he was satiated, we headed across the field to the new Liberty Aviation Museum. They'd had their B-25 Mitchell bomber at the air show and their crew had invited me to pop in on the way down, so here Murphy and I were, walking into their brand new building as workers are finishing up landscaping and painting outside.
First, we encountered a nice young fellow on the desk who told us that pets aren't allowed in the museum. I replied that we'd just flown in and that I had no place to leave Murphy, and that I just wanted to go into the hangar and see the B-25. "And if it's any help," I told the fellow, "he's really not much of a pet."
Before he could object again, another staffer appeared and asked me if Murphy was a service dog. Now I can't lie, so I admitted that he wasn't, but then the man said: "Wait...he's a German Shepherd, isn't he? That's close enough to World War Two to get him in, I guess." Then I told them that his name was actually Audie Murphy and suddenly everyone was coming up to pet him and fawn over him.
So did Murphy get to see the B-25?
He and I both agree that I need one of these. Granted, the fuel burn of two of these 1700hp Pratt and Whitney R-2600 14-cylinder engines will probably be a bit more than my Cessna's 6-cylinder, 145hp powerplant, but still...
This one has better paint than my Cessna, too. Pilot side:
We took off again, and since we had plenty of gas and no real time-frame to get home, and since the weather was perfect, we hop-scotched various airports on the route home, setting up touch-and-go landings at three others enroute. We hit Ohio's Wayne County airport (BJJ), Jefferson County Airort (2G2), and Washington Co airport (AFJ) in Pennsylvania. I figure that just flying point-to-point isn't really going to make me proficient so I decided to just play and visit a few new strips and simulate a couple of engine-out emergency landings since I had the time. It was much fun, and we still make it back to the home field before dark with five take-offs and landings in 4.4 hours. And Murphy now has 8.3 hours cross-country time in his dog-log. But does he really get credit for time spent dozing in the back seat?