Monday, February 18, 2013

Frag order: Overflight of the special place.

Took the plane up today. Second time since it came out of annual with a clean bill of health other than one vacuum hose.

While waiting to take off, I got to see this uber-cool KCAB Decathlon.

Yeah, I could so go for one of those. Stick and rudder flying and as aerobatic as you wanna get.

The last flight when unrecorded because my camera died, but this time I went up with a new one, and I decided that I would pop over to an interesting training facility in the area and shoot some photos of some neat things that I saw there on the last flight when I accidentally strayed over the place. I won't name this place, but they advertise themselves as a driver's training school for hi-speed driving instruction for government and private contractors and those who want to drive race cars. They do have several really good driving tracks around their complex, including simulated city street and dirt track courses, and they've sure got an awful lot of fancy cars down there, from Crown Vics to Porsches, but looking closely, it's apparent that these folks offer a bit more than that. Think "Triple Canopy" or "Blackwater" type training. God love 'em for it, because there's a need, but that doesn't mean that I can't have some fun playing Francis Gary Powers with them.

Here's my approach to the place. Note the nice race tracks around it. Some of it is even open to the public on some week-ends for racing.

Here's one of the two shooting ranges that they admit to having. I can't fault them for this. They admit to having this one and offering some training on it.They even open it to the public for USPSA and Three GUn matches a few times a year.

Lot of cars, huh? I only caught part of their training fleet in this shot. Those white cars are all Ford Crown Victorias.

More cars, and the range again.

Here we go. Behind some tall fencing, we have helicopters set up for people to practice doing stuff with. It's a CH-47 CH-46, A UH-1, and a CH-53 type. All of these are current military helicopters. Coincidence?

And here's two shots of a small city mock-up that they've built from shipping containers.

The helicopters again.

So what's this little sub-compound? Unless I miss my guess, it's a shoot-house complex, where people train on dynamic entry and room/building clearing.

Looks like more shoot houses to me. Funny these aren't mentioned on the corporate website.

Here's the whole complex, set back from their public race tracks and protected by fences and trees from prying eyes...most of them anyway.

I spy with my little eye...HUMVEEs. Looks like the up-armored versions, too.

Uh-oh...another HUMVEE and an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) truck. Betcha those SUVs are armored all to hell, too. What neat toys they have!

Looking at the shape of this building and it's clearly massive ventilation system, if this isn't an indoor shooting range, I'm a duck.

And here's more outdoor shooting ranges. Looks like a great place to train or just hang out.

Again, not knocking it, because America needs places like this. For that reason, I'm not disclosing who they are or where they're located. But I'm still liable to overfly them every now and again though, just out of curiosity.

On the way back, here's a few random landscape shots--houses down in the woods below, the Shenandoah River,and Harpers Ferry where the Shenandoah flows into the Potomac.

Then it's back home, for a series of practice landings.

The first two landings were atrocious, and the third attempt was merely horrible. But since no parts fell off the plane that I was aware of, I just kept going around the pattern to try again. Eventually Dave, the tower controller, called to ask me if I was going to make a full-stop landing any time soon.
"Eventually," I replied. "But I'm going to keep at this until I get at least three in a row that aren't pathetic."
"Roger that," came the response from the tower. "Be advised that you only have about three hours of daylight left."


Finally I got four landings in a row that I was happy with and I shut it down. But as I taxied in, I couldn't help but recall an old song which just begged for a few new words:

"I think it's gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over now.
The little Cessna's landing like
a red rubber ball."

Apologies to the Cyrkle and Paul Simon.


  1. To me it looks more like a CH-46.

  2. That's an interesting compound, isn't it?

  3. Pretty cool playground :)

  4. I think you're right, Jon.

  5. Watch out for Drones!

  6. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Thank-You for sharing these pictures. They are Great

  7. Excellent pictures Murphy, I would love to play in that playground of that unnamed facility.

  8. Yep, 46... And playground is right...

  9. The 8KCAB is a heck of a lot of fun to fly. With the inverted fuel and oil, aerobatics are easy in it and all things considered, it's not near as hard to land as some T-crafts out there.