Saturday, August 16, 2014

Flying, flying....

Took off under a broken ceiling at 5,000 feet with a bit of haze, aircraft just under gross weight with a reduced fuel load. And the plane was letting me know that it wasn't too happy about it as we climbed up to altitude to cross the first 80 miles of mountains. It has been well cared for but this aircraft turns fifty next year so I pay attention when it responds differently, like it's doing today. We've got a bit of a headwind this trip, as is usual on the western legs, and a fair bit of convective currents coming up off the mountains and down out of the small cumulus clouds that we're skinning the bottoms of.
Here's a nifty old abandoned train bridge north of Paw Paw, West Virginia. I need to go back on the ground and find it.
But after an hour, we're clear of the mountains and over Pennsylvania farm country.
Here's the remains of an old railroad roundhouse at Vanderbuilt, PA. I'd bet that it saw countless old steam engines back in it's day.
Here's a little town called Perryololis, PA. I was struck by the layout of it's town center.
Eight streets run right into that common plaza. Look how they do that.
Then it was over the Monongahela River, and a place with some river towboats in drydock.
What the hell is that?
It's one of the Metife blimps, either Snoopy One or Snoopy Two. And even though he's in my way, being an airship, he's got right-of-way, so I have to change course. But I'll get pictures, so it's good.
And to think that I saw it on over Mulberry Street!

Here's the shuttered Weirton Steel plant in Weirton, WV. Built in 1909, it used to employ thousands of men. Now like many other aged and inefficient steel plants, it sits virtually unused as we import much of our steel from Japan and Europe. Damned shame.
Time for lunch. There's a neat little restaurant at Carroll County, Ohio's Tolson Field(TSO).
Four RVs were in there, too. It's a popular fly-in spot for a burger.
We had lunch on the outdoor patio, then I put a bit more gas in and we were off again.

Heading northwest now, once out from under Pittsburgh's Class B airspace, I let my mom fly for a bit.
And I thought that she was a bad driver on the ground...eek!

Here's another railyard, this time with what appears to be a functional turntable.
Ohio, west of Cleveland, just south of Lake Erie. The high pressure air has come in and pushed the clouds away. Unlimited visibility and silk-smooth air from here on.
And here's Camp Perry, aka, Disneyland for red-blooded American shooters.
Sorry for not being closer, but I'm grabbing some altitude for a crossing of Lake Erie. I want plenty of sky below in case I have to glide for it.
And I crossed the lake, going "feet-dry" again at Monroe, Michigan. There I shot a touch-and-go at Monroe Custer just because it was there, and then flew up to Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti. I just passed overhead there because I had to to get around Detroit's airspace, but the tower guys were nice enough to let me overfly the Yankee Air Museum's outdoor airpark.
Seen above, bottom to top: Boeing B-52, A DeHaviland C-7 Caribou transport, A Martin RB-57 Canberra, and a PB4Y, the single-tailed version of the B-24.
And in a parking lot nearby, a Soviet Antonov An-2 biplane transport (Those things were and still are aviation wonder workhorses worldwide) and an F-101 Voodoo jet fighter.
And upon landing at Plymouth Canton's Metettal Airport(1D2) to drop my mom and The Spud off, I spotted this militarized Piper Cub. Neat, huh?
I cut my passengers loose, them took off again, this time heading east for Detroit City Airport (DET) to pick up Proud Hillbilly. Coming off the runway suddenly much lighter, it took me a minute to adjust to the aircraft's changed handling characteristics and a headwind that was now a tailwind. But before I could go to City, I made my usual orbit of my father's gravesite.
There aren't any vertical markers there but I know right where it is. Miss ya, Pop.

Off to City Airport, this time with a tailwind. Here I am, flying down Six Mile Road at 119 knots over the ground. That's 140mph.
My city, my Detroit. I used to live and work here. And I used to think it was bad then, but it's much, much worse now. What, other than fifty years of corrupt Democrat rule, happened?
Final approach to Runway 33 at City Airport. Best tower controllers I've ever head the pleasure to talk to, every time I'm in here.
City's old terminal, now abandoned. I remember when this was the terminal and tower.
The workhorse gets a drink, more oil, and a clean windshield, all double-checked by me.

Return flight follows.


  1. You should have shot down the balloon/blimp. You could have been the new Frank Luke.

    Check your email for a tracking number. I finally got into town to the post office.

    1. Well I was packing a Walther PPK, one "with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window", per Q. in James Bond's Dr. No. I wonder how much helium 13 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense would let out of that bag? (I figure probably not enough to count.)

      Got the e-mail too. Thanks!

    2. I carry a PPK in the summer sometimes, when it's too hot for a vest. Great minds think alike. Too bad about the blimp escaping, though.

  2. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Thank-you for sharing these beautiful pictures and their story.

  3. Great pics, and glad the trip home went well!

  4. Nice view of Camp Perry! Shot the pistol Nationals last year - nothing like it to be around all those great shooters who are even better as just plain folk.

  5. The bridge pic reminds me of the Clarksburg area where many of GS relatives still live.
    Her siblings live in the Detroit area.
    So there's another connection to this post.
    Thanks for stopping by my place.

  6. Holy cow, those pics are so vivid. What kind of camera are you using? And more so, what do you use to clean your windows????....unbelievable clarity from a plane.

    1. Thanks. The camera is a Nikon L820. I just bought a reconditioned one before this trip. As for the windows...airplane window-cleaning spray, purchased at airplane stuff prices, naturally.

  7. Wow....where to start!

    A Canberra, a Voodoo, and Mom pulling back on the yoke, maybe a bit too much!

    Great pix, and a great story.