Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Football Hero

Sky came to me last night and asked if he could practice catching the football. Seems like they were playing flag football in PE Class and he wanted to make a catch and score a touchdown.

I readily agreed as I like playing catch, especially with a football and always with my son. We went out and played for about 30 minutes. He was getting tired and I pulled an old trick of my dads out of the book; he could go in after he caught 5 in a row. He made it to 4 twice but dropped the 5th one each time. I had him keep at it and it wasn't long before he caught 5 in a row.

He came floating home from school today. He had caught a pass and scored a touchdown! He scored his teams only points! I was sooooo proud of him.

This is the first thing he has practiced at to get better and it paid off. It's the first time he's been a hero. Now he wants to play catch again. Gotta go!

New license plates...ugh.

I went and got the new license plates from the Department of Nothing-logical (Motor Vehicles) today. I have to say, it wasn't too bad.

First, my wife made sure that I had everything specified in the thoughtful-reminder post card to take with me. This included tax receipts for two years, two inspection certificates, a copy of my childen's birth certificates and a drop of blood to verify that I was a red-blooded American.

Then, after having checked I had the correct size wrenches to takeoff the old plates, I drove down to "The Bureau" (sounds like a TV show). They wanted the old plates for recycling.

I lucked out and found a parking spot without having to drive round and round the parking lot for 30 minutes. I got out of the car with my trusty socket wrench and took off the front plates. I walked around to the back of the car only to discover the locknuts were rounded off (Who did that?) and the wrench wouldn't fit. Crud!

I had two choices. I could go back home and get a pliers to take off the offending rear plate or I could take my chances that the agent wouldn't care. I sucked in my beer gut and went with the latter. I gathered up the ream of paper required quickly checking I had everything, took a deep breath and presented myself to the Bureau.

I had arrived 10 minutes after they opened. I was the 12th person in-line counting the four standing at the open windows at the counter. I figured I had an hour wait...

I was surprised. The line was moving quickly. A couple of folks were there together, so I was only about fifth in the line. Next!

I apprehensively approached the window. I was greeted my a young lady with a disarming smile. "I'm here to renew my plates," I said, thrusting my handful of papers forward to her.

"Oh thanks, you have everything," she said.

"My wife is very efficient," I replied.

"Well, thank her for me. It's $52.xx. Here are your new plates," she said as she took the single old one not even mentioning the one still stuck on the car.

I walked out of there in under fifteen minutes...ecstatic.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fire-breathing Beast!

Bill Milton takes off for home in his chesty Cessna 195 businessliner. The 195's were having their yearly fly-in at Creve Coeur this year. 22 braved the rainshowers and thunderstorms to show up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Culver Cadet

Went up with Ken and Lorraine Morris tonight to take pictures of their freshly-restored 1940 Culver Cadet. Lorraine flew my plane while Ken did the honors in the Culver. What a pretty little airplane!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9/21 Cub Progress - Ironing down the tail tape edges.

Another of those boring tasks that seem to take forever but are critical to being done. I spent most of yesterday and all of today polybrushing the tail and ironing down the tape edges in preparation for the spray coat of polybrush going on later this week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

After a short delay to fix the Camera Ship's trim system, Jasta Flight took off from Creve Coeur about 10:00. See you guys in a little over a week. Fly safe.

Sky in the Fokker D-VII!

Sky gets to sit in the Fokker D-VII owned by the Lafayette Foundation at Creve Coeur airport Sunday. How cool is that!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jasta at Creve Coeur Aerodrome.

It looked like an Aerodrome on the Western Front in 1918 this evening as three World War I German fighter replica's landed for the weekend at Creve Coeur.
Andrew King and two other gentlemen were flying a Fokker Dr.1, a D-VII and a D-VIII. They're on the way to Dayton for the World War I Fly-In held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base held next weekend.
If the weather is good tomorrow, I hope to do some air-to-air of one of these birds as well as ground shots of all of them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still making cable ends

My friend Glenn has been making cable ends for the flying/brace wires for what seems like the past two weeks. He's made a bunch of them. It started out taking him about 45 minutes to do one of the flying wires on the wings. Today, it took him 12, yes 12 minutes to make a tail brace wire. Guess he's gotten better with practice.

Making drain grommet covers.

I spent yesterday and today putting the tapes on the tailfeathers and making drain grommet covers. You talk about tedious. You take the spool from a 2" tape roll, draw around it with a pencil about 600 times and then cut them out one by one. At least I won't have to do that for a while.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little family time.

Went to the park down the street with Little-Boo, Gina-Boo and the doggies today. Everyone had fun out on this nice early-fall day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last day with the Pitcairn.

The Pitcairn in the early-morning mist.

Andrew makes a pass.

Taken yesterday-the Pitcairn leads the Bird.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

200th post! Flying with the Pitcairn.

I was laying on the ground in the morning dew trying to keep my horizon level to get the pictures while the light was still nice. I (careful not to hit my head on the rotor) got up and noticed Andrew King standing near me. We talked for a while and he remarked how he'd like to get the Pitcairn and the (Kinner-powered) Brunner-Winkle Bird biplane parked next to him in a shot together. He went to talk to Tina Thomas, owner of the Bird and I talked with friends.
The next thing I know, he's asking me if I want to go up to take the shots! Yes sir, I do! I don't have a photo-plane though, wasn't expecting to shoot air-to-air up here. No problem, he spends a couple minutes on his phone (man I'd like to have his Rolodex!) and it's all taken care of. Nigel, whose last name I didn't catch and Steve Roth and I are to fly in Ed Lachendro's Piper Clipper (Thanks Ed!). Nigel will have to sit up front for weight and balance purposes. I'll sit in back and take most of my pix thru the (clean!) Plexiglas window. Steve will take care of the flying duties.
We taxi out and have to wait for a few planes to land. Brodhead is having a pancake breakfast this morning and it's a pretty good turnout. All clear and Andrew launches, followed by Tina and then us. The little Clipper climbs slowly to catch up to the two others. A quick fly-by and we're headed southeast, into the mid-morning sun.
We pull into the lead, I hand Nigel his camera and we're both firing away like madmen to shoot the living history just off our wing.
Thanks to Andrew for setting this all up, Tina for going along, Steve for keeping us safe, Ed for lending us his plane, Jim Hammond and Jack Tiffany for restoring and sharing such a beautiful, historic aircraft.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nuthin Prettier-Pitcairn Autogyro @ Brodhead.

Andrew King preflights rotor-head.

Steve Roth and Andrew share a laugh before flying on Friday evening.

Started on the third pull-hand-propping the Kinner engine. Co-owner of the Pitcairn Jim Hammond is a right holding onto wing.

Beautiful sight!
I'm up at the Midwest Antique Airplane Fly-In in Brodhead, Wi this weekend. The highlight of the show for me is seeing Jack Tiffany/Jim Hammond's beautifully restored Pitcairn PA-18 Autogyro up-close and in person and flying.
It was a beautiful late-summer's evening with the sun going down over hayfields when Andrew lifted the Pitcairn off from the grass runway at Brodhead, WI. Andrew flew several patterns over the airport including a couple low-approaches against the setting sun before setting down and putting the aircraft away before the mosquito's became too bad. It was great!
Thanks Andrew and Jim!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I want to Tax your Walrus!

Today has been declared a Holiday in our household with the release of the The Beatles Rock Band. This widely anticipated game has me (and my family) foaming at the mouth to play it. Skyler and I have played the trailers so many times on youtube.com that we had to stop because we couldn't stand the wait any longer.

I preordered the game from Best Buy. I had meant to go to the story about an hour before it opened but due to a story deadline, only got there 5 minutes before it opened. I was relieved to see only seven people standing in line. The guy in front of me actually works there and sold me the preorder. He was there to get some Remastered CD's of them. He again was a big help by telling me just to go to Customer Service as they had the games there. They opened the store, by my watch, a couple minutes early. I walked in and to my surprise and relief, the wasn't a mad rush. In fact, I was the first one at Customer Service. Five minutes later I had the game in hand and was looking at other Beatle stuff. All the employees there are expecting a busy day was well as squirreling away some stuff for themselves. They needn't worry though as this Best Buy has plenty of stock, at least until about 5 PM tonight.

"You won't see me..."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Trying to get home in reduced ceilings and viz.

We headed home at 3:45 and only got 30 miles before being forced to do the proverbial 180-degree turn and land at Bloomfield, IA. The visibility was dropping to the point that I thought we better be on the ground because the Fairchild has no instruments to be tooling around in the clouds. We waited on the ground for 45 minutes. Sky found this mower and decided he'd get a job mowing for gas money. It cleared off a little so we launched and headed straight east to get around the showers and then turned towards the good visibility and home.

Night time at Blakesburg.

Night-time is social hour at Blakesburg. They show an old movie in one of the hangars, the Pilot's Pub opens up to provide libations to the war-stories being told as the airplanes quietly gather dew on their wings in the cool night air.

Hats off to Hv-Vee!

Standing in the food service line at Blakesburg. It's staffed by great folks from the local Hy-Vee and it's in my opinion, they make the fly-in enjoyable for everyone. They're serving from 7 AM til everyone has eaten in the evening, always with smiles on their faces and they have fair prices not the usual gouging that takes place at events like this one.

Sky rides in the Culver Cadet!

Sky and Lorraine taking off in the Culver.

Photo by Skyler "Sureshot" Parsons

Lorraine Morris and Sky after the flight.
After dinner Friday night, we found our friends Ken and Lorraine Morris had come in to Blakesburg bringing their and Ken's dad Gene's matching Culver Cadets. It wasn't long before Lorraine told us they had a photoshoot in the morning and that Sky was welcome to ride along.
The next morning I dropped him at at 8:15 at their planes and then went to get my mom and dad who drove down from Des Moines for a short visit. We saw the Culvers taxiing out and went to the edge of the flightline to watch them go flying.
Lorraine and Sky took off. Ken and a videographer took off followed by the camera ship. They got into formation and I'm sure they got some great photos. Sky was happily snapping thru the window (they don't open in the Culver) and got some killer shots of Ken in his Culver.

Day 2-Blakesburg. Sunrise and Moonset.

I woke up early Saturday morning to see the Sun coming up. I went waling up to get a cup of coffee and say the setting moon over my friends Steve and Tina Thomas's Waco SRE nose. I couldn't let that opportunity get away.

Friday, Sept. 4th - Going to Blakesburg. Where are we going to park?

I took Sky out of school a half-hour early to head up to Blakesburg, IA for the annual Antique Airplane Association Fly-In held each Labor Day weekend. The weather was good, we had a tailwind between 8 to 20 miles an hour pushing us so we made pretty good time. I flew over the field the first time and was amazed to see so many airplanes on-site already. "Where are we gonna park," I asked Skyler. We decided to go around again so I could take some pictures and then land.
We got parked by a couple other Fairchild's and a Gullwing Stinson and tied the airplane down. A quick visit to the registration booth and then we set up the tent. Then we went to have some warm food catered in by the local Hy-Vee. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ron Magos' Cessna 170

Went and flew with Ron Magos in his freshly restored Cessna 170 tonight. It was really smooth if a little hazy. The 170 and the Fairchild match well on speed and we were able to get some good pictures.
Tomorrow I'm heading up to the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In at Blakesburg, Ia. Leaving right after Sky gets out of school. This is a great fly-in with a real everybody welcome type feel to it and we enjoy it immensely. We get to see some really old airplanes fly and hang-out with friends.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Around and Around we go!

My friend Ron Dilliard wanted some pictures of him doing aerobatics in his Bellanca Citabria. After thoroughly briefing for an hour (!) we went up and he did just some basic maneuvers. This spin was the last one I shot. The aiplane almost looks photoshopped, but it's not. I really like the feel of this one.