21 May, 2011

Flying Home

 SewMamaSew Giveaway - go here.
I am giving away a bunny rabbit.

We just flew home from celebrating all of the May birthdays of our flying friends.
Every May, this large group of flying friends gets together at Grove Airport in Camas, Washington.
One of our friends has just completed his tenth Stearman restoration project. Paint job on this plane is Canadian Air Force with appropriate nose art. Sometime this week it will  be launched upon it's maiden airflight - but not today. Today, we are here to celebrate some serious birthdays - including mine.
Meatballs, smoked salmon, colonel's chicken, fresh fruit trays, 8 different salads, and a groaning dessert table.
I haven't been to this event in a while and for once, the weather was cooperating by not having a downpour so quite a few airplanes flew in to help build the birthday atmosphere. A reunion as well as many people showed up that I hadn't seen in ages.

I finally remembered I had my camera on the way home so here's a little geography lesson:

 The Mighty Columbia River dividing Washington from Oregon. We are flying south from Camas, Washington - oh right - I have a camera in my pocket. Duh.

Same view; but the road down there which is a major landmark on our aviation maps is I-84.
If you squint, between I-84 and the Columbia River  is Troutdale airport.

 The Columbia is receding over the Gresham/Happy Valley area.

Looking south again.

We pass over the Sandy River. We are only about 1000' feet up. Very cloudy, but not rainy and surprisingly, not too bumpy.

Here's my instrument panel. The magnetic compass is centered at top. We are just west of south.
The instruments I look at the most are our altitude indicator- lower left-hand corner --which shows us at just under 1300' - a little higher than I thought.
Over there on the top right is an instrument we monitor in flight but it is most useful when we do our run-up before we lift off. During flight we run about 1750 rpm.
On the top left is our airspeed which generally hovers between 90 and 100 mph. "Low and slow" is what stearmans do best. We utilize VFR which means visual flight rules aka - if you can see, you're good.
On the lower right is the engine and oil temp gauge. Running hot, blowing oil - these are important to note.
And finally in the middle bottom is my 7-day clock. I actually set it today for an accurate cell phone time. I believe I noted in a prior post that ALL of my AT&T bars are in the sky. I can't hear the phone but I can text.
I sit in the front seat and my husband, the pilot, sits in the back cockpit. You can fly from either seat but if you are going solo - only from the rear.

 There's the Clackamas River.

 Close-up of the bend.

 I included this photo (squinty quality) because when we are flying, there are no blinking signs to mark your next exit.  We have a flight map and it shows permanent landmarks like power lines, railroad tracks, major roads, tall items like smokestacks, etc. This is a power line going up that greenspace. You can almost make out the towers.

We are flying over bucolic farmland but the urban sprawl of Clackamas is straight off the wing.

Sometimes golf courses get onto our maps. This is the Mountain view Golf Course just before Damascas.

 And finally- that distinctive bend in the Willamette River - nearly home. On the opposite side is West Linn. The hill is called Pete's Mountain.

One more image of some additional controls in my cockpit. Just forward of my knee is the left brake. There is a battery between my feet and my feet rest on the running boards there. Underneath all that is a fabric airplane.
Knobs on left control the fuel mixture. When you take off you want the mixture richer and when you are flying straight and level, - you lean it out.
I've forgotten what the lever (to the right of the knob)  is for and the handle just above that means our prop is spinning and we have nine cylinders providing some serious energy.

Lots of cable and conduit and oil make up a Stearman Biplane.

It takes just over 30 minutes to fly from our home to Camas. We don't use our maps on this flight as we know the route well including the dozen or so tiny little airstrips along the way. It was really nice to get to fly today because when I left for work today it was raining - well - sprinkling and I was having some bad crap driving thoughts.
I have also had  work cobwebs building up in my brain and flying always blows them away - as well as helping clear out the seasonal allergies.

1 comment:

  1. Just checking back in now that the giveaway is over and I am now officially homesick! I know each of the sights you show here. Can't wait for summer. And you fly? My family will all want to read your blog now. Looking forward to following you!
    (Do you know Molly the Pirate on Etsy? She's the first "homey" I've met there. You're the second!)


I love comments. My heart goes pitter-patter every time there is a new one.