28 August, 2011

Going To The Airshow

Central Oregon during the last week in August generally yields some amazing thunderhead build-ups and the subsequent lightening strikes which makes for interesting flying.
Flying East - towards Mt. Hood
You can see scattered thunderheads in thedistance

We like to go to Madras, Oregon at this time of year which gets us over to the warmer part of the state (lol). The flying season is winding down for those of us who fly open-cockpit biplanes so the Central Oregon Airshow is about the next-to-last airshow. It's also filled with hot cars, people who get flying airplanes, amazing hospitality and good weather.
If you squint - that's Mt. St. Helens in the distance - Sandy area below

WHAT is the name of this lake? Lost Lake? on the north side of Hood.

This year, thunderheads did a giant wham-bang over in the Bend-Redmond area sparking numerous small fires. We woke up Friday to our own thunderstorm in the Willamette Valley. The storm started passing and we were able to take off around 8:30am. We usually go NE towards the gorge, flying up to Hood River and then turning nearly straight south to Madras. The gorge was still socked in, thunderheads were still scattered around and we flew just to the north of Mt. Hood.

We only had a few fat drops of rain hit us but a headwind bringing the heat from Central Oregon kept us warm as we climbed to over 6000 feet to get over the mountains.

 We had forgotten to take our aeronautical map with us and our internal radios were fritzin' out on us so a lot of hand-gestures later, we figured out that Madras was to the east of the giant fire plume. Visibilty was still pretty good but when we left Sunday, it had degenerated to about nothing.
Warm Springs Reservation

We had to taxi to the end of the runway (5000') because we didn't have enough brakes to make the first exit off. As we were approaching the end, the voice over the radio said," Stearman? Are you going to be done with the runway soon? The B-17 would like to land."

Taxiing - missed the short taxi.

So - we are taxiing - finally off the runway when the B-17 touches down.
Just as it is going by and I am about to get the world's best photo here -
we taxi past this tied-down airplane. Whatever.

Madras puts on a great night airshow, incorporating some airplane acts before dusk and finishing with a glider gliding gently down with fireworks. This year, they really got all of the  squirrly electronic noise out of the speakers and the music with the glider was phenomenal.
Was it Vivaldi? Very emotional.
CAF B-25 - as we taxi on by

We are parked and I am getting out of my seat and I managed to get this shot of the B-17
taxiing to it's spot on the tarmac.
You can see the smoke behind him.
The B-17 and the B-25 Bombers are part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF)


One of the originating organizers. Ron Och's N3N (not to be confused with a Stearman)

Next blog post: Leaving with no visibility

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