Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where the Vintage Airplanes are - Sonoma

In my travels I have made it a point to visit what I would call vintage airplane "hot spots."  Airports around the country that are home to large collections of vintage airplanes.  One of those places is Sonoma, California.  I visited Sonoma a couple years back (see here for that trip report and go to the June 2006 Blog archive for all three of the posts) and was blown away at the high quality vintage aircraft that reside there.  The above picture is a Curtiss Jenny based at Schellville.  A recent post on the Plane Talk forum has my aviation photographer friend, Mike Shreeve, posting a nice selection of the fine airplanes from the Sonoma area.  Click on the link below and come along on a tour of the airplanes!  See the post here... Another Fine Day...

Friday, January 21, 2011

AvGas, JetA and Steam

Advances in aviation technology surprise me.  Some days it feels like we should all be flying around in flying cars or spaceships.  Other days I am fascinated by the aircraft that do fly.  Thanks to my friend, Jeff, for sending me a link to this video from the 1930s of a modified Travel Air with a steam engine.  Just think... a good number of general aviation planes could be flying around in the skies today with steam engines!  I wonder if someone will replicate this early biplane and fly on steam again!?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw6NFmcnW-8

Sunday, January 16, 2011

FW190 at Planes of Fame

I must confess that I really am a big fan of these new build FW190s.  What once was absent from the skies now flies again.  No matter what era of aviation, no matter what type of airplane, I love to see types that haven't been seen in the skies return to tell their story again.  Hats off to the organizations, men and the money that they invest in returning these rare aircraft to the air.  What other aircraft types would you like to see fly again?  Lockheed Vega, Northrup Gamma, Northrup P-61, Vultee P-66... who knows!?

Click here to watch a video of the Frasca FW190 take flight in Chino, CA.

Links - Planes of Fame - Frasca International - Flug Werk

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Traveling Light - as in Light Plane

The first couple of times I attended Oshkosh and Sun N Fun I would drive with family or airline in with friends.  When I purchased my Taylorcraft I knew I wanted to jump in and fly to Florida for Sun N Fun.  My friend Jeff Stone was just about to get his pilots license and was up to joining me.  We had an adventurous flight down!  Three days down and two days coming back.  An encounter with some DEA agents, sleeping under the airplane and waking up with frost on the ground... but all in all a safe and fun trip.  That same year I flew to Oshkosh solo in the Taylorcraft and camped out.  When I purchased the Cessna 170 I took it to Sun N Fun and battled weather the whole trip.  But the weather has been more in our favor in making trips to Oshkosh in the 170.  A few friends have made the trip with me but the more memorable trips were made with Mom and Dad along.  There is nothing like sitting at Oshkosh in the shade of your own airplane and watching with show with family and friends.  Good times!

Somewhere in my digital files are my stories of these flying trips in detail.  When I find them I hope to publish them.  In thinking about my flying adventures on this snowy day here in Texas I thought of a trip that I read about my friend Kent Wien took many years ago.  He wrote about it here on Gadling.  Enjoy the read!

Links - Gadling - Kent Wien

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Day in the Life of an Aviation Enthusiast

The alarm clock goes off on his B17 alarm clock with engine noises and machine gun fire.  He sleeps in his favorite worn out airshow t-shirt.  Wipes the sleep from his eyes and walks into the closet.  Checks the date on his airplane wall calendar. Shaves, showers and prepares for work thinking about his favorite airplanes.  Puts on his airplane tie to go to the office or another worn out airplane t-shirt to go turn wrenches at the hangar.  Goes to work in his office with aviation art on the walls and airplane models on the desk.  Or if going to work at the hangar opens his tool box that is covered with aviation stickers and airplane pictures.  Looks thru an aviation magazine over lunch.  Daydreams what it would have been like to race in the 1930s Air Races.  Calls an airport buddy to find out the plan for the weekend flying activities.  Drives out of his way to go by another airport to see any glimpse of an airplane on his way home from the office.  When he pulls in the driveway he can't hardly contain himself as he opens the mailbox to see if there are any new aviation magazines in the mail.  At home after work he looks thru all the channels on tv for airplane related shows before looking at any other shows.  If nothing is on tv switches to the Internet for aviation content.  When tired of sitting in the office chair at the computer  moves to an easy chair that is made from airplane seats. Reads aviation magazines or books from his massive collection that overflows the office and spills over into the garage until he gets hungry.  After dinner calls friends to talk airplanes.  Returns to the internet for more aviation content.  When he about falls out of the chair from exhaustion he stumbles back to the closet to find another airshow t-shirt to sleep in.  Falls into bed but before he turns the light out he grabs the aviation magazine off the night stand and thumbs through a few more pages.  Wakes up at 2am with the magazine on his face, returns it to the night stand and turns out the light.  The next day repeats almost exactly the same until the weekend!