October 29, 2007

Waco and Lockheed Flyin - Chino

October 18th thru the 21st.

On Thursday
when the flight took off from DFW the skies were clear blue and the visibility was unlimited. The Dallas skyline showed crystal clear. I knew the flight might be a fun one when as we boarded the airplane I noticed that the Capt had a rubber chicken stuck in the windshield wiper on the MD80! It didn’t take long and the Capt was making jokes on the PA and offering a bottle of liquid refreshment to whoever could announce the most popular attraction at Disney World! Crazy pilot. Once we were up and cruising I pulled out the ipod to listen to some new music from Mainstay and Rush of Fools. The older couple sitting next to me also settled in and even pulled out their ipods! Guess everyone is gearing up with ipods! It was hard to hold back a laugh as the lady scrolled down to The Backstreet Boys as her choice of tunes for the flight! While flying along I noticed the highest mountain tops all had snow on them. Must have been a little cooler in CO than in TX. About the time I was dozing off the Capt pointed out that we were over the famous meteor crater in AZ. Off to the North I could just make out the Grand Canyon. Again... clear skies and a smooth ride all the way to CA.

I always am amazed at people’s impatience with air travel. They get irritated in the boarding lines... roll their eyes while waiting for other passengers to take their seats... and then rush off the airplane to go wait for their bags. Once they have their bags that almost knock you over to get out to the shuttle to the rent cars only to get mad waiting in another line. This fast paced world really should SLOW down! Me... well... I think back to the days when people dressed up for a travel "event" as they flew coast to coast and it took all day! On the East coast people board a vintage airliner... flew all day and only made it a third of the way across the country. Then board a train to ride all night only to wake up in the morning at a train stop near an airport where they would board another vintage airliner to fly the remainder of the trip to the West coast. I have a feeling those travelers were a little more patient than the airline travelers of today!

After grabbing the rent car (a HOT red Ford Focus with only 5 miles on it... yehaw!) I made the quick dash to the hotel to check in. Flying into Ontario airport is really easy. Rent car is just down the road... hotels are just minutes away and the Chino airport where the flyin is being held is 10 minutes away. My friend Les was finishing the set up at his new hangar when I pulled up. Only a few airplanes have arrived. We snacked on some food and jumped into introductions. This small event is attracting people from New Zealand, France, Canada and all over the US! So I chatted with a few gentlemen from Canada as the sunset over the hangars. The lights in the valley to the south started shimmering in the night as the glow of the sunset highlighted the edged of the mountains. A few of us stood on the ramp looking at the sight in silence. It is looking like the weather will hold out for a great flying event.

Friday morning I was in no hurry to rush out the door.... this WAS vacation! The drive down from the hotel in Ontario to Chino is only about ten minutes. One way you know you are getting close to the Chino airport is the smell. There are still quite a few feed lots around the airport full of dairy cows.

I arrived at the hangar and jumped into introducing myself to the airplane owners that were in attendance. This flyin was meant for Waco biplane and Lockheed twin owners. Participation was low with only one Lockheed 12 flying in from CA, two others are based on the field, for a total of three. As for Waco's there were only seven total, with two based at the field. My friend Les did a great job of hosting the event and had scheduled options for attendees to choose their daily itinerary. I spent some time listening to the Lockheed 12 owners share their flying adventures with their machines. One owner from Canada just purchased his airplane from a collector in South Carolina. He is now restoring the airplane and has his mechanics working on it full time in hopes of flying it next summer. Two other owners airlined in from New Zealand and Australia!

A small group of us decided to visit one of the museums on the airport and made our way to the other side of the field. Yanks Air Museum owns a large collection of vintage aircraft that includes a freshly restored Lockheed 12. It didn’t take us long to find it in their hangar for close inspection. On my last trip to Chino in May I took quite a few pictures. The aircraft are displayed a little differently now after having a new hangar built. We concluded our own tours of the museum and made our way back to Les's hangar for lunch.

The hangar has an amazing outdoor grill so lunch was hot off the grill! The remainder of the afternoon was spent watching aircraft arrivals and hangar flying. I ended up leaving the airport mid-afternoon to catch up with a friend in Pasadena.

Saturday morning I arrived at the airport a little earlier so I could take a few pictures. Les flew his Lockheed 12 for a morning photo mission so I was able to take a few shots of his return. Today was the day for an outing to the famous Flabob airport in Riverside. A few Waco owners made the flight over while the rest of us drove. Flabob is set down in between some small mountains which made for scenic pictures.

Palm trees, mountains and vintage airplanes... a setting I don’t have many pictures of! The airport cafe was full of pictures of famous California aviators and made for great conversation starters during lunch. After the meal I walked around the field with a friend that I made thru an aviation forum online, Mike. Mike is from England but lives in the San Francisco area and is an amazing photographer. I have used a few of his shots on my blog before. Anyway... we ducked in and out of a few hangars to see what types of aircraft are based at Flabob. We found two unique projects in a French Caudron which is a replica of a famous racing airplane and in another hangar found a Wright Flyer replica going together. Before we drove back to Chino we were able to shoot a few pictures of the Waco’s that departed.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon around Chino taking more pictures, walking around the hangars to find more vintage airplanes and visiting with the flyin guests. The evening banquet was highlighted by the director of the film One Six Right speaking about the making of the movie. That topped off another fun aviation event out in Chino.

Sunday before catching the flight home I had time in the morning to drive around. So I found on the map that I wasn’t too far from Cable Airport. I had heard stories of Cable being the base to more vintage aircraft so I made my way down the old Route 66 to the airport. Found a few rare airplanes out on the ramp. After lunch I caught my afternoon flight out of Ontario for home.

So it was worth it to make the trip to make new friends and be able to photograph the airplanes in the bright sunshine. My Chino pictures are here... and the Cable pictures are here.

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