Blue Jay Delivery : 2021-08

I was fortunate enough to ferry a Citabria for a friend of mine I've only met thrice. The first was by phone, the second by chance and the third was when I delivered Blue Jay.  He's a fantastic guy and was one of the best recipients of an aircraft delivery. There's nothing worse than a "ho-hum" recipient. If I just brought you your airplane, "ho-hum" is not appropriate. It separates aircraft owners from aircraft lovers. This recipient was NOT hu-hum! He's an aircraft lover.

Pre-departure shot of Blue Jay

Sellers are always interesting. This seller was rather typical. I hate to say it, but a 'typical' seller may or may not supply anything (oil, fuel dipstick, water, paper towels). This seller actually provided everything except gas. I think he prepositioned the aircraft on three gallons of gas. I did appreciate his sundries (paper towels, water, oil), but did not appreciate his 100% reluctance to add gas. I never appreciate that. They've just sold an airplane and they're kibbling about gas prices. Don't be that seller.

And to the seller's credit, he took a pretty good video of the departure...

Departing Lamar MO (KLLU) with a whopping 100 HP.

Blue Jay at her half-way point, Kennett Memorial Airport, MO (KTKX)

Blue Jay arriving Barwick Lafayette Airport, GA (9A5)
Although it was GA and August, it was a surprisingly nice arrival. A storm had just passed, there was shade (clouds) and it was significantly cooler. I couldn't've asked for nicer conditions.

I mentioned a storm had just passed. This is my track. While it looks like I fly towards cells, I don't. I do my best to avoid them. However, I will say a picture like this gets lots of attention from ATC (air traffic control). That attention can be very helpful. I was essentially hand-delivered into 9A5. I love that.

And this...great pic. It has the name of someone close and the sky was great. Flying is Great!

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Baton Rouge Out-n-Back : 2021-08

Flew an out-n-back to Baton Rouge. It was almost a 14-hour trek and super hot, but it was a great trip. We took a C182 and the mission was to get to a business meeting. It all went off without a hitch. The routing was KFLY-KPVJ-KBTR with the return trip of KBTR-KCTK-KFLY.

The FBO at Pauls Valley (KPVJ) was a cool building (above, left). I love the surprises of FBOs. You just never know what you'll see. The surreal thing about KPVJ was there was absolutely nothing there - including other airplanes.

This was a shot of the Skylane turned out cool. The weeds in the cracks were about the same size as the plane. If you imagine it's 99 degrees, you will have the correct picture.

Speaking of FBOs, the Jet Center at KBTR was very impressive. Not only was it a cool building, everything they had inside was free. Love that.

The lobby of the KBTR Jet Center.

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Alaska : 2021-08

I flew to Alaska and had enough time to do some exploring. Based on recommendations, I rented a bike and rode the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. It's an eleven-mile route around parts of the international airport. If you don't return the same way, you can continue all the way around the airport. That's the option I took because I wanted to see the Lake Hood Seaplane Base. For the rental, I used Downtown Bicycle Rental (also a recommendation). They were sufficient. They'll give you a map and a quick brief for the trail if you're willing to wait.

Part of the trail is just beyond the departure end of Anchorage's airport.
Always cool to see big jets this close.

I thought this was a pretty Alaska-esque shot.

The trail had some really pretty sections. I wish I could've filmed more of it but biking one-handed isn't the easiest thing to do. If you're in the area, I would also recommend this bike ride. For the rental, Downtown works and they're close to the beginning of the trail.

This was the bike I used. A Niner.

Finally, I was glad I stopped by Lake Hood Seaplane Base. So many cool airplanes to see - both on floats and on wheels. There is also a strip for those not on floats. Cool place.

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USS Midway : 2021-07

Thanks to a layover in San Diego, I was able to finally visit the USS Midway Museum. People often talk about it so it was kind of a 'must-do', but I'd never had the time to visit.

A nose of the A-4 Skyhawk and my ticket and brochure. A little steep on the price, IMO. To their credit, it is free for active duty - which is cool. Had to take a shot of the A-4. It's a Skyhawk and I tend to fly those quite regularly. The Skyhawk without a jet.

Who doesn't like machine guns and rockets? This is the left side of a Iroquois (UH-1) gunship. Aside from the armament, the pilots of these birds were incredible. They did things with these helicopters that would many any jaw drop.

Here's a Vought F-8 Crusader. It's a pretty cool nose, but I also took the picture because it has a variable incidence wing. It's a bit ridiculous when you see it (the entire wing tilts up), but the concept makes sense. It gave the jet more AOA (angle of attack) without raising the nose. That means "the plane did not take off and land extremely nose up, which was a characteristic of swept and low aspect ratio winged fighters" (wiki).

Would I recommend this museum? Not sure. If you're active duty - absolutely! It's free. If I had more time, it probably would've been a much better value - you can visit much more than I did. It's always great to see air machines but it's pricey. To their defense, it is California (expensive) and they had restoration crews on the deck. In other words, they recognize the aircraft aren't looking that great. I appreciate that effort. So in the end, I would say you should go. It's nice to walk around on a carrier's flight deck and the docents will talk to you as long as you want - about anything.

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Mooney Move : 2021-07

I was fortunate enough to get another ferry job by word-of-mouth. An owner of a previous ferry aircraft hooked me up with another one. This time it was a Mooney M20F (which I hadn't flown before). I really dig the ferries with aircraft I haven't flown. It's great for overall experience.

This is the M20F, N9723M. Pretty sweet paint job and flies just like a Mooney.

Here's the route. Pickup at 18MO (Gimlin), which is a private field with houses. That was a first. Since the day was running out, I swung up to Kearney to see the parents. It pulled the route north but not by much and I didn't want to fly very long in the dark. I've flown so much at night I would say my quota is full. Also, in a single-engine airplane, I like to see where I need to set down if I have engine issues. First stop was only 40 miles away (Monett, KHFJ) to get fuel. Everything takes longer when you're getting rained on, racing the sun, and on your first flight in a new airplane. Kearney (KEAR), is a must-do anytime it's near my route. My parents are just minutes away. Stayed the night and used almost all of Saturday to finish the flight. Third stop, Rawlins, WY (KRWL). Great FBO personality, great service, and nice (but wavy) runway. Next stop, Twin Falls, ID (KTWF). First time in Idaho and it was a great airfield. Very nice, long runway with a great FBO. Drove through a rain shower just prior witch was surprisingly rough. Final stop was the delivery - Medford (KMFR). This leg was, let's say, challenging. The smoke from the Oregon fires made the visibility horrible and there were giant TFRs to avoid. The bonus was it was incredibly rough. I by no means mind a rough ride (in fact I kind of like it), but I will admit I slowed the airplane down and looked at the airframe more than once. I.e., it was rough.

Some admin. They say, 'always sump your fuel'. I'm glad I did. The right tank of this airplane had some serious water issues. I sumped after each refueling and drained multiple vials of water. The picture above is the last sump I took and the water looked like rust. Prior sumps were clear water, but never a different color. Always sump your tanks!

How'd I get back? With amazing airpower like that shown above. So much faster than a single-engine, piston aircraft. Is it better? No, just different. They're both great.

This was a great ferry - longer than half the country and in an airframe I hadn't flown. Flying is great!

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Telluride : 2021-07

Thanks to the power of word-of-mouth, I've met a pilot with a C182R (retract) and we get to fly wherever he wants. One of the destinations is Telluride, CO (KTEX). Side note, no one should name themselves "KTEX" if they have nothing to do with Texas. He has property there and wants to get familiar with the ins and outs. It is a fantastic airfield but the arrival/departure can be a bit sketchy. Once you get there, the town is epic.

Here's an aerial shot of the runway.

This is what it looks like on final. It's basically picture perfect.

Incredible lunch and great moss scenes.

Even the buildings add to the ambiance.

This was a great trip (long, but great) and I look forward to doing it again.

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Airpower of all kinds : 2021-07

 Here are some great pics of airpower at its finest...

Every time I walk around a 737, I can't believe how big it is. My previous jet was about 32' x 32'. This jet (in the new livery) is well beyond those dimensions and the tail is huge.

Not a jet, but still able to get to Leadville, Sweet Pea is on the left. A 737 Max engine shining in the sunset is on the right. It is so shiny because it's new. It's a great aircraft.

And finally, the absolute best aircraft ever. Birds never worry about annuals or crosswinds. These babies will soon become barn swallows which can out maneuver anything. Minus a dragonfly (not certain).
And just a day later.

And just another day later...full up birds.

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Hartford CT : 2021-06

To my recollection, I've never been in Connecticut, so making the capital the first stop seemed fitting. I had to look up the airport since KBDL didn't make much sense (unless you know its Bradley International). We had a nice layover which gave me time to do some exploring. It was a beautiful day and conveniently, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was just a few blocks away. It's always cool to get a nice surprise and the Wadsworth certainly surprised me with a very nice and large collection.  Here are some items of interest...

Albert Bloch, Cityscape, 1911 // Edvard Munch, Aasgaardstrand, 1904.
There is nothing particularly impressive about Cityscape, but I have grown to appreciate boldness and lack of detail in paintings. For me, the cool thing about Munch's Aasgaardstrand, is that it's the smae place where he painted The Scream.

Max Ernst, Europe after the Rain II, 1940-42. This is a painting you have to see in person because of the detail and technique. Ernst used decalcomania which is pressing paint into the canvas with glass or another smooth service.

Orazio Andreoni, Pereat (Let him Perish), 1892 // Henri-Paul Motte, The Trojan Horse, 1874. The two ladies giving the 'thumbs down' is classic. You can't really see their faces, but they're full of distain. Although painted almost 150 years ago, The Trojan Horse (to me) is perfect. The lighting, the contrast, and the story behind the painting are captured so well.

Hedda Sterne, New York No 1, 1957 // Franz Kline, Painting, 1952
New York No 1 was a hard painting to grasp because it's fuzzy - on purpose of course - and actually a great technique. Your eyes want to focus, but they can't. It's painted fuzzy. Painting was unique in that Kline painted it out of a gallon can of paint house using a normal (house) painting brush.

Morris Louis, Impending, 1959 // Duane Hanson, Sunbather, 1971
Louis stumbled across this technique after spilling thinned paint on a canvas. On the other hand, Hanson knew he created incredibly life-like works, but that wasn't really his goal. Rather, he wanted to focus on aimless workers, bloated consumers and neglected senior citizens.

Francisco de Goya, Gossiping Women, c 1792-96
Goya has done some amazing work. This painting shows his great use of contrast and also displays his brilliance in capturing humans in their normal environment - that of life. Women gossiping...might be real.

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, The Last Supper, 1750s // Salvator Rosa, Lucrezia as Poetry, 1641

Other than Da Vinci's Last Supper, this is the best Last Supper I've seen. In fact, if it wasn't for Da Vinci, it might be the best. Rosa's paintings are great. Aside from being 380 years old, it captures human emotions as well as any painting can.

 William Merritt Chase, Boy Smoking, 1875 // John Singer SargentRuth Sears Bacon, 1887

The building itself and me in front of it.

This was the incredible jet we took to Hartford.  Amazing airpower.

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