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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Airpower : 2021-06

 Airplanes and airpower are amazing. I just had to post these two pics because the airplanes are incredible. The first one took me into KBDL, and the second, out into KIAD.

N75428 is a beautiful 900ER.

N23708 is as fast as she looks. 737-700 standard.

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CSIP Complete : 2021-05

After a week and a big bill, I garnered my CSIP qualification. CSIP is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot. I wanted to get it so I could help Cirrus pilots get the training needed to begin using their aircraft. They're also very capable aircraft and there's always value in learning new equipment. The training was well done and we flew brand new aircraft. On top of that, the scenery was hard to beat. Flew in and around airfields nestled in the Smoky Mountains.

The first bird I flew - she was made in January of 2021. Belle is a '79.

Although the airplanes are made in Duluth, Cirrus training is now in Knoxville TN, which seems like a nice city. The pic (above, left) is on the former fairgrounds of the 1982 World's Fair hosted in Knoxville. The badge was given upon arrival which seemed a bit like the cart before the horse. I would have preferred to get it after I passed. Or had it read, "Possible CSIP" - that would've worked. And some of the beautiful fields we were able to use...

Gatlinburg, TN (KGKT).

Jackson County, NC (24A) and Macon County, NC (1A5).  Epic.

First Knoxville salad - was great!

Overall, it was a great week and I'm glad I took the training. Hopefully, it will prove fruitful.

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Why I Love Airfields 22 : 2021-05

So were doing an out-n-back to Telluride. Unfortunately, we didn't land because the winds were a bit out of control.  We saw the airfield so there was some value in gaining situational awareness. Also, we were able to do some excellent ridge crossings and hone our skills at reading the mountains - including passes I hadn't used - priceless experience.

We took the south route around Telluride to avoid some weather.  The route passes near Pagosa Springs (KPSO) and Astronaut Kent (KRCV).  Astronaut Kent? The full name is Del Norte - Astronaut Kent Rominger Airport. There was no way I was going to say "Del Norte" on the radio. Not with a name like Astronaut Kent.

And this is why I love airfields. You never know what you'll see and you can't make it up. This airfield was unattended but had one of the coolest FBOs I've seen.  Maybe a 40'x 40' building (totally open), with a kitchenette, a great bathroom (with shower), cookies on the table, a guest book, and food in the fridge! But then you look outside and couldn't paint a better picture. I'm sure Astronaut Kent has nothing to do with the landscape, but it sure does match.

The hillscape was incredible.  As was the sky.

You can't make this up.

Taking Runway 6 to depart for Hayden Pass.

Pictures seldom do justice to reality, but if you see pictures like this, you can only imagine how it looked in real life! It looked amazing. As a side note, if you want to practice some challenging traffic patterns (with obstacles)…go here!

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Why I Love Airfields 21 : 2021-05

One of my favorite reasons to love airfields...you can't make this type of scenery up! It's bold, it beckons you while calling you back, often beyond belief and makes a permanent impression on your soul.

This is Sweet Pea atop the highest airport in North America - Leadville.

It really is a Rocky Mountain high.

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Summer Trough : 2021-05

Summer trough is back! If you've read my blog you know I eat from the "trough" which is essentially a supreme salad without the lettuce. It's somewhat controversial. However, since we know lettuce provides no nutritional value, we should acknowledge all it really does is throw dressing on your clothes. The difference between summer and winter trough is if it's heated or eaten cold. The enduring theme in both is vinegar. Check this shot of the first summer (cold) trough of 2021...

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Mooney Move: 2021-05

I enjoy ferrying aircraft or picking them up with their new owner.  My latest adventure was getting a Mooney from Terrell TX (KTRL) to Colorado Springs CO (KCOS).  We flew commercial into DFW and the new owner's dad drove us to Terrell.  They aircraft was a 1961 M20B.  The earliest I'd flow was an M20E so I was excited to see what it was all about.

With any ferry flight (and/or purchase) there's always some admin and last-minute details.  On this particular day, the weather wasn't really cooperating so there was a bit more time for 'admin'.  I had to take this picture of the previous owner and the new owner's dad checking things out.

The only way to get out of Terrell was to file IFR and push north to better weather.  We didn't want to stay overnight as the weather was supposed to be worse.  It was good for me as I hadn't filed IFR for awhile, but not so great in an airplane you've never used.  It worked out and we saw some epic skies.

We made it.  Clear skies and perfect temperatures in Wiley Post OK (KWPA).  We used Atlantic as our FBO and they treated us very well.  The Mooney was solid and took us to OK with no problems.

Departing Wiley Post was a bit ironic.  The weather was the same as we'd left in Terrell and Terrell was VFR.  So again, we departed IFR to expected better weather.  We filed to Woodward (KWWR), entered great weather and found a cool FBO.  It's an old Army Airfield so they have the classic triangle layout but only use two sides of the triangle.  The FBO is show on the left above and the Mooney having the airport to itself is on the right.  This is why I love airports and flying.  You never know what you'll encounter.

This is the same picture as earlier, but I had to show that sky.  Amazing!

We then hopped to Liberal KS (KLBL), Lamar (KLAA) and finally to the Mooney's new home of Colorado Springs (KCOS).  We made a multiple stops so the new owner could get familiar with bringing the plane into traffic patterns while seeing different airport configurations and runway sizes.  To our amazement, we parked next to another Mooney in Lamar!  I'm going to guess an M20B has never set next to an M20C in Lamar's history.  At first we thought it was another M20B, but the back window is noticeable different.  Aside from that are essentially identical.  Like I said, you never know what you'll see at an airport/FBO. 

It was a great trip and the new owner was very happy with the training he received.  Winning!

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Why I Love Airfields 20 : 2021-04

I know I've said it before, but one of the greatest things of general aviation is the variety of FBOs you'll encounter.  Or the people you may or may not meet.

This is Trinidad (KTAD).  Great building zero people, but not really accessible.  My copilot made me a breakfast burrito and we ate them on one of their picnic benches. Great moment. The right-center window reads "AIRPORT".  Classic.

This white-brick building is Raton's (KRTN) FBO. On the topic of "what do I call this place", I use the 'public knowledge' answer.  This is Raton but technically, Raton Municipal Airport/Crews Field. I will never say "Crews Field".  Never.  It's "Raton traffic"... Let's use Leadville as another example.  It's the highest field in North America, and known as Leadville.  If anyone thinks I'll say "Lake County", they will be surprised.  Regardless, this was an excellent FBO with a cool building and great views. Beyond all of that, they will make you a hamburger.  And it is NOT a 'take from the warmer burger', it is a burger made by someone who cares.  It was fantastic!

Cameras never really capture the moment.  This was a shot across from Coppertop's tail trying to show the landscape.  In person, it was very cool. Taken at Trinidad.

This was another shot trying to show the unique landscape at Trinidad.  The mountains, hills, and mesas are much better in person. Point being, go there yourself, take in the landscape, and get a free burger!

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