Archive for the 'aviation' Category

Rainbow One Overflight

Rainbow One

I took this (clickable) image of an ultralight aircraft as it passed over our area today. I took another shot when it was abeam our house as it flew west to east seemingly tracking US 60 a quarter mile south of here.

When I was looking at the pictures I had taken, I noticed that the pilot was not wearing a helmet, which, in my opinion, might be unwise when flying one of those. The thing doesn’t move very fast, maybe 25-30 KPH or thereabouts, so a crash might not be that serious. The structure around the pilot appears that, were he to be strapped in pretty good, a rollover wouldn’t appear to be that bad.

At any rate, the weather here was absolutely gorgeous today with light winds and a high temperature of 88°. I’m sure the flyer of that ultralight was enjoying the weather and the view.

We Saw a Couple of Classics Today

1955 Ford Fairlane 1946 Funk B85C

Since the weather is a bit more hospitable for the dogs (Scratch ‘n’ Sniff), we took them down to the dog park which is located on a small strip of land between Wickenburg International Airport and US Hwy 60. On the Highway, The Better Half got a shot of the 1955 Ford as it passed us. She also got a shot of the aircraft pictured above, a 1946 Funk B85C as it taxied out to the airport runup area in preparation for departure.

I believe the old Ford was on display earlier this month at the annual fly-in and car show at the airport. There are always a lot of our Classy Classics guys on hand for that event.

When I saw the plane from the dog park area, I thought it might be a PA28 Piper Super Cub, but as we exited the dog park I could see it was not a Cub. I initially thought it might be a Taylor Craft of some sort.

TBH took several shots of the aircraft through the fence. I was able to read the tail number (N77708) in the photos and looked it up on line to find out that it was a Funk. This one is reported to belong to Desert Wings LLC according to the Texas Antique Aircraft Association.

Both are clickable images.

22nd Annual Wickenburg Fly-in and Car Show

Wickenburg Fly-in and Car Show

The Better Half was a bit under the weather and did not attend the show today, so I made a quick appearance to take a look around, photograph some interesting things and get the souvenir T-shirt. The big hit of the show was the modified B-24 Privateer (Navy version of the WW2 bomber) that showed up unexpectedly.

The usual Classy Classics guys were there with their excellent collection of cool old and medium-old cars. I browsed those rather quickly and only took a few photos that may show up here eventually. Meanwhile, the semi-panoramic images of the Privateer and some of the cars appear above. Clickable image.

Ultralight Aircraft Sighting

Ultralight Powered Parafoil Aircraft

The Better Half and I were out in the courtyard late this afternoon when this ultralight aircraft passed from west to east along the main drag which is about a half-mile south of us. This appears to be the same aircraft we posted about on the other site in February.

There was a major equestrian event in town today, which may have prompted the launch of this little guy to provide (color||aerial coverage||distraction) to the festivities - unknown to us. At any rate, it flew at an altitude of about 500 feet but even at that low altitude, we couldn’t hear much engine noise - a low buzz at most.

As for the parafoil color scheme, I prefer to think of the colors of the rainbow in the context of God’s Covenant after the Great Flood, rather than a symbol of some perverse contemporary lifestyle choices. Clickable image.

Throwback Thursday - N9408F


I still have all of my pilot logbooks from December 16, 1961, which was my first lesson in Cessna 150 N7086X, to the last flight on June 6, 1998, a flight in a Grumman AA5B Tiger, N74649, just before the West End Flyers dissolved and sold off the aircraft the club owned. That is a time span of 36 years, 5 months and 22 days.

Shortly thereafter, my Airman Medical Certificate became invalid due to a hypertension medication that supposedly caused dizziness, a symptom that I never experienced. At the time, having recently married The Better Half, we found other interesting things to occupy our time, so piloting became a past avocation. Surprisingly, I don’t miss it much, but occasionally revel in some of the memorable experiences.

A few days ago, I posted this photo taken in 1972 when I was in helicopter training. In the above (clickable) image, taken November 23, 1975, I am piloting a Hughes 269B helicopter N9408F just after having taken a local photographer to get some aerial photos of a bowling alley in the area. By the time this photo was taken, I had already earned my Commercial Helicopter Rating and an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.

I went on to continue in my aviation sub-career in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. I gave instruction in both types and flew as test and ferry pilot for a helicopter outfit in Long Beach, CA. I once soloed a Hughes 300C from Long Beach to New Orleans in order to deliver the aircraft to its new owner.

The whole time I flew, I also held a steady job as an electronics engineer or software systems group leader in various aerospace positions and one short term stint with Mattel Toys in Hawthorne, CA. My aviation experience did a great deal to position me as a subject matter expert and helped propel me into greater positions than I otherwise may have held. Aviation was always an asset and seldom a distraction.

Classic Bell 47G-2 Helicopter

Solo Hovering November 12, 1972

I was looking through some of my old logbooks today to see if I could pin down a date that this photo was taken of me hovering a Bell 47G-2 helicopter. I found the entry which states that this was a short solo training exercise for hovering downwind at Santa Monica Airport on November 12, 1972 in aircraft number N9421H.

This photo has been hanging for the last forty-three years in my office at work or in my home offices in Torrance and now in Wickenburg. My Buddy and student pilot, Ron, took this (clickable) image about a week before I received my Commercial Pilot, Rotorcraft rating on my pilot certificate. He had the picture mounted on a cardboard backing and presented it to me the day I got my helicopter rating.

I went on to complete the coursework and training to receive my Airline transport Pilot Certificate for Category: Rotorcraft a couple of years later. Since I did not want to quit my full-time engineering job to take a relatively low-salary full-time helicopter flying job, I only amassed about 800 hours total helicopter flying time doing part time jobs and instructing before moving on.

In the image, the slightly out of focus buildings across the runway were the remnants of the Douglas Aircraft Company whose buildings were demolished during the 70’s after this picture was taken. The north side of the airport is now a complex of industrial and aviation facilities.

Motorized Glider Flyover

Powered Glider

I found myself out on the rock garden this afternoon, futzing around with my SL1 Canon and telephoto lens. I was looking for some desert wildlife photo ops, when I heard a buzzing noise from above. I looked up and saw a small white blob resembling an airplane. I quickly turned the camera toward the aircraft which I could not resolve enough with my own eyes to identify it and snapped several frames as it passed over the area.

When I got back by the computer and downloaded the camera. I could then see by zooming in, that this was a glider with a propeller. The (clickable) image above was the best out of three that I took of this aircraft. This motorsegler was on a heading of southeast, possibly headed for the Phoenix Metro area.

I did a Google image search and came up with this link to Stemme which was the closest match to this aircraft that I could find.

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