It’s Summer

by on July 1, 2016

A few things have been conspiring to keep me on the ground lately, not the least of which is the 100 degree (F) heat we have been having lately. Then we had several planning sessions and an EAA Chapter Young Eagles Rally a week ago.  The Chapter managed to fly 74 kids from the Reno-Stead area. It was a fun but busy day.

I did manage to get into the air on June 12th in between formation sessions. Mid-June was the 2016 Pylon Racing School (PRS) preceded by FAST training (Formation and Safety Training). Racers at Reno must hold a FAST card saying they are qualified formation pilots before they can participate in Pylon Racing School. When they graduate from PRS they can then race in the National Championship Air Races in September. There were about a dozen jets and 40-50 Sport Class planes going through the FAST sessions. During the FAST sessions there are no restrictions at the Reno-Stead Airport, merely more than usual  traffic in the area – and traffic using overhead traffic patterns. During PRS there is a TFR in place over the airport and tenants are restricted to specific departure/arrival periods and only with prior permission.

I braved the traffic on the 12th because it had been designated Swift World Domination Day. This is the second time that the Swift group has held a ‘Domination Day’. The effort is to try and get as many Swifts into the air around the world as possible in a single day. One individual in the group receives flight information from all the participants and then correlates the times to get a grand total and to see how many aircraft were in the air at the same time. Results will be published on the Swift Museum Foundation website. I can’t imagine how much work it is to correlate everything.

Anyway, the 12th was a really nice day for flying. Clear skies and light winds, as you can see from the photos. Now I’m in the middle of an annual inspection so it might be a bit before I get up again. I’m hoping I can put in enough time to finish the inspection by the middle of July since I plan to head to Wisconsin for EAA AirVenture this year. I think the last time I attended was 1980, just before I moved out to the West Coast. Should be fun.

Photo of Lake Tahoe looking east from about Kings Beach with Incline VIllage out of the picture to the left.

Lake Tahoe looking east from about Kings Beach with Incline Village out of the picture to the left.

I finally got back up in the air again over the holiday weekend. It felt like we were right in the middle of the weather system route for most of the Spring. Now we’re swinging the other way.

The last ski area closed this past weekend – and now we’re forecast to see 100 degrees next weekend. Life in the high desert.

The winds were forecast to be a bit strong down in the CA valleys and there was a good chance of thunderstorms building over the Sierras, so I opted to stay on this side of the mountains. I called up my friend down in Minden, NV and arranged to meet for a late breakfast at the Taildragger Cafe on the airport. Always a good meal there – and seating with a nice view of the flight line.

The air was a bit hazy for the flight down by way of Lake Tahoe, so I didn’t bother to take any photos. The photo to the right is from a previous flight along the same route. It was a nice flight anyway, and good to get back into the air – it had been a bit over a month.

I flew the direct route back to Stead through the Class C airspace around Reno – getting clearance through the area from NORCAL Approach at 7000′. That was a much bumpier ride – the temperature had started rising and the usual afternoon breezes around Reno had started to puck up. When I left Stead the winds were calm to less than 5 knots from the east. For my return they were 140/6G19. Since it had been so long since my last flight I chose to use runway 14 rather than practice my variable crosswind technique on runway 8 and have a much shorter taxi back to the hangar. Even so, the landing was ‘interesting’ and I was glad there was 9000′ of runway to play with. Twice, as I was about to touch down a gust put me back into the air, not necessarily pointing in the original direction. So, add a bit of power and start over again with the flaring part of the process.  Even so, I managed to turn off by the midpoint of the runway.

All-in-all a very nice day and a good way to begin the 3-day weekend.


Reno-Aviation-Museum-SignThe local Commemorative Air Force (CAF) chapter held a pancake breakfast last Saturday (3rd Saturday of each month).  I did my part to rid the world of excess pancakes and while eating had a nice conversation with Doug Ritter,  the head of the Reno Aviation Museum. After our meal Doug offered to give me a guided tour of the museum facilities and collection. How could I not take him up on his offer?

The collection is housed in what used to be the DataMotive facility on Bismark Street just off of the Reno-Stead Airport. The Museum is currently short of personnel so unfortunately it is open only by appointment.

They have quite a collection of aviation-related items from entire aircraft to test articles to simulators.

Here are some photos of what I saw:

In addition to the artifacts housed inside the museum, they have a restored DeHavilland Herron cockpit on a trailer that can be taken to aviation events such as EAA Young Eagles Rallies so that kids can climb in for photos and get hands-on experience in an aircraft cockpit.

It was a fun tour and presents all sorts of opportunities for involvement to aviation-minded individuals and organizations.

To round out the weekend,  on Sunday our local EAA Chapter had a fly-out to McClellan Airport to visit the Aerospace Museum of California.


Sightseeing with a New Friend

by on April 11, 2016

Swift parked at Auburn (KAUN)

Swift parked at Auburn (KAUN)

Last month (Mar 2016) I had the opportunity to take a new friend for a flight in the Swift. He lives near Auburn, CA so I flew down there and met him.

We talked about the flight for a while and then got ready to go. Ron had not been in a small plane in years and was enthusiastic about the flight. He had his camera so this would be a photo flight. We took off from Auburn and flew my standard IFR (Interstate 80) route back toward Reno. We circled around the north end of Lake Tahoe and Incline Village. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy over the Lake that day but it was still a beautiful view.


The Swift on Departure from Auburn.

Then we made our way back to the Auburn area found his house between Auburn and Grass Valley and circled there for a bit before returning to the Auburn traffic pattern.

The scenic flight was about 1:15 total time. Then we sat down for lunch at the airport restaurant (Wings Grill) and talked about the flight and flying in general.

Now we’re trying to come up with a good time between our series of Spring storms out here to schedule another flight that will concentrate more on flying than photography.  We’ll be filling out the appropriate paperwork and designating it as an EAA Eagle Flight.  I’m looking forward to it.

To top it all off, it was a beautiful flight back over the hill to Reno.

Great day for flying!  Total flight time for the day – 2.9 hours.

[Photos are courtesy of Ron Arnall.]

A Late Report on a January Flight

April 11, 2016

Contrary to popular opinion, I have been flying the Swift a bit over the last 3 1/2 months. I just haven’t had taken the time to write about it. Back in January I took a short flight around the local area just to get the plane and me a bit of exercise. My logbook says […]

Read the full article →