$100 Pancakes

by on August 1, 2015

I haven’t flown yet this week but last week I got some cross-country practice. I had arranged with another pilot basedat Reno-Stead to fly a formation flight to the lowlands of Northern California.

The Legends of Flight and Jimmy Doolittle Center host a pancake breakfast at the Nut Tree Airport (KVCB) on the last Saturday of the month. We decided to take advantage of forecast good weather and fly down for breakfast.

As usual, things don’t always go according to plan. My friend logged another aviation first for him by forgetting to turn off his master switch at the completion of his last flight. There wasn’t enough power left in the battery to even light up an instrument panel light. So, I had a passenger…

It was a really nice flight, 1.1 hours each way thanks to going downhill westbound and a slight tailwind eastbound. I had mentioned our plan to attend the breakfast when speaking to another West Coast Swift owner earlier in the week. He then passed around the reminder of the monthly event to other Swift owners. The result was a very mini Swift fly-in with three planes in attendance – not bad for a no-notice event. It was obvious once in the Vacaville area that pretty much anything west of there was under a solid cloud layer – the sometimes very persistent marine layer that moves inland from the coast at night. Most of the other Northern CA Swifts are based in the area that was under the clouds.

It was a fun flight and the plane ran great. I had forgotten just how much power it has down at sea level. Being based at an airport with a field elevation of 5000′ gives you a different perspective on power available. Just about anywhere else that I fly will result in more power available on takeoff. Most pilots have the opposite experience – flying to high-elevation destinations and then not having the experience of how their aircraft will perform. I just have to remember NOT to lean the mixture for best power on departure.

Sitting in Cockpits a Long Time

by on August 1, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a podcast that happened to be the 100th episode of that particular aviation podcast. The speakers on the podcast related some of their 100th aviation events – their 100th flight, 100th hour of cross-country flying, etc.

That got me thinking about those events in my flight career. Most of them happened a while ago, so I dug out my logbooks and looked them up. Believe it or not, I still have the original logbook that recorded my first training flight in August of 1968 – while I was still a cadet at the USAF Academy. My how time flies…

Here are the ones I could think of and then find in my logbooks:

100th Aviation Event

100th FlightDecember 1969Cessna T-37BUSAF Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) - Instrument Training
100th Flight HourDecember 1969Cessna T-37BUSAF Undergraduate Pilot Training Student
100th LandingOctober 1969Cessna T-37BUSAF Undergraduate Pilot Training Student
100th Flight Hour as PICFeb 1971Fairchild C-123KTan Son Nhut AB to Bien Hoa AB to Binh Thuy AB to Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN
100th Hour of Flight Instruction ReceivedJanuary 1970Cessna T-37BWebb AFB, TX to Tinker AFB, OK - Navigation/Cross-Country Instruction
100th Flight Hour of Flight Instruction GivenJuly 1972Cessna T-37BInstructor Pilot USAF UPT, Basic VFR Training Flight - Traffic Patterns
100th Flight Hour - Simulated Instrument (Hood)March 1974Cessna T-37BWebb AFB, TX - Instrument Currency Flight with Safety Pilot
100th Simulator Training HourFebruary 1982Lockeed C-5ATravis AFB, CA - Instrument Currency
100th Flight Hour - Actual InstrumentJuly 1982Lockheed C-5AClark AB, Philippines to Diego Garcia, BIOT
100th Instrument Approach FlownMarch 1972Cessna T-37BRandolph AFB, San Antonio, TX - Student, USAF Pilot Instructor Training
100th Combat Flight HourMarch 1971Fairchild C-123KTan Son Nhut Air Base (AB), Republic of Viet Nam (RVN)
100th Flight Hour - Cross CountryFebruary 1971Fairchild C-123KTan Son Nhut AB to Bien Hoa AB to Nha Trang AB to Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN
100th Flight Hour - NightSeptember 1981Lockheed C-5ADiego Garcia AB, BIOT to Clark AB, Phillipines
100th Flight Hour - SoloNovember 1974Temco Swift GC-1BHoward County Airport, TX (Big Spring, TX) - Local Area Flight
100th Flight Hour - Temco SwiftSeptember 1973Temco Swift GC-1BEctor County, Odessa, TX to Howard County, Big Spring, TX
100th Hour in current aircraft (Temco Swift, GC-1B)September 2012Temco Swift GC-1BMinden, NV to Reno-Stead, NV - 2-ship Formation

10,000th Flight Hour
April 2009Boeing B-747-400Nagoya, Japan to Detroit, MI

Back in the air again

by on July 13, 2015

Swift-Flight-15Dec13--1I finally found enough time over the July 4th weekend to finish my part of the annual inspection and arranged to have the Inspector come out to the hangar and pass judgement on the condition of the plane. All went well and the paperwork was completed, making it legal for me to use the airplane again to commit aviation.

As the calendar would have it, the following weekend was a Young Eagles event for one of the local EAA Chapters. I work as ground crew for the events, so I didn’t have the Swift there.

There were only 3 planes available to conduct the flights and 36 kids received rides. Each of the planes was capable of taking 3 kids at a time. As a pilot, four flights take time and they can drain your energy, especially on a hot day.

Two previous Young Eagle participants were there and working hard during the event in hope of getting another ride. Unfortunately time ran out for them (they were last in line for a repeat flight experience). Both were family members of the Chapter Young Eagle Coordinator (you get ‘volunteers’ wherever you can) so I took her aside and said that if she was willing to drive the kids to the Stead airport the next morning I’d give them a ride in the Swift.

I ended up giving three rides that day. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The whole family showed up at the hangar and hung out there while we were flying. There was quite a bit going on at the airport that day – a nice weekend after a couple of weeks of stormy days. The CAP summer encampment held in the old AF barracks on the east end of the airport had their graduation – with a parade and awards held in front of the permanent Air Race grandstands and there were planes coming and going all morning – everything from an ultralight single to a Diamond twin. And it looked like a crew was prepping a MIG-21 for flight.

I ended up logging about 1.5 hours total and had a fun time. The plane ran fine and I renewed my landing currency again. Can’t ask for more than that…

If you have never flown as a Young Eagle pilot, I would highly recommend that you find a local EAA Chapter, join EAA and give it a try – pay it forward.


Annual Still in Progress

by on June 22, 2015

I’m still working on the Swift Annual Inspection, so there was no flying the past couple of weeks. It has been slow progress, not because things need fixing but because of the lack of time to get out to the airport to do the work.


This past weekend the Carson City airport had their Open House event. The EAA Chapter (#403) provided a pancake breakfast, gave rides in their ‘GroundBound’ biplane and set up a BD-5 carcass for picture-taking. The also signed up kids for Young Eagle flights to be conducted the following morning (Father’s Day).

Unfortunately the weather Father’s Day morning wasn’t very conducive to fun introductory rides. The 5 pilots volunteering their time made one flight and decided to call off the remainder of the event. Winds were forecast to be gusting over 30 mph by late morning and the forecast was holding true.

Here are some random shots taken at the Open House: