Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Tag: fire fighters

Flying Stories for July 27, 2012

No Swift flying yet this week – and not too many aviation articles not covering what is happening at AirVenture this year.

I mentioned last week that I had been to a Swift gathering in Oregon. I finally had enough time to work on s few photos, so here goes…

Enroute  Mt-Shasta

Photo 1: Mt. Shasta off the left wing of the Swift.

Photo 1 was taken on my way ‘up’ to Cottage Grove, OR where the fly-in took place. My route was from Reno-Stead direct to Klamath Falls (KLMT) then west to Grants Pass(3S8) and north again to Cottage Grove (61S).  I made the jog in a direct route because I didn’t feel that I needed to fly over the rough terrain between Klamath Falls and Cottage Grove. I wasn’t in a hurry – part of my program to minimize risks.

At the point were I took the photo I was very near N41.6 and W121.52 where the sectional notes there is a lava flow. It was very obvious what it was, but not so obvious how it got there – no volcanic comes, just an obvious lava flow. Also near to the Lava Beds National Monument. Who knew?

Jim Wright Field, Cottage Grove, OR

Photo 2: Jim Wright Field, Cottage Grove, OR

Photo 2 if the welcoming sign for the Cottage Grove State Airport. The airport was named after one of it’s notable tenants, Jim Wright. Of his many accomplishments, one stands out for the aviation community – the commissioning of the building of a replica of the Hughes H-1 – pictured on the sign. I had the opportunity to look at it closely when it made an appearance at the Reno Air Races. It was truly a work of art. It is extremely unfortunate that Jim lost his life in a crash of the aircraft. It was very good to see him remembered in this manner.


Oregon Aviation History Center

Photo 3: Oregon Aviation History Center

Photo 3 is a view of the Oregon Aviation History Center on the airport. The Center is nice enough to host our fly-in group. Their hangar/display area was made available to us for our meetings, airport meals and banquet. They also allowed us to take over their parking ramp. Just above the fuselage of the Stinson parked out front you can see a tarp hanging in the hangar doorway – shade for the tables set up inside.


Swifts attending the Cottage Grove Fly-in.

Photo 4: Swifts attending the Cottage Grove Fly-in.


Photo 4 is a group shot of the 18 Swifts we had in attendance. There were also 4 ‘other types’ of planes that flew in.  the camera lens was not wide-angle enough to capture all of the planes. My plane is nose to the camera in the back row – the only one attending this gathering that has a 3-bladed prop.


Swift Kayaking

Photo: 5: Cottage Grove attendees heading out for a little kayaking.

Photo 5 is a shot of some of the fly-in attendees about to take a kayaking trip down the Row River to a portage just on the edge of the airport. Groups went out Friday and Saturday – it was a good break from the 90-degree temperatures. The fly-in organizers also set up bike and shopping tours for our group.






Airway Beacon

Photo 6: Airway Beacon display at the Oregon Aviation History Center.

Photo 6 is a photo of one of the displays situated around the Aviation History Center.  This is an actual Airway Beacon used in the mid 1920s to mark the route between major metropolitan areas.  They were placed about 10 miles apart and shined a Morse code letter in relation to the distance from the start of the route segment. The beacons started the route with a ‘W ‘ followed by U, V, H, R, K, D, B, G and M.  If additional beacons were needed, the 10-letter sequence would repeat. The pilots used the mnemonic When Undertaking Very Hard Routes Keep Directions By Good Methods.Knowing the distance between beacons and their code order the pilots could keep track of their progress along the route.




1936 Yates Geodetic

Photo 7: 1936 Yates Geodetic in the Oregon Aviation History Center.

Photo 7 is a shot of one of the aircraft hanging from the Aviation History Center rafters. It is a 1936 Yates Geodetic, designed by George Yates and built in Beaverton, OR. It is a low-wing single-place aircraft designed for 50-90 HP engines.


It was a fun time over the weekend and a nice way to get some time on the plane. I was able to renew old friendships and start a few new ones. This gathering is held every two years. I already have it on my calendar.



Here are some articles that you may have missed this week:

A look at being an Aerial Firefighter

This is from the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, UT. Doug Robinson, the article author, gives us a good look at the job of aerial firefighter – specifically the single-engine variety. We have a tanker base at Reno-Stead that currently is home for two of the Air Tractors mentioned in the article as well as an Erickson Skycrane.

Aerion, a Reno, NV aircraft design firm.

This is from AIN Online. Kirby Harrison, the article author, asks the question: Have Airplane Designers Lost the Edge? He goes on to describe the efforts of a couple of ‘cutting edge’ firms – Piaggio, with airplanes in production, and Aerion, a Reno firm with big plans but little backing.

Hastings [MN] man inducted into aviation hall of fame

This is from the Hastings Star Gazette. Orville Brede knew he wanted to fly from the first time he got into the air – and just doing that was a feat in the 1930s. Mr. Brede is not only a recipient of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award, he has also been inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. Here’s his story…

Reno-Stead Fire-Fighting Base

There have been several thunderstorms in the area the past few days dropping huge amounts of water and spitting out lightning bolts. The lightning has started Air Tractor AT-802 fire fighting water bombera few fires in fairly inaccessible areas and has put our local fire fighters to work. There were two fire-fighting operations  on the east side of the Sierras last year, one in Minden, NV and our local one in Reno at Stead Airport. This year, probably due to budget constraints, only the Stead tanker base is in operation.

We have seen several different types of fire-fighting aircraft at our local base. This first photo is one of the two Air Tractor AT-802 aircraft that are used for the smaller fires. This one is sitting in front of the fire fighter operations building on the east end of our ramp. Lockheed P-3 Orion converted to fire fighting water bomberA few days ago I sat in my back yard and watched one of the Air Tractors and the P-3 Orion Tanker fly back and forth to a fire very near to where their Minden base used to be.; I walked out of my hangar yesterday and both of the Air Tractors flew overhead in close fingertip formation.

Our local base also is home to a Lockheed P2V Neptune that has been converted into a  water bomber. It was out making drops somewhere today. I caught it coming back for a refill as I was leaving the airport tonight. I heard it take off a couple of times, but never noticed the jet noise. Lockheed P2V Neptune converted to fire fighting water bomberThe big radials make the nicest sound anyway. The traffic pattern was pretty full today, but when one of the tanker aircraft needs to depart everybody clears out and lets them get to work.

The past few days we have also had a Huey helicopter, a twin Otter and two squads of fire jumpers/fire fighters staying on the airport. Their equipment identifies them as from the Boise BLM (Bureau of Land Management), probably on temporary duty in Nevada during our fire season.

The last of our resident fire fighting aircraft is the Sikorsky S-64  SkycraneSikorsky Skycrane fire fighting water bomber . It is operated by Erickson Air-crane based in Oregon. One of their other Helitankers (named Elvis) made a big hit at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI this week. The first video below is of their “arrival show” .

As great as it is to see all these aircraft fly, I really hope that this year they spend a lot of time just sitting around.

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