First day on a new camera and I'd be hard pressed to ask for better
circumstances. Adam Bell and his son Wyatt joined Tim Kaiser and myself
in a beautiful area north of Phoenix, AZ. It's just south of Turf
Soaring School's airport by about a mile. Eventually I'll have an
airspace analysis of this site out but wide open areas spread for miles
in most directions.
The camera is an Olympus E-330. It's unique in SLR land because the
screen on the back shows the image you're looking at. Most SLR cameras
require looking through the viewfinder which is problematic for getting
shots around your cage. In general, I prefer pictures where you can see
the pilot's face and that requires pointing the lens backwards while
framing it in the LCD screen. The camera is a bit more complicated in
some ways and way easier in most others. Now that I've figured out
certain quarks it's pretty easy. It worked incredibly well in spite of a
somewhat dark LCD display. The picture quality is exceptional.
Here are a few, more to come. Tomorrow is more flying here in the
morning then off to Sedona.
I soloed the Schweizer 2-33 (yellow one behind me) as a new 14 year old
then started flying the 1-26 (that I'm leaning on). This is Turf Soaring
School that is temporarily shut down while dealing with insurance woes.
Creature Feature: Adam and Hyatt check out a tiny scorpion. They tell me
the little ones hurt as much or more than the big ones. Great. We
couldn't very well make this a "No Fly Zone" but we'd sure like to. I've
got no idea what the weird creature is at the far right. Curious
critters out here in the desert.
The flying was nothing short of awesome. I grabbed a picture of Adam
flying by his son who was all wrapped up in Adam's wing bag.
Morning dawned with a decent breeze. It seems like this might be a daily
pattern according to local pilot Adam Bell and our brief experience. We
launched with a switchy breeze and headed for the resevoir. Turbulence
registered an occasional 4 of the bump scale so pictures were difficult
but I managed a few good ones. This is a beautiful part of a beautiful
area and the developers know it. Construction is picking at the edges as
companies plan for the coming multitudes. It's strange to see a Home
Depot off on its own, surrounded by desert nothingness but there it is,
only a few miles from our launch. Wait a few years.
We drove by a site that I remembered from a years-ago visit. Bulldozers
had remade it and the mark of man will soon obliterate any signs of
where we launched. I'm not complaining, mind you. After all, it means
the humans aren't killing each other, they're employed and somebody's
getting a house. These are all good things!
We flew just under an hour since we didn't want to let the thermals get
mean for our return. I did a slider landing which was a bad choice. My
shoe soles have been worn thin by too many miles of foot-dragging on
pavement and the largish rocks here are painful. It was a great way to
bid farewell to this valley of the sun that has provided so much
On to Sedona!
Over Turf Soaring School airport the canals and Lake Pleasant itself.
Beautiful but bumpy. We got a few jolts that rated a 4 on the bump
Before getting fully underway we checked out the nearby canal.
Presumably this water helps keep Phoenix's cup running over. Tim takes
the helm and I work on these updates. Of course I've got reviews to
write with my scribble notes but this is more fun. Far right is the
aviation weather that we pulled up before launching thanks to Tim's
Locals have it nice. The trip to Sedona is a 3000 foot climb through an
hour of beautiful scenery that gets steadily more impressive as the
rocks get redder. Lots of people must have discovered it because they're
widening the two lane road. We were glad this wasn't the high season. If
it was this nice from the ground, I can't wait to see what it's like
from the air. I'll know soon. Next
Tim Kaiser near Lake Pleasant just north of Phoenix, AZ.
I'll eventually put a better description under Educational's Chapter 12
but, suffice it to say, this new manual decompressor seems to work well.
It dramatically improves starting reliability of the Black Devil motor.
I had to improvise an installation tool because the regular special tool
doesn't work. This requires a deep-well 13mm socket. The Enterprise is
pretty well equipped but not with that one. So I used the deep-well
special tool and inserted safety wire to make it handle the smaller
manual decompressor I was inserting. That let me torque it down as much
as I dare into an aluminum cylinder.
Starting it was immediate. I pushed the button down to decompress.
Pulled the handle and it fired which reset (closed) the decompressor
valve. I pushed the button back down to decompress, pulled again and she
started. It usually takes me more pulls than that. Time will tell.
1) Driving into Sedona.
2) Flying above. The R/C field would be perfect but they probably would
have a cow.