Log

Nashville to Orlando

Nov 18, by Jeff Goin

Somewhere out over western Kansas angry air swirled around a low pressure area spewing thunderstorms southwestward. I'd just finished flying the Boeing around this mess—an easy task 38,000, but not at 0 feet. Tim and I would face it in the Enterprise with now way out. Making matters worse was was that our target was parallel to the rather wide line of torment. It was shaping up to be a non-flying trip.

No matter, I'm always one to make the best of things and there are some gorgeous areas down here. Winter's late arrival meant that fall colors were getting to full splendor. On Thursday we made it to Chattanooga, TN. Abbreviated because I can never remember how many letters are doubled in that state. Kind of like mmiissiiissiisppppi. Who came up with these spellings anyway?

Chattanooga, TN

The mountains here are beautiful, especially with the colored green. Not quite the same grandeur as as out west, but striking in their own way. Wish I could have flown it. Alas, the rain kept falling so we opted for other activities, including a run to Lookout Mountain.

Visiting the war memorial was sad. Amidst inspiring beauty were all these monuments to fallen soldiers on both sides of various revolutionary and civil war battles. I can imagine these people who probably would have enjoyed each other's company, killing each other instead. In war, it's mostly survival at that level. I'm fortunate to have entered time and space with such relative peace and the ability to pursue my passion. If only the rest of the planet were so lucky. Most are, of course, but that's a whole other article.

It rained on and off that first day but I got a lot of work done on various projects and we put the northern winter further to our rear.

Tim is a trooper, manning the helm for most of our miles. He's smooth on the controls and good at energy management—planning for minimum brakes and maximum mileage. You know, if you're coming to a traffic light, coast for god's sake. He's spoiling me now—when I ride with others I find myself letting off an imaginary gas pedal.

Boy did I get a lot done. A major project is underway and this was needed. Maybe it was better the weather didn't cooperate so much.

I tried to get together with a couple Bad Apples, helo rescue pilot Brewster and airline fixer John Coulter. Unfortunately schedules didn't allow that, either, so talking on the phone was as close as I got. Bruce is quite the character. He was one of the first pilots I met in this sport and helped show me a good time.

Cordele, GA

Southern hospitality was has, though, as we met up with Atlanta's southern PPG guard, Brad and Chip. Brad used the words "sod farm" and "launch site" in the same sentence. Oooh, that sounded tasty. Plus, Chip thought he could scrounge up an aluminum welder for a redrive repair. Boy did he--we went a shop where Mr. weld wielded his magic wand with obvious skill. Blazing and grinding with a well-rehearsed precision, he first built up then drilled through and ground down the cracked mount. It's probably now better than new.

These guys were true gentlemen. Chip has been flying for some time and new pilot Brad is apparently a natural. Problem is, the wind was blowing 20 to 25 mph so we ventured to the nearby airport where chip has worked out an arrangement. I'm an optimist and put my motor in the back of Brad's truck.

Kiting

The motor made a nice place to hang my wing bag on. That's all it would do. My rule is that if I cannot kite while basically staying in one place, it's too windy. Well let me tell you, there was no staying in one place—horizontally or vertically. It was fun, however, to try for extra airtime. It wasn't hard to succeed

We knew this was a skiing mission while walking out to the field. I love playing in strong and this session didn't let us down as the pics below show.

Row One: 1,2) Cotton. As you'd expect, there's lots of cotton down. Interesting stuff—I can see why they make clothing out of it. Stretch a piece out then twist and it's incredibly strong. 3) Color aplenty from atop Lookout Mountain. 4, 5) Gusty is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get but we got plenty of lifted. Kiting shots by Brad Powell. 6) Tim enjoying our flight replacement activity at Rock City.

Row Two: 1,2) Tim at the helm. Some of the Enterprise views including were worth the trip. 3) You can see why this real estate was so important in war.

Row Three: 1-3) This fellow and his welder were well acquainted. He made quick work of this cracked Top 80 redrive mount. 4) Jeff, Chip and Brad at the Wales Welding. 3) Tim standing near one of the cannons presumably used during the civil war.

Home Stretch

The Enterprise is now ensconced at it's winter home #1, Orlando, FL. After a month or two it will head down to Ft. Meyers. I'm looking forward to visiting numerous haunts including one soarable ridge. Pilots have opened up some new places and I'll enjoy joining them.

Before putting my motor away I figured I should at least run her to lube to excercise the works and spread some oil around. She started after 3 pulls and purred nicely. I'm sure that was in expectation of flying instead of being placed back inside. Sorry dear, next time.

 

The only flying we did this entire trip was while kiting in strong, gusty winds.

You know it's a bad sign when your hosts bring the cameras out to record the anticipated carnage.

Strong isn't bad. Gusty sucks. One particular blast, in combination with my purposeful effort to fly, netted a 15 foot vertical yank. At that point it was a flight. I let off the brakes, gained airspeed then flared and landed.

Risk is high doing this stuff. Although it's fun and we never lost control, we had no back protection and were commonly getting lifted 5 feet in the air. We did have a huge open area so at least wouldn't get strained through anything.


© 2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!