The first leg of this journey was six weeks ago, before Master PPG 1
was out and before I got my life back, for a while at least. Thus the
lack of a log. It was a great trip with the last stop being at Chris
Bowles place in North Carolina. It was a whirlwind trip, too, including
visits to family, flying random places and working on shots for Master
PPG 2 through 4.
Chris and Tammy Bowles are always fun to visit and have a spectacular
property, now with an airplane runway marked out. In fact, Chris did a
fly-by in his airplane which is a high wing, sport pilot speedster. He's
building another one in his shop, a well-equipped affair with shelves
and shelves of mostly Fresh Breeze paragoods and even frames hanging on
the walls. Evidence of Chris's engineering acumen dot the place
including some huge radio control craft.
We finished in Raleigh, NC, where the Enterprise hibernated until
Saturday, Nov 6.
Raleigh to Orlando
The next segment, spanning 5 days, took us from Raleigh to Orlando,
FL with some of the most intense flying I've ever done. Working on
Master PPG1: Advanced Ground Handling was a lot of work but was done
mostly without a motor. These next three videos, though, always involve
motoring and that's what we're working on.
After arriving in Raleigh, cold weather convinced us to immediately head south. What's
up with that cold, anyway? Isn't this why I left Chicago? Alas, it was
just a spell but still enough not to want anything to do with being
outside. I don't do cold. Se we kept driving.
The next morning it was calm, and would have been gorgeous, but I didn't have
my space suit with me to brave the even-colder conditions. So we played tourists and visited
Patriot Point, going through their WWII aircraft carrier and submarine.
The carrier was actually my contemporary, given its 1970 decommission
date. That was an amazing time with incredible sacrifices from so many
kids who never got to see the incredible world we inherited through
their efforts. You have to wonder what drives someone to choose
submarine life. That was a particularly dangerous choice albeit a very
effective place to serve during the war.
We met Leslie Britt, Chris Montgomery and Ben Miller at their haunt north of
Jacksonville, where I got to try out the new SD2, a 51" Black Devil
tandem machine with electric start. I have to say these electric starts
sure are spoiling me. When my machine gets recalictrant, as it does
every now and the, I'd sure rather be pushing a button. Yes, yes, I
know, if it doesn't start on the first few pulls there's something wrong
but e-start can put off the inevitable. As much as I enjoy working on
carbs, exhausts, redrives, ignition circuits and so on, it's nice to
button push the thing to life. The SD was smooth, comfy, and extremely
powerful. I flew it in Rod's configuration which leans my 145 pounds
back quite a bit which means lots of torque twist, enough that I was
unwilling to go to full power. Then Leslie moved the hook-ins two holes
aft on the J-bars and the torque was dramatically less. And full power
That afternoon Steve was kind enough to show us to a soft-sand beach
where we hoped the off-shore wind would turn around. In spite of the
forecast, I flew probably 20 launches and landings to a full stop.
Plus, many of them were power-off affairs over a fence onto a close
target--basically just like what I did in the boxing ring.
With Eric Dufour, Christmas FL
The next afternoon we finally arrived at Paratour's base in
Christmas, FL. Eric, Elisabeth, and company were on hand along with an
instructor helper, Alain, who is also quite handy with woodworking. What
a blast. It was great to see and fly with Eric and old friends, meet new
student Jim who is progressing nicely, and fly some new gear. I've now
flown the Pluto II 18 and Ultra 130, too. Hopefully I'll get some quick
impressions of those up on the reviews shortly.
Kudos to Steve Coffey who, when I was last there, flew his 100th
flight a year ago and is now at 300+, doing spot landings and nailing
many of them.
Eric Dufour alights on the mud boat's engine housing.
One series of shots will replace or add to some
others that we've got where I'm landing on top of the motorhome. Wind
makes this much easier, but there's not enough wind to hover so it
requires very high level skills to pull this off.