Fleet Flight

Oct 9, 2011 Variety Takes the Day

These last two days have been one enormous orgy of flight.

It started with giving rides in the helicopter on Saturday afternoon. Originally it was going to be probably 8 flights but wound up being probably 15. It's cool to be able to that, though, and the weather was truly spectacular with fall colors bursting to life in brilliant sunshine.

Since the helicopter was out I decided to leave it out for the next morning in anticipation of a little personal challenge: to fly as many aircraft types in one day as I could. Since I was scheduled for a work trip the next afternoon this would be a perfect opportunity.

1. I started off bright and chipper with a paramotor launch from the back yard. In spite of a forecast strong south wind, it was early enough to be calm at ground level. That's important since I have to launch north but must depart before the sun starts mixing low-level air up with higher flows. Climbing a few hundred feet put me into the warm, still-smooth, southerly blow. Cool air down low kept me from playing around in the plants. Fifteen minutes later I shut down and slid into the back yard.

2. Next, off to Cushing in the Bonanza for a last flight in the Samba. The Samba is a soaring trike -- very efficient, nice handling, not very fast and powered by a Zenoa G25 paramotor engine.

Sadly, this is the same type of craft that Bob Armond died in, a fact that wasn't lost on me. After launching and flying around for a few minutes I started practicing contour flying, turns to headings, steep turns and spot landings. It was 11am so budding thermals were almost soarable but not quite and did make spot landings more challenging. After one last spot landing on the long runway I called it complete, put her away and flew back in the Bonanza.

3. Now to Ellie who was thirsty from yesterday's many rides. Flew over to the pumps, she drank her expensive fill, and flew back. Put everything away and headed off to work for the final mission. This would be the easiest segment and the one that pays for the rest of it: a Boeing 737 flight from LAX to Chicago.

4. The trip was a "deadhead" to LAX where I just get in position, riding in the back. They pay for this just like you're flying -- and no, you won't hear me complaining! While riding I worked on video 3, getting quite a lot done with audio editing. I'm being smarter about video 3, doing a bunch of editing with just the audio, making it more concise, more relevant, and all without doing any video editing yet. Much more efficient.

The flight home was just the way we like 'em. Boring--pretty, though, with an accelerated sunset just after leaving LAX. Going east makes it set quickly since you're adding 500 mph to the earth's 1000 mph surface speed. The upside is that, just after sunset, you get to see the sunrise during climbout and see it set again during cruise.

We took of on LAX's 24R then arced back inland. It was clear and gorgeous. Just under 4 hours later we alighted on Chicago's runway 4R to call it a night.

Ahhhh. What a day!


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