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
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
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!