Archive for November, 2011

Someone Called Today “Gray Saturday”

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

So, I heard that the day after Black Friday (yesterday) is considered to be “Gray Saturday” (today).  And, on this day, we are supposed to stay out of the giant malls and shop at small, independent stores.

While I know not who comes up with this, it was all I needed.

While others were stuck in traffic, I traveled to my chosen retailer in a relaxed environment.  Upon arrival, the fine people at this establishment had a parking space just feet from their front door and someone actually was out to assist with parking.  On top of this, they served hot dogs and fueled my vehicle while I shopped.

Yes, today was a day for taking out the Bonanza and making a trip to Sporty’s!

It was a nice VFR flight and fun to see our friends there.  It was a short visit for me as I promised to be back in time to catch a movie….but, it was great to see so many people out enjoying their afternoon at an airport.

Of course, there are a few pictures….this first one shows me crossing into Ohio….

The folks at Sporty’s were parking planes near the entrance (and the hot dogs) as we arrived…..

The trip home was definitely faster with a nice tail wind and a 190 kt ground speed.  Crossing from West Virginia into Maryland, there are more and more hilltops with windpower…

A Lot More than “Infrastructure”

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I know they call it black Friday, but all we had here in the Frederick area was blue sky.  So, I headed out low over the West Virginia mountains for a late lunch at The Greenbrier Airport KLWB).  It is a beautiful flight any time of the year.

On the way back, I spied the Point of Rocks Bridge.  This bridge crosses the Potomac and I travel it frequently.  I shot several pictures and then got curious about it’s history.  Wikipedia tells a fascinating story below….

Point of Rocks Bridge

Several ferries crossed the Potomac River at Point of Rocks before the first bridge was constructed there in 1852. This wooden bridge was constructed to carry a double-track narrow gauge railroad from a junction with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to a blast furnace to process the area’s iron ore.  This bridge, which also carried wagons and horses, was destroyed on June 9, 1861 by Confederate forces under General Turner Ashby, the same day the bridge at Brunswick was destroyed.  The second bridge at Point of Rocks was an iron bridge constructed in 1889.  US 15 originally followed Commerce Street and Canal Road, which is now used to access the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, through an at-grade crossing of the B&O Railroad to the Maryland end of the bridge, which crossed the river immediately to the east of the modern bridge.  The 1889 iron bridge was swept away in the March 1936 flood that also destroyed the Potomac River crossings at Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown, and Hancock.

In November 1936, MDSRC put together a plan to replace the Potomac River bridges at Hancock, Shepherdstown, and Point of Rocks.  The Point of Rocks Bridge became the first of the three crossings to be started when construction began March 25, 1937; the bridge’s concrete piers were completed and the piers of the old bridge were removed from the river by September of that year.  The new bridge and its approaches, which crossed over the B&O Railroad on the Maryland side, opened December 26, 1937. The camelback truss bridge spans 1,689 feet (515 m) and has a 24-foot-wide (7.3 m) roadway and a pair of 3-foot-wide (0.91 m) sidewalks. US 15 followed a temporary approach to the new bridge along Commerce Street that remained vulnerable to major floods. The U.S. Highway was moved to higher ground on Clay Street when the highway was reconstructed and widened from Point of Rocks to Tuscarora in 1949.

Flying A Route of Early Settlers

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Thanksgiving morning here in Frederick, Maryland was, well…picture perfect!  There was the promise of some wind, but it was a great day to launch my Husky.  Since the day has everything to do with our early settlers, I thought a trip along the Potomac River might be appropriate.

Anyone who has visited Washington, D.C. knows the Potomac runs right through our Nation’s Capital out to the Chesapeake Bay.  But, traveling just a short distance from Frederick, you can reach the Potomac and head away from Washington (a far better idea unless you enjoy military aircraft off your wing). 

The Potomac heads out to historic Harper’s Ferry.  It is at this point that the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers come together. 

There you find a National Park that is described by the Park Service as follows: THE HISTORY OF HARPERS FERRY HAS FEW PARALLELS IN THE AMERICAN DRAMA. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered – involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation’s history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.

To view the complete story from the National Park Service, CLICK HERE.

As you follow the Potomac further West, railroad bridges cast shadows on the water.

Looking for a place to land for a cup of coffee, I noticed I was not far from the community of Bedford, Pennsylvania.  This community is the site of the Bedford Springs Resort.  Originally, the resort offered guests in the 1800′s healing waters from the natural springs.  Today, guests have many more options, including golf and other types of liquid enjoyment.  It is a beautiful resort and one we have visited when the Fall colors are at their height and that is a wonderful time to be in Bedford!.

I did get my coffee at the Bedford airport, but no one was around.  So, N24HU departed and climbed to 5,500 where the air was smooth and the tailwind provided a ground speed above 150 knots.

All this, and I was home in time to stuff the turkey!

We have much to be thankful for and this flight reminded me of just how many have toiled to establish and protect the freedoms we enjoy today.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

If you would like to see a short slide show from the flight, CLICK HERE.

Redbird Skyport in San Marcos — Something We All Agree is Exciting!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Just a few weeks ago, Jim Campbell from Aero-News Network and I sat down for a good long conversation that focused mostly on what we agreed about.  Leading that list is the exciting new development at the San Marcos Airport outside of Austin, Texas.  There, Redbird Flight Simulations has created from scratch The Redbird Skyport and an innovative approach to all things general aviation, especially flight training.

Unfortunately, a long term commitment kept me away from the facility I’d visited while underconstruction. However, our AOPA team was on hand and Editor-in-Chief Tom Haines addressed the gathering.

Today, Jim Campbell’s coverage tells the story of the Redbird Skyport Grand Opening on Aero-TV.  They have provided exceptional coverage and Jim invited me to share it with our readers….I know you will enjoy watching and learning what our friends at Redbird have created!  CLICK HERE TO WATCH ANN-TV’s coverage of the Grand Opening.

Here, too,  is our AOPA Online story from the event by Ian Twombly….CLICK HERE.

This is real innovation in general aviation that all of us should celebrate…and, on that, we really can agree!