Archive for August, 2012

The early bird…

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

I love to fly early in the morning, especially in the summer and especially down low. The bumps that come with summer’s heat have not yet formed and the air is smooth and pleasantly cool.

This morning’s sunrise over Spencer, Iowa.

This morning I launched from KFSD in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at 5:30 a.m., traveling ahead of a thunderstorm. I arrived over KSPW in Spencer, Iowa, just about dawn and I was treated to this beautiful view of the sun rising over the fields. The coming days for me will be full, involving a combination of travel and meetings. But before the rush begins, it’s great to have a moment like this one that reminds me just how lucky I am to be a pilot.

Land of the Relentless Fun (46U)

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Our travels in Wyoming took Dave Hirschman in the AOPA Sweepstakes Husky and me in my N24HU to Alpine, Wyoming.  There, the residents of the Alpine Airpark (46U) warmly welcomed us to their community which claims 14 Huskys on the field.  Located to the south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this majestic community sits at the southeast corner of the Palisades Reservoir. 

The Reservoir provided a beautiful backdrop one morning for some photography…and we had a great photographer with us:  George Kounis from Pilot Getaways

 During our visit, Dave and I were treated to some great meals and fantastic flying.  We learned first hand that this is one airpark community that is committed to what they call “relentless fun!”

One evening, we had perfect conditions for a flight right over the top of the Snake River.  We took two groups of four Huskys on about a 20-mile run down the river in a carefully briefed and perfectly coordinated flight.  It was flying as Huskys were meant to fly and we were rewarded with remarkable scenery as the sun was low in the sky behind us.

These folks also just go out for early morning runs to find a cup of coffee at neighboring fields.  Since we were enjoying our own coffee in a guest house just a few yards from the 5,850 foot runway, it was enjoyable to go out and watch our new friends departing.

While our purpose in traveling to this part of Wyoming was for a final round of service at Aviat Aircraft for the AOPA Sweepstakes Husky before the giveaway, this community sitting just north of Aviat’s home in Afton was a real find and a perfect way for Dave and me to conclude what has been a wonderful year of flying the two yellow Huskys together across the country.

With about 200 hours on the Sweepstakes Husky, the aircraft has been carefully broken in for a new lucky owner.  Dave has headed to what we in  Washington, D.C., call  an “undisclosed location” in the West to stage the aircraft for our October AOPA Aviation Summit.  I’ve headed on to fly back to Frederick. 

So, while the sun may be setting on this wonderful trip west, along the way we’ve made some great new friends and discovered a place to which we both agreed we must find a way to return.

We have also witnessed the pure enthusiasm of pilots of all ages for flying a type of aircraft that can take you to back country airports all across the country.  We appreciate the positive response to our 2012 Sweepstakes aircraft and I personally look forward to handing the keys to one of our lucky members in the next few months.