This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots
ILike many other people, Jennifer and I went to Madras to go see the total solar eclipse, but thankfully we didn't have to drive. It was a slightly less than 4H flight thanks to a tailwind (I was afraid it would be more in a slow C172, the best plane I could get for that day since most planes were of course booked for that time.
I had planned to take off before 07:00, but my fuel order the previous day, was not filled, and I was forced to wait until the competing fuel company opened up and could fuel us up. We eventually took off a bit after 07:20. Better than nothing.
plane was pretty packed with 2 bikes and all our hiking and camping stuff
Jennifer soon resumed her copilot duties :)
I flew by Mt Shasta on the way up:
Sadly California had multiple fires, which made visibility often bad, especially by noon or so. On the way up, it wasn't too bad though and we got to see Crater Lake which was totally smoked in later on, on most days. We had actually planned to go to crater lake, but I cancelled that part of our trip once I saw how bad the visibility was on most days:
I think that's the hike down to the ferry that goes around the lake
We eventually got to Madras, which had nice scenery:
After watching the eclipse, we flew to Klamath Falls, with its big lakes:
once on the ground, we drove to that bridge to see the lake from both sides, you can see the falls aren't that big afterall :)
big runway, hard to miss (I was asked to land long)
there is an air force training base onsite
We first landed in Klamath Falls to see Lava Beds National Park, and then on the way back, we had a look at the town.
We were supposed to fly out the day after, but when we arrived, there was a line of thunderstorms around the airport and another one around Lassen where we were going, so I opted for us to stay the night in Klamath and fly down to Lassen early the next morning just after sunrise:
got lots of pictures from Lassen on the way
and finally landed at Chester/Rogers airport, from where we had a rental car waiting, and we drove back up (1h) to Lassen
After a full day in Lassen, we flew back at sunset (20:00) and got home in Palo Alto just before 22:00, tired, but happy from all the nice sightseeing.
After a longish flight from Palo Alto in a slow C172, we arrived at Madras Airport, smack in the middle of the path of totality for the eclipse, the first total eclipse in the US since the 1970's. Needless to say that everything on the path of the eclipse, was packed, and so was the airport, as well as camping sites nearby.
Solartown, north of the airport
the rest of the year, Madras has a small racetrack and drag racing strip
when we landed on sunday morning, a few planes were there already, but many more arrived
I was able to negotiate a parking spot closer to the exit for the next morning, and we setup our camp
some amount of vendors at the airport
We then took our foldable bikes and biked to Solarfest, a few miles south:
Madras was ready for visitors
and their money :)
we met Arturo at Solarfest
Nasa had a display room, but hard to get into due to crowds
Nasa gave talks
lots of vendors
I then went to Solartown to meet Arturo and Louis at their RV:
It was then time to get back to the airport for sunset pictures:
We then tried to sleep in our tent, and I very much appreciated the jet that landed at 05:02 and stayed idling close to our tent for a good 5mn :)
people getting ready early
I packed up our camp and turned the plane around in the direction of 'get the f out of here' :)
I was one plane away from the last taxiway to the runway
Tim, one of my many coworkers who went to the event
In case the sun disappearance brought a big flood, some were ready :)
And then, it started:
this lucky guy landed 1mn before the runway closed
that little sun left, is still very bright
without a filter, it was still super bright
almost there, but still way too bright to look with naked eyes
the corona of hot plasma around the sun, only visible during an eclipse
mercury became visible
So, it's hard to explain, but it does get quite dark, and cold. The cold was really noticeable, which is surprising how quickly it changed in just a portion of a minute:
and then, after barely 2mn, it was over
Just to give a feel for what it looked like, here are 4mn starting just before totality:
Those 2mn were as cool as they went by quickly. As soon as totality was over, we rushed to the plane, and went in line for the runway, got the first spot and I was the first person to take off when the runway re-opened. While waiting over 30mn, I took a few more pictures from inside the plane before finally being able to take off:
in the 40mn I waited before taking off, the roads were filled up already
jets were the only ones allowed to take off for about 1h after I left
a long road home
And one last shot of the partial eclipse still going on while we were flying to Klammath Falls:
We had a great time, definitely an at least once in a lifetime experience.
Usually I would only feature an airplane museum in the flying section, but the London Science Museum's section of airplanes is big enough that it deserves its own mention.
There was a good history of early planes:
a good reminder that the first aircraft that was heavier than air was French, even if it didn't fly far
very bird-like aircraft
of course the wright brothers are mentioned, along with their patents and thirst for money that caused the US to slip back decades while France quickly took over the world of flying machines
one impressive thing on the wright brothers' airplane was the engine: light and efficient
lots of early french planes
While most people know about the French Mongolfier brothers and their hot air balloon, few know about all the dirigeables that many countries experimented with, including England:
The section on VTOL aircraft was very nice. I didn't know about the pre-harrier prototypes:
VTOL thrust vectoring prototype
Short SC-1, first UK VTOL aircraft
Other random planes:
first german jet aircraft
early airplane with inefficient propeller
So again, while it was not an aviation museum, it sure had a worthwhile collection to check out.
York didn't require as much time to visit as originally planned, so I had 3.5H to spare, and figured I would visit the nearby Yorkshire Air Museum. There are only 2 busses a day that go there and I had already missed the 2nd one, but uber got me there.
At the entrance, I was told that 3H would be barely enough, so I rushed a bit, but in the end, 2.5H ended up being enough to see the whole thing. Thankfully I got a ride back from a nice museum visitor. While it's not a huge museum, and not the best one in the UK, it has some interesting and a few rare planes:
love the windshield wipers :)
Mirage IV nuclear bomber, the only one outside of France
this one got me excited, the electric lightening, one of the highest flying jet planes outside of the US
a 5000 ton bomb, to penetrate tunnels and caves
an early glider prototype
GB put effort into big airships too, but they prooved too problematic and dangerous in the end
They had a control tower, and copy of the french pilots quarters
While I kind of regret not having had the chance to see bigger aviation museums while in the UK, but this one at least gave me a taste :)