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Tales from the Log of the Ruptured Duck

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Kayak Jack, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member


    No, not the stuff generated by rapacious cooking. The stuff for sircrsft engines.

    A series of short hops had left the Duck getting low on fuel. Checking prices around the area, i found Brooks Field in Marshall had the best. We needed to blow out some cobwebs anyway, so flying to another field to "save $0.50 a gallon" made sense. Anyway, to my twisted mind it made sense.

    One thing we noticed right off, was that the farm fields are much dryer than a month ago. Low areas near fields are still damp and soggy, but fields are in good shape. Winter wheat this time of year is the most eye catching green I know of. Looks like every stem has a green light shining in it.

    Sky divers and parachuters were up today. On the weather briefing they cautioned me, and on the radio we could hear the cautionary call,"Jumpers AWAY!" It's easy to avoid these jump areas, but still I scan all around. It would scare the bejazus out of me to see a diver go plummeting past, or a chute drifting down up ahead.

    One of the things we always notice and appreciate is the open friendliness of folks in the aviation community, wherever we go. Maybe once every couple of years we run into something else, but even then it has been easy to get along. Most are even nicer than me.

    A slow moving warm front that stretched from South Dakota SE'ly down to northern IL & IN, held a couple of high pressure systems hostage - to our benefit. We had clear skies for 4-5 miles up, and visibility of 25-30 miles. An interesting line of fast wind at 6,000' to about 10,000' was off to our west. Thankfully, it stayed away from of us.

    As we approached home field back at Mason, a student pilot was in the pattern. His radio calls were non-standard, and not real communicative. After a few of them, I thought he was soloing, I almost advised him to get with his instructor for help. Then, a familiar voice came from the plane. His instructor took over the radio, and transmitted properly what the pilot's intentions were. I recognized the voice, and relaxed. The student wasn't alone, and the training will be done.

    A cup of coffee at Bestsellers Coffeeshop capped off our day. Cheated death again.
  2. grandpa paddler

    grandpa paddler Well-Known Member

    Really??? Now that's hard to imagine. Who could be nicer than Jack? Other than me that is :mrgreen:
  3. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

  4. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    I've written about this before. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has separate programs for introducing people into aviation. For kids, it's Young Eagles, where over 2,000,000 kids have ridden with EAA pilots. I work the other end of the stick, the Adult Eagle program.

    A few days ago, friend Jeff contacted me. He's interested in learning to fly, and then buying a plane for pleasure and family transportation. My introductory part of this involves Jeff filling out an application, and taking him for a ride.

    It isn't just a "kick the tires and light the fires" preparation, though. Here, we involve the subject in the flight. Prior to the preflight inspection, I'll explain the checklist (it's chuck full of abbreviations - some standard, and some uniquely mine), what we will be doing, and why. Then, he and I will accomplish the walk-around preflight. It will probably take about twice as long as normal.
    Next, a full, standard weather briefing. Again, I'll explain ahead of time what I'm listening for and why.

    In the plane, prior to engine start, we'll go through a passenger safety briefing. I'll explain the things he must do in case of a forced landing, and have hime do two, slow rehearsals. I'll explain how he must remain clear of the flight controls, and while in flight let him maneuver them a bit. Ease the yoke forward and houses get bigger. Ease the yoke back and houses get smaller. The idea here is to safely demonstrate general aviation aviation to a novice, immerse them in a bit of it, and arrange interesting scenery to hook them.

    Then, we go get a cuppa coffee. YAHHHHhhhhh!
  5. oldbuffpilot

    oldbuffpilot Well-Known Member

    Way to go Jack! These programs are important for many reasons. I've had a blast with Young Eagles-- some are now Airline Pilots one military.
  6. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    I didn't know you were EAA, Andy. Good on ya. Going to OSH this year? We're going for our first time.
  7. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member


    A nice holiday weekend, and my Son and his family are visiting. Well, when my Granddaughter requested an airplane ride, I nodded assent. Winds were under 5mph, and the air was still. We headed out to the airfield.

    While I was preflighting the Duck, a new hangar neighbor strolled over and asked for a hand, tightening up a nut and bolt while he held up a bracket. My Son walked on back with him while i pulled the Duck out to fly. Another hangar neighbor across the way, had just taxied out his Boeing Stearman, and was already airborne.

    Jasmine and I lifted off on runway 10, banked right, and flew just 15 miles S'ly to a lake where three boats were fishing, and one was circling. Darned circle boaters! Oddly, no golfers were out on the adjacent course. I'd expected to see lots of foursomes strolling about. Maybe they're off visiting elswhere?

    Our time was limited so i scanned the sky off to my left for any other traffic and, seekng none, rolled left and started to loop back to the field. In a no wind condition, I somehow accomplished a near perfect squeaker landing. Off to our left, a sandhill crane winged along. A dumber bird is hard to find.

    My daughter in law was next. We flew a similar route, over the lake and back. Alas, this landing wasn't quite as smooth, but we were able to walk away from it. Eric and his family left to scout out a baseball game. Julie and I left for our favorite Mexican restaurant. Another interesting day.
  8. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    Does that yoke thing work on boats like it does on houses? I have a couple boats that need to be a little bigger.:rolleyes:
  9. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Yes, all boats that can top 100 mph respond to an up-yoke command. About 0.14 to 0.15 Mach oughta do it for you. ;-)
    Let us know the results of your tests?
  10. oldbuffpilot

    oldbuffpilot Well-Known Member

  11. oldbuffpilot

    oldbuffpilot Well-Known Member

    Had the pleasure to associate with and volunteer EAA for many years. When I decided to completely retire from flying, I made a clean break, ie cold turkey. Sometimes I miss the folks.
  12. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Andy, thank you for your service. And, I'm glad to hear of your EAA affiliation.
    We find EAA folks to be stimulating people. It's always invigorating to be around a concentrated collection of knowledge, skill, and expertise. Stirs the soul and awakens the psyche.
  13. NWDad

    NWDad Active Member

    You will love OSH Jack. It really is a great show. I have been there once many years ago. However I only live about a mile from the Arlington Fly-in and have gone many times. At one house we lived in we could walk to the front gate or watch it from our front yard.
  14. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Kev. Julie and I are looking forward to it. Turns out, a couple that she went to highschool with are volunteers there every year. So, they can provide some inside information. Also, the folks we're going with are longtimers.

    I've never been sorry that I'm involved in aviation. Really good folks to rub elbows with. Wouldn't it be something if someone else who reads these posts, gets interested, and goes on to learn to fly.
  15. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member


    During WWI, pilots launched at dawn to hunt for enemy aircraft to shoot down, or any other targets of opportunity. Now, they launch in early mornings to fly in for breakfast. Much better.

    Yesterday morning, at 06:45, I stood ready, armed with a spatula and about 1,500 eggs, to help cook breakfasts. Another guy was breaking them onto the hot griddle for me. (An old Marine who'd had a lot of grill experience, he broke two at a time.). Another guy was vulcanizing pancakes. And yet another pair were frying sausages and mixing pancake batter. A cadre of Boy Scous bussed tables and washed trays.

    Outside of the hangar, crews were parking aircraft and cars, clearing kids away from whirling props, and showing their airplanes to curious parents and sticky fingered toddlers.

    After my 2 hour stint, my Instructor Pilot and her husband relieved me, and I drank three, big glasses of icewater. I was spitting dust. Then, I walked around to gawk at the crowds and talk with friends. Hey! What's this pulling in? Sports cars! Alfa Romeo, MG, and a three-wheeled Morgan. Remember that odd car that Peter Sellers drove? Powered by an air cooled V-2, it's something that only the English would think up.

    Gatherings such as this, on sunny Saturday mornings, are part of what the aviation community is about. Paddlers have boat shows and rallies, and pilots have fly ins and pancake breakfasts. The smiles are just as prevalent at both kinds of gatherings. Friends - both old and new - are just as many. And the stories are pretty similar too..

    "There I was, fully loaded, entering the rapids, when a wave . . . ." "There I was, slippiing it in for a landing in strong crosswinds, when a big gust . . . ."

    Come join us sometime.
  16. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member


    Today, Jeff and I preflighted the Duck, aired up the nose strut. Checked fuel, called for a weather briefing, and took off. About 10 other pilots were flying young eagles; we squoze into the line to take off.

    A few miles W'ly of Mason KTEW, is Skyway Estates. About 12 homes line the sod runway. Jeff was able to spot it right away. Turning left, we flew S'ly past the town of Eaton Rapids. Situated aspraddle of Michigan's Grand River, there used to be woolen mills here. Large water wheels powered them. They were gone by the time I was a kid. East of town is Arrowhead Archery, where I bought my crossbow. Jeff is an archer too, and already familiar with Arrowhead.

    Back at Mason, the traffic pattern was busy. Coordination on the radio let us enter the pattern, and we made a pretty good landing. Cheated death again.

    I'd recorded the whole flight on Cloud Ahoy, so will be able to replay it for him. Most importantly, Jeff can now join the chapter with some experience. I've connected him with guys in Spartan Wings, the flying club here. It offers a very good avenue to flight training.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  17. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Jeff thinks that he's interested in a plane for his family. So, something for 4 adults plus some luggage. That means that, with a full fuel load, he will need capacity for, say, 1,000-1,300 pounds of people and cargo. The Duck can carry about half of that, so a Cessna 172 isn't in this picture.

    He's thinking this over, writng down ideas, and we'll get together over coffee. Then, we can winnow out some options.
  18. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member


    Photographic reconnaissance has been around in the USA since somewhere in the 1800s. On pleasant afternoons, adventerous folks would haul whatever sufficed for a camera then, aboard a hot air balloon. The ballon could be free floating or tethered. In war time, it was a good way to scout out troop positions of enemy forces. Good, that is, until those enemy forces spotted the balloon. "Hey, Fred! What are those funny little holes that keep appearing in our wicker basket? OHH! There's another one!"

    Today, Kev tied three cameras onto the Duck, and we took off. Several years ago, I had laid out a route over some pretty lake country in southern Michigan. I definitely have to modify the route though, because it traverses near to Napolean Airfield where they do skydiving. Another concern is that while the area around my home field seems to have clear skies often, lands 20-40 miles S'ly are lower and wetter. Ground fog and clouds are more common there. This morning, about 80% of the route had low clouds.

    Since part of my charter to fly with visual flight rules (VFR) are to "see and be seen", I have to remain clear of clouds. That basically means 500' below them, 1,000' in between (on all sides), and 2,000' above. When the clouds are, say 1,500-2,000' feet above ground level (AGL), it squeezes a plane down too low to be relaxed and enjoy the scenery beolw.

    We were at 3,000' on the first leg, but soon had to drop down lower. We had guardian angels watching us on radar, but VFR traffic is not their primary job, so it is still my job to not fly into things that inhabit the edges of the sky - like towers, other planes, or the earth.

    We landed in Hillsdale Field, KJYM, and stumbled into another bunch of geezers in the hangar. I can smell pancake breakfasts from a long ways away, even upwind. I wish that I'd have been hungry, but wasn't. We palavered with these guys a while, discussed mutual friends, posted a flier advertising our Mason Aviation Day on 19 August, and took off again. Those low clouds now precluded us seeing two, long chains of lakes. One of them stretches across Michigan's southern border into Indiana. We paddlers are always looking for more waters to ply. But, another day.

    On our way home, we overflew Duck Lake. It's an old, familiar land mark. Then, still having to remain somewhere between 900-1,500' AGL, we threaded between some towers as we approached home from the southwest. PLOP SQUAWK and we were on the ground again. Cheated death again.

    After tucking in the Duck, we were off to the Bestsellers Coffeeshop and Vault Deli. I'm spoiled.
  19. Wannabe

    Wannabe Well-Known Member

    With three cameras I was expecting pictures. Altitude is your friend if it doesn't put you in the clouds. Sounds like you had a fun day Jack. Congratulations.
  20. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen the pictures yet. He figurrd that with three cameras aloft for 1.6 hours, it will edit out to about 5-10 minutes. I think that next time, we'll orient the cameras differently. But, with the difficulties folks are reporting in posting pictures here, I doubt that I'll get any on here?

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