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Monday, November 13, 2017

Dawn Flight to Martha's Vineyard to Pick up PopPop

Dawn launch
My father in law had been doing 7-8 hour drives from Philadelphia to Martha's Vineyard to stay with his friend. He is in his 80's and this was getting to be too much for him. I offered him a ride in the Velocity. I have had two Velocities and have been flying one or the other since 2000, but he has never so much as sat in either one. However, he just couldn't bring himself to do that awful drive and finally agreed. We had a perfect flight up and it took only 83 minutes from wheels up to landing. He was very impressed and had fun on the flight.

He finally called up and was ready to come home. We had plans in the afternoon, but offered to pick him up early. The Velocity cruises at around 200 mph and we planned to leave at 7:30, pick him up at around 9:00 and be home before lunch. It's crazy how far you can travel in the Velocity at these speeds.

I prepped the plane the night before and got a weather briefing at dawn. We were warned of extensive fog along our route, which was forecast to clear later in the morning. This turned out to be the best part of the flight as the fog and rising sun combined for beautiful orange sunrise pictures.


We took off just as the sun was rising. It was beautiful. Here are some pictures taken during climb out, before the sun was high enough to create bright colors.

View off the right canard as we climb out northbound.

Sunrise winglet

As the sun rises, it bathes the winglet in orange light

Here's a nice panoramic shot taken with my Iphone. Pan back and forth and it's like you are in the cockpit.


The fog in the valleys was gorgeous. Here are some shots as we continue northward with the sun rising to our right. 

Valley fog.

Fog and mountains in New York

Beautiful light and fog


Foggy valley to the west

We made great time as we cruised along at 190 knots in perfectly smooth air.


We reach the New England coast and cruise up the shoreline. The views are spectacular.


Here is a video of our approach and landing at Martha's Vineyard. It is about 2 1/2 minutes long and gives a good feel for what it's like to fly your Velocity there.


Pop Pop is waiting at the terminal when we land. We top off the fuel and do a quick turn for home right on schedule.

Pop Pop ready for his ride - not nervous this time.

Nancy and her Dad

Me and the Dad - in - Law

We climbed out and headed for the coast. Pop Pop (Terry) took in the view from the copilot's seat.

Like last time, we lucked out with perfect visibility and glassy smooth air. This is a great way to introduce someone to flying.

Here are some pictures of the hop over to the coast. Once again we were "feet wet" for only around 10 minutes.

Happy father in law
Bye Martha's Vineyard!
The view back toward the island

The coast comes into view right after takeoff

Almost there

Cockpit view

Here is a quick video as we cruise down the coast.


Here are some more pictures as we cruise southbound along the coast.

View of the coast over the canard

Deep river valley

Cruising the coast

Winglet view of the sun on the ocean

Cockpit view from the back

View of New York lakes to the west

West Point Military Academy on the Hudson River
Endless visibility as we enter Pennsylvania

A few puffy clouds add to the photos as we pass over Allentown.

CAVU skies

Puffy clouds and farmland


Limerick Nuclear plant - Easy navigation from here

Allentown-Bethlehem Airport

Downtown Allentown

In no time, we near home - Chester County Airport. Here are some shots of the approach and landing. 

Some of the best visibility I've ever experienced.

45 for downwind for landing

Base to final turn for Runway 11

Winglet view of final turn. Note nearby nuclear plume/navigation aid.

Lining up

Short final

Back on the ground at the hangar. Nancy is happy to have helped out her Dad. He had a quick hour and a half scenic flight instead of a whole day in the car. 

Mission complete
It was a great excuse to take a fun flight in the plane and we had a great time. I love my Velocity.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rough River 2017

 Every September the biggest canard fly in is held at Rough River, Kentucky. It is an airport on a national park in Falls of Rough. There is a lodge, nice cabins, a lake and, most importantly, a ramp filled with EZ's, Cozies, and Velocities.

We had wanted to go for years, as many of our good flying friends are regulars, but one thing or another always prevented us from going. This year, however, the weather was perfect and we had no conflict so we were able to make it. We were extremely glad we did.

We went down from Friday through Sunday. We caught up with a bunch of friends we normally only see at Oshkosh and made a bunch of great new friends. We hung out, looked at airplanes, went out to dinner, watched fly by's and even did some fly by's and formation flying ourselves.

Here are a few pictures to give you the idea of what it's like.

On Thursday night I prepped and packed the plane.

Ready to go!


We had to wait a bit for weather to clear, so we missed my standard "Oh Dark thirty " departure, but we were wheels up by about 9:00. 

Oshkosh gear on and ready to go.

Weather clearing and ready to launch.

Selfie as we begin our cruise to Kentucky

As always, I feel like we packed too much.


It is still a little hazy as we head out along course for Kentucky. The visibility got better as we cruised along. 

Headed southwest at 4,500.

Crossing the ridges of the Appalachians

Fog filled valley

Here is our route on the Ipad


We decided to stop a few miles short of Rough River for a fuel stop as there is no fuel and no services there. We decided on Lebanon Springfield Airport . 

We aren't used to this kind of friendly service or reasonable prices. Our airport, KMQS, is run by Signature. Fuel is $6.25 a gallon and there are fees for everything. 

The man at the desk at the FBO ran out to the self serve pump with cold bottles of free water. He then pumped the fuel for us. He apologized because he had just raised the price to $3.70 a gallon - almost half price compared to what we were used to. We then went into the spotless FBO and were given free fresh cookies. I HIGHLY recommend this place as a stop. 

Terminal building

Courtesy car

Photo op - We are in Kentucky!

Amazingly cheap fuel

The nice pilot lounge

Free chocolate chip cookie? Winning!

It is just a short hop from our fuel stop to Rough River. We look down and see lots and lots of canards already parked on the ramp.

Our friends Brett and Elizabeth Ferrell are already there and hear us call in on the radio. Brett got a great video of our approach and landing. Meanwhile, Nancy got a brief video of our landing from our perspective.


After landing, we are met by Brett and Elizabeth - in matching Oshkosh purchased Velocity shirts no less. We unload the plane, drop our stuff at our cabin and head to the lodge for lunch.
All matchy with the Ferrells

Two folding bikes, two bags and groceries. The Velocity hauls a ton.

Lunch at the lodge.

Nancy's Kentucky sized salad

Brett and Elizabeth

Nancy and Elizabeth check out the cabin.

After lunch, it's time to head over to the ramp to hang out with airplanes and pilots. It is very sunny and very warm. We had a great time talking to everyone and checking out their planes.

Nancy with Victor Fox, built by the Ferrells

Good shot of the Fox and ramp full of canards

Rene' Dugas' Velocity XL

Nancy in the shade by our plane. Our folding bikes were great.

Camp N929X

A very early model Velocity with original split canopy.

Rene's door is at exactly the wrong height for me. Ouch! Over and over.

Rene' and Nancy

Brooke, Nancy, Rene' and Brett watching fly by's.

Nancy and Rene as an Eracer taxies by.

Rene' Dugas and his Velocity

Rene', Brett and Brook

The Ferrells show their winglets as we tuck the plane in at the end of the day.

Brett and I banking left.


Ready to bike back to our cabin

After tucking in the planes, we head back to our nice air conditioned cabins for showers and a change of clothes. After a nice dinner, we gather in the Ferrell's cabin for drinks, stories and to celebrate Brett's birthday. 

Rene' has found his happy place

Nancy with Brett and Brook

Rene' shows his winglet pose.

....which inspires a group winglet pose.

Rene' assembles his snack with surgical precision. See? Just so.

Brett is presented with his birthday cake and is somewhat enthusiastic.

Elizabeth's cake box picture frame.

"I know Brett, but you have to share it".

"As long as I get my name slice."


Toward the end of the night I almost got a face full of praying mantis. the thing landed on my glass just as I was about to take a sip. We shared a toast and I set him free outside.


My new buddy.


The next day started with a flat tire on my bike. I fixed it and we biked back up to the ramp. We spent some time taking pictures and hanging out. 

Stupid tiny pump!

Rene' surveys the action.

Tons of canards

The plane is uncovered and ready for the day.

My happy place - planes and a camera.


After some discussion, Rene', Tim and I decided to do some formation fly by's in our Velocities. We spent a good bit of time briefing it. Rene' is a CFI and Tim is also very experienced. I figured that I could at least hold position for simple passes after 300 hours in my Velocity. 

Me with Rene'

Reiff with Tim, Rene and me as we brief the flight.

Brett and Reiff will join us to take the photos and video.

Nancy got a quick shot of us as we lined up and started the engines.


Cool picture. The three of us lined up and ready for takeoff.

Tim Nelson, Rene' Dugas and me ready to launch.


Here are some air to air shots taken as we flew around and practiced our formations. This was extremely cool and very hard work. 

My plane off the wing of Tim's

Nice shot of my plane

Rene' in good position

Shot of Rene's plane off my wing taken by Reiff

Tim and Rene' over my wing.

Tim and Rene' ease closer.

Banking left

So cool.

Here is the view from my ship as I follow Tim Nelson on our first pass in formation. Photos by Reiff Lorenz.

Tim's plane ahead as we descend.

The runway comes into view

Passing over the airport behind Tim.
Almost there.

Lookdown view of the ramp as we zoom past.

View over the canard

Pulling up.


Here are three even nicer shots of our pass from the winglet cam on Tim's plane. 

I follow Tim midfield as we do our pass.
Rene' and I over the field behind Tim

Pulling up and turning over the dam.


Here are some shots taken of our pass from the ramp. Not too bad for a first try.


After the formation passes, we do individual passes in trail. 


Rene' - up close and personal

Me in N929X

Nice close up.

Climbing away.

Tim's plane.


After the flight, we taxied back in for some pictures and rest. I was very happy to have been able to take part in this. I really appreciate the instruction from Rene' and Tim and look forward to doing better next time. Still, I am satisfied with how this first try worked out. 

Tim taxies in with his speed brake deployed.

Here comes Doc Rene'.

Reiff and I taxi in last.

Tim Nelson and Brett Ferrell. Note Tim's clam shell door.

Rene's ship parked again.

The pilots - Rene', Tim and me.

The whole crew - Brett, Rene', Tim, me and Reiff.

Finishing off with an Eagle One Right.


After parking the planes, we head over to the lodge for lunch, then back to the ramp for more airplane time. The weekend is going by really quickly and we plan to take off for home tomorrow morning.

Elizabeth with Tim Dave

Brett and Elizabeth at lunch

Checking out the pool. Next time I bring a bathing suit. It's hot out.

Rene' in his canard pose.

Hanging by the plane.

Dave Adams. The hardest working man in canard aviation.

Proof of attendance. Our first tip here.

As Saturday afternoon drew to a close, we covered the plane, hopped on the bikes and headed back to the cabin to clean up, then went out to dinner at a nice restaurant on the far side of the runway.  It was a really fun and enjoyable day with our friends, doing our favorite thing, playing with airplanes.

Nancy and Rene' head out.

Brett, Elizabeth and Rene' head to their car.

Canard parking at sunset as I ride home on my clown bike.

Nancy and Elizabeth point out the catchy name of the restaurant.

Lots of menu jokes about being located at the dam.

Nancy approves.

Bacon wrapped pork!

A nice little steak and Texas toast with fried mushrooms.

Reiff was very specific when ordering his triple bacon BLT

"Mmmm, gooooood", as Homer would say.


After dinner, it's party time in another cabin. 

Rowdy pilots

"What happens in Rough River stays in Rough River"

Nancy and Elizabeth

Strong, like bull!
Elizabeth and Reiff

All too soon it was Sunday morning and time to pack up. Elizabeth and Nancy made us all a nice breakfast. There is no explanation for Rene's breakfast.
Chef Elizabeth and her breakfast bounty

Rene' with another forkful  (???) of bagel.

Eggs and jelly. Wow.

Lots of baggage

After breakfast, I bike up to the airport to get the dew off the plane and do my preflight. The sun is just coming up, it's not hot yet and it's just gorgeous out. 

Long sunrise shadow from my folding bike.

View of the ramp as I ride to the airport.

Lots of morning dew on the planes.

Rene's Velocity

Our plane with a shadow thumbs up. Great trip.

Brett joins me on the ramp.

Scenic picture of Brett's N44VF

Artsy shot of dew on the VG's.

Brett and Reiff

Here are some shots from the way home. We had a nice flight and made it in about three hours from western Kentucky to Philadelphia.

Selfie as the autopilot guides us home.

Lexington, Kentucky

View of downtown

River view.

View of our route on the Ipad.

Beautiful clouds and deep blue sky

Winglet view of the ridges

Puffy cloud and clearing skies

Last ridge before home.

Cloud line over the ridge as we cross into the flatlands

Back at the hangar after another  great weekend in the plane.