Add a few more "oh"s
- At noon, New Year's eve, returning to the office after lunch it was
snowing. The forecast even said so too. The pigs cut me loose early
at 3:00pm and I was taken back as I walked outside. Bright sunshine
and a heat wave of 40 degrees.
This is my chance, thought I. So I run home, grab all my old
snowmobile gear, and get to the Beaver airport at 3:45. I spend the
next 25 minutes plowing a trail so I can taxi from my hangar to the
asphalt runway (about 2,200 feet one way). Feeling like I can't wait
any longer and was nipping into my flying time, I decide to give it a
On the south side of the hangar, there is no snow but a 10 foot wide
swath of mud bounded by the front of my hangar to the north and
terminating south by snow which gradually increased in depth to 6-
inches. I laid down some sheet metal that was left over from hangar
building to bridge the mud to the snow. This worked wonderfully. I
rolled out the Drifter, pre-flighted, donned the winter suit, full
face snowmobile helmet, and started it up. Man I was excited. I
hadn't flown since the day before Thanksgiving. My excitement was
After it is all warmed up I start to taxi down my truck tracks. I had
to give it a little extra throttle to keep the tailwheel up. Things
were going rather well. On the taxi toward the asphalt runway I was
doing somewhere around 25 mph. I thought, "jeez, just a little more
throttle and I'll get airborne. No need to go to the asphalt." No
sooner had I given it full throttle, then my right wheel found the
edge of the trail I had packed. It jetisoned me off to the right into
a field of fresh powder snow. The drag of the dense snow brought my
tail all the way up into the air, and I was sliding on the bottom of
the nose cone of the Drifter to a stop - 30 feet away from my truck
tracks. I'm glad there wasn't anyone there to laugh at that one. It
must have looked hilarious. No harm done though.
I got out. Tried to push it by hand. No budge. Gave it a little
throttle, no budge. Packed down a little trail for the wheels with my
feet. Budge. So, 5-6 feet at a time I finally got it back on the tire
trail. Phew. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Guess I'll go over
to the asphalt runway to takeoff...
Yeehah! I hope I never get used to the feeling of them wheels
separating from mother earth.
I'm not quite over the end of the runway, and at around 400 feet, the
engine starts to sputter and cough. I back off the throttle a tad.
Classic water in the fuel tanks. DOH! I had not taken my own advice
and added the HEET. I had a case of the stuff sitting back at the
hangar. I decided to stay in the pattern to see if it would clear
which it did soon enough. One and a half patterns later I departed on
News Flash!...There still ain't nothin' more fun than flying. DOH!
I haven't yet flown when there was so much snow on the ground. The
earth seemed shiny, new, clean with it's white paint job and blue sky
vinyl top. I went to my favorite flying area that is a long field on
a plateau that terminates in a 200 feet drop off. No powerlines.
Loh & Sloh & Snoh!
One of my purposes was to fly over an area on I-15 where the olympic
torch will be coming through in February. I had never flew on this
section I was investigating. There is a nice road that isn't really a
frontage, but the abandoned highway alignment which yielded to I-15
construction. This is approximately 100 yards away from the freeway.
Ain't it fun to dance around the freeway? Watching cars sloh down to
watch. Given em a bit of a shoh! Can't wait for the torch. Hope the
weather is good then and there is a way for me to takeoff.
I had been flying for an hour. I told myself that maybe I oughta not
push it. Fuel tanks were 3/4 when I took off. So, I go over to the
asphalt runway and land on it the upslope way.
I stop, look around. Ah, sheesh! There's still just under half the
fuel. I'm outta here! Juicing the throttle I climb out and there's
that pesky water in the fuel again. Apparently, the angle on WOT
climbout puts the fuel pickup right in the water spot. Dang I shoulda
put that Heet in there. DOH!
Well the water clears again and I fly till the sun starts to shade
the airport. Time to put er in. On final I look up and think, "jeez
them clouds is purty, loh too, and the sun is still shinin'....'I'm
there!" So up I go into the lavender frosted sky. I haven't flown in
the clouds for a very long time. This was to become the best
experience I have had with clouds. These weren't bumpy just purty.
Thin, but not so thin that you could see through them. Of course,
they weren't lavender anymore when I get there, but they're still
mighty purty. I dance through the tops of em for awhile. Finally the
sun leaves them too. I turn back toward the airport, still above the
clouds. I could see a disturbance trail where I had flown through the
clouds. Very Cool!
I think to myself, Richie's hot tub never looked or felt this good.
All good things must come to an end. By the time I get it down and in
the hangar, answer a phone call, and lock it up, it's dark and them
clouds I was up in, were coming back down to see my like they missed
me or something. I drove home in thick, dark fog.
2nd News Flash! Tell the Shlitz guy he's wrong! It does get a lot
better than that!