On Sunday, a fire broke out at Adventureland and destroyed much of Main Street. Fortunately there were no injuries. Here's an amazing photo Dave Kalwishky snapped at 1200'. I've always been impressed with the photos Dave snaps while in the air. Every time I try to snap a photo while flying, I always seem to take a picutre of a strut... or a flying wire... or a bug splat... Thanks for the picture Dave!
Perspective shift can happen in many ways. In 1987 I was preparing to be a military pilot. My best friend and college roommate and I had both been accepted into the Air National Guard and would start pilot training after college.
Paul and I had met at an aviation university and we fashioned ourselves as bush pilots – not airline pilots, bucking the “airline” mentality others had, we flew taildraggers, sail planes and spent most of our time just above the tree tops. We searched out grass strips and dirt roads to land on for adventure.
The summer before our senior year we found a derelict Luscombe tied down outside at an airport near Kansas City. We found the lady who owned it; she was an aviatrix from the 60’s. She saw the same spark in us that she had seen in herself and sold it to us.
After some maintenance and a ferry permit, Paul flew the 8A home. We completed an annual, recovered the wings and after several large cans of Never Dull we had the Luscombe looking spiffy. Our goal was to fly it to Oshkosh – then take it back to school. We made it to EAA – camped out with friends and talked about finishing school and shipping off to the Air Force that next summer.
Two weeks before I was to head back to college, I got a call at 6 AM. It was Paul’s father telling me that Paul had died in an airplane crash while giving rides in the Luscombe. An inverted spin was the best way to describe my emotional and mental state - a definite shift in perspective.
For one reason or another, my dream of flying military jets, died that day with Paul in the South Dakota field. However, this life changing event defined who I am today. It forced me “change perspective” to get out and meet new people – Diane being one of them. I took a job in aircraft sales and moved to Florida, got married, and kept flying. It was a different sight picture and looking back, one that I’m happy to see.
I still spend a lot of time at tree top level and searching out grass strips and dirt roads to land on. Cheers Paul!
We wish you a fantastic Valentines Day (a little late) and hope you can be with your loved ones, whether they be human, furry, or have a tailwheel.
As for us, Brian and I have just returned home after an extended weekend getaway where we visited our family in Arkansas. We had hoped to escape the white stuff that keeps covering our ground, but no luck - it snowed while we were down there, too. The weekend was great... and we spied a few planes in the air as we made the 10-hour drive. And, of course we picked up more Burl's beef jerky for the hangar!
Here's a picture of Sparky & the Red Baron sharing drinks one wintry night. Here's the story behind it...
The news had come out in the First World War
The bloody Red Baron was flying once more
The Allied command ignored all of its men
And called on Sparky to do it again.
Twas the night before Christmas, 40 below
When Sparky went up in search of his foe
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought
With ice on his wings Sparky knew he was caught.
Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ring out from the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man
The Baron had Sparky dead in his sights
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight
Why he didn't shoot, well, we'll never know
Or was it the bells from the village below.
The Baron made Sparky fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines
Sparky was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out, "Merry Christmas, my friend"
The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Sparky, our hero, saluted his host
And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they'd meet on some other day.
In an effort to reduce “blog” fatigue, Rachel asked if I would write some short pieces, and I am honored to help out HFFA! My corner is called “Perspective Shift”. If you fly – you know what this is but you may not know what it was called. Perspective Shift is the ability to see the overall picture and notice subtle changes. Wolfgan Langewiesche describes perspective shift as “…the pilot does not use depth perception in landing. He judges by perspective…to take in the whole perspective of the field before you and on both sides. And the thing to watch perspective for is not how high or low you are, but indication of whether you are rising or sinking.”
Perspective shift (PS) is one of the more difficult skills to learn. Being able to judge PS makes or breaks your landings. Brian taught me how to land a Stearman by mastering PS. Good PS in a Stearman, requires you to gaze forward during your level-off and using your peripheral vision (you can’t see forward), judge your sink / rise, left / right and make the correct control inputs to make a good flare to touch down. This ability to “see the big picture” makes flying truly fulfilling.
That’s what my blog is about, seeing the big picture and getting the most out of flying. So cinch down your safety belts and get ready for some broad aviation perspective!
While this will not replace Rachel’s wonderful updates, she thought it would be a good idea to add some new substance to the website. This corner will consist of nothing more than thoughts into some light-hearted conversations that go on behind the scenes known as Radial Rants.
Last week while cleaning up the basement, I came across some aircraft spark plugs (52) that I decided to sell on Ebay. These were new old-stock of sizes I do not use. Surprisingly they brought more than I was expecting, and in the process I found 80 more new ones in old military boxes. Then I started to think, how many spark plugs do we have? After wasting a few hours (that I’ll never get back) here is a list of spark plugs we have or use:
Snow blower- 1
Now let’s move to the hangar:
On the shelf spares-40
Army Stearman- 14
Red Baron Stearman-18
Old Maytag washer engine- 2
Spare engines for Stinson 12
Gas powered blender (mmm margarita’s on the go)-1
Two lamps made from a W670 engine- 4
We are the proud owners of 222 spark plugs. So what does this mean? After writing this and thinking about this originally, I won’t get back 2.5 hours of my life.
Brian and Rachel Aukes are aviation nuts based in Iowa. They love to fly, and when the weather keeps them on the ground, they love to talk about flying. When they aren't in the air, Brian keeps the airplanes running while Rachel cleans them and keeps this website running.