So for the past two weeks I’ve been staying with Jim, Darlene and their son Hal at the Springs East Airport in Ellicott, CO. I stay out in this small terminal building by the runway which acts as sort of the lobby for the establishment. I mostly help out with carpentry stuff, which I prefer to most outdoor work anyway, and the food here is great and the vibe is great too.
At the beginning I got a little lonely because there wasn’t anyone there my age or humor level (ie – no one here is really immature). However, and these are key reasons I went on this trip, I stuck it out for a few days and found I had tons in common with these folks. I love cards, so do they, I like to tease people I like and SO DO THEY! We’re all currently besties thank you very much.
As promised, I’ve gotten to go up in a few small airplanes. The first was an CR-4, a sporty little number with this guy named Tom. I think that was his name.
This thing was slick. Average cruising speed of about 150mph and we did a few dives and got up to 4gs. For those 5th graders reading this blog, a G is normal amount of gravity, something like 9.8 lbs per square inch. Two Gs is twice that and so on and so forth.
What was cool was how much you FEEL like you’re in a plane. There’s a small compartment up front, but the only room in this guy is for you to sit. The propeller is RIGHT there and every change in the plane’s direction you can feel. When you ride a commercial jet you have to look out the window to know you’re actually in the air. This thing had great maneuverability and Tom did some pretty cool stuff.
So that was about ten days ago or so. It was my second day here.
Then on Thursday this great older guy I met took me up in his Pietenpol (peet-in-pole). This was a plane that was popular in the late 1920s. Now, obviously this isn’t a plane from the 20s, but a plan that was followed.
Of course I didn’t take a picture of the whole plane, but look how cool it is!
This guy’s name was Gil and he was pretty rad. He had been flying since the early 50s and had been able to see the change from propeller-driven planes to the jet-drive ones. Of course my camera ran out of batteries half-way into the flight, so I couldn’t get a picture with this gem of an old man, but you can see him beside me in that picture to the left. This is the kind of guy who starts out a movie with a story and is the narrator the whole time, telling you his life story, as a younger him acts it all out. We talked for well over an hour after the flight and I wish I could have recorded the conversation. He was sharp as a tack, funny, and just so kind.
Metaphor time! If the initial plane (the CR-4) was a pretty sweet roller coaster right out of Islands of Adventure (a wink to my boss FL friends) then the Pietenpol was like riding Falcor from The Neverending Story. I know I know, why would I ever want ride some stinking coaster when Falcor is ready to rumble? I’m afraid I’m not licensed to answer that question:)
This was my favorite part about the whole plane riding in general. This is a FAA-regulated warning because both of the planes are home-built projects.
They basically say, “Hey passenger, some dude built this, and then no one official really looked over it, so good luck with that.”
Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.