archive for November, 2006

Flying: Big and Small

Jes and I flew from Santa Monica to El Monte this morning. The weather was beautiful with clear air and calm winds. We had a little trouble identifying exactly where the airport was, but there were plenty of other landmarks so we were never lost. I just kept flying where I thought it was and it turned out to be right. The airport isn’t very big, but it’s another local one that I should be familiar with.

After we got home, we drove over to a local park with some friends to fly our new R/C airplanes. Jeremy took off first, got it caught in the wind, and nearly lost it in someone’s yard. Looking back, we probably shouldn’t have been flying with the wind (it was probably 0-10 mph). Anyway, once he found his plane, we tried again. This time we both took off at the same time. I didn’t want to lose my plane, so I tried for a short flight. Unfortunately, a piece of the wing broke on “landing”. Jer’s survived another landing, but had to go for a bit of a walk to find it. He was able to make a couple more short flights before his broke in a similar way as mine.

Back at home, I was able to repair the wing and tried to reinforce it. I don’t know how well it’ll hold up, but I’m going to try to find a larger field and only fly it on super calm days. Based on the hard landings that Jer’s plane survived, I’ll be able to keep flying mine if I’m lucky.

Roller Costers and Dog Fights

I just updated to the latest version of WordPress, and what better way to test it than to blog a bit? I’ve been meaning to write about last weekend, so here goes…

We started off Saturday by driving down to Disneyland. Our season passes were about to expire, and we wanted to make one more trip. Even though we showed up late, we were able to hit all of the best rides and attractions (Tower of Terror, California Screamin’, Orange Stinger, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Astro Blasters, Star Tours, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean).

We had dinner at the House of Blues which was a great way to end the day. Instead of driving home, we stayed at the Sheraton on Harbor. It was a bit expensive, but very nice. The service was excellent, and it’ll probably be the first place we think of staying the next time we’re sleeping in Anaheim.

Not to be outdone, Sunday was also quite a day. From Anaheim, we drove down to Carlsbad (just north of San Diego) where we had reservations for a dog fight at 1:00.  Of course, we remembered the time change at the hotel, but not in the car.  We ended up getting in with a couple extra hours, so we drove down highway 101 along the coast.  After having lunch and taking our dramamine, we headed on over to the airport.

After getting checked in, we were briefed on how the dog fights work.  Somehow, one of our pilots was double booked and still flying another customer in a biplane.  I started to get nervous that our flight would be canceled when the marine layer started rolling in, but by 2:00ish we were ready to go.  Luckily the clouds turned out to not be an issue.

We taxied, and took off in formation.  On the way out, my plane was the wingman and flew under and to the side of the lead plane.  The closest thing I’d done to flying in formation was being towed in a glider.  It takes quite a bit of skill and was a lot of fun to experience.  Once we’d made it out over the ocean, our pilots showed us how the dog fights work.  The planes start out by crossing each other and then snapping into a tight circle.  You can climb to tighten the turn or descend to get speed and widen out.  By making the right maneuvers at the right time, you can get behind the other plane that’s trying to get behind you — at least in theory.

After three fights, Jesse came out ahead.  She was able to “shoot me down” in the first round.  The second time, she went below the hard deck.  The third time, I’m not so sure, but they said that my plane went below the hard deck.  Oh well, win or lose, it was still loads of fun.

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