~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Saturday Wanderings

It's getting a bit chilly in the mornings, at least by AZ standards, and I'm getting old and soft, so I hadn't planned on riding the bike out to Coolidge Airport this past Saturday morning.  But the Mrs. had her heart set on going yard sale'ing Saturday morning so I did the honorable thing and rode the bike so she could have our only car for her own adventures.  I had suggested she take her scooter rather than our car but she exclaimed "I won't have room for anything if I buy something!" Exactly.

So I rode the bike to the airport and it wasn't that cold, in the low 40s, but it was the first use of my leather jacket this Fall/Winter.  Not bad, December 4 and still comfy.  And I rode home in shirtsleeves. Wonderful afternoon riding weather makes memories of the blistering Arizona summer heat fade away.

At the airport I got to see P-51 Mustangs fly in and out this time.   Great fun.  Even better, it's a rural airport and a very low key gathering so photographers are allowed to stand out near the runway as as long as we stay at least 100ft back from the pavement.  Most stand a bit further back because zoom lenses have all the reach needed and no one wants to be a bug on a P51 prop.

North American P-51D called "Stang"

It's really a great experience to be able to get so close to the planes when they are taking off or doing a fly-by, very much like the olden days of bike racing in America when crowds at a race track could get right down on the wall to watch the races.  All wonderful, at least until something goes wrong.  Most things worth doing involve some risk.

Amongst the planes flying in this month were two P-51D Mustangs, a Rearwin Cloudster, a Beech "Staggerwing", an Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainer, a North American T-28C, and a Twin Star twin diesel powered composite speedster from Germany.

1965 Aero L-29 Delfin from the old Czechoslovakia

Someone was talking to the owner of the L-29. The Delfins are not real pricey as jets go and the owner of the one above was said to have grabbed it in a down market for $45k. Then, as with other "good deals" like a used Ferrari, Chris Craft boat, or super model wife, the maintenance bills started to arrive.  I'm guessing motorcycles are dirt cheap compared to owning and operating any vintage aircraft beyond a Piper Cub replica.

A couple of more favorites from the day:

North America T-28C.  US training aircraft c1960
1944 Beech D17S also known as "the Staggerwing Beech"  This plane represented both speed and class in the 1930's.

The rest of the photos from the morning are here.


Geoff James said...

We had similar Saturdays, what with my visit to the home of the NZ Warbirds. There's a T28 here too but didn't see it this time. The sound like they're running on half their cylinders! If you're interested, these are the planes owned by the NZ Warbirds: http://www.nzwarbirds.org.nz/aircraft.html.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Glad some of us get to ride still.

I know nothing about planes, but that P51 photo almost gave me wood.


mq01 said...

excellent day! 40's can be fun to ride in, i know bob seems to prefer it (well cold temps over hot anyway). i havent done air shows in quite a few yrs, hmmm, ive missed them :) hey, happy holidays doug and family!

Twitch said...

I've always wanted to learn to fly, but never got round to it. Came very close to taking up ultralights at one stage, but wife got in the way.

Unknown said...


I've always loved to watch planes. We often have brunch at a local airstrip and watch the touch and goes, and the helicopters. There are often neat looking homebuilts arriving or leaving but you are not allowed on the runways

Wet Coast Scootin

FLHX_Dave said...

I was denied flight because of my hearing and sinus problems. Riding a bike is the next best thing.

You are victorious again. Nothing sounds as good as a P-51...not even a Harley Doug, not even a Harley.

Greybeard said...

What a nice day. I envy you.
A friend owns an L-29. Noisy bitch.

When I got home from Viet Nam I almost bought a Staggerwing Beech. I let my uncle talk me out of it because "it's old and you'll have trouble maintaining the hydraulics in the landing gear".
Price then- $17,000.
Price today- $250,000 and up.
I shoulda gone with my hunch.

Doug Klassen said...

Greybeard, I'd guess we've all had those opportunities in the past. I just tell myself that whatever cool thing I should have bought for a song would have been lost in the divorce anyway.

By the way, thanks for your service in Viet Nam. Respect here for all who have honorably served their country.

Gary said...

Love the Pictures, My Dream Aircraft is the the P-51, I have flown the Sea Fury, A Harvard, and a Goose, but would have died and gone to Heaven if I ever had a chance to fly a 51, Thanks for the Pictures

Greybeard said...

Thanks for that Doug.
Say hello to friend Stu O. when you next see him.

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