Visual Impact of Flying Late in the Day

by Bill ~ October 12th, 2012

Flying in the late afternoon and/or early evening is some of the best time to fly for the “visual impact” of our picturesque countryside. The farmlands of the Delmarva Peninsula and the (lowering) sun reflecting in the distant waters of the Chesapeake Bay really “make” this photo.

Chesapeake sun reflection while flying Delmarva

Flying at 3,500 feet, headed south-southeast over the northern Delmarva Peninsula in my Ercoupe. Purpose of the flight was to return to my home field (OXB, Ocean City, MD) after PASSING MY FLIGHT REVIEW with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) at Harford County Airport (0W3, near Havre de Grace, MD).

At this point in my flight the Chesapeake was about 30 miles off my right wing. I just had to fish the camera out of the flight bag and snap a couple of shots. I slid the window open on this one to eliminate “plexiglass glare” in the photo.

The cool looking horizon is because of a thin, but distinct haze layer at about 4500 feet. Other than that – the visibility was “severe clear.” Just goes to prove that if ya shoot enough pictures you occasionally end up with a good one.

And…here’s another picture taken a few minutes later…

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Silhouette

This distant shot shows the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in silhouette – caused by the sun reflections on the waters of the Bay. This was also from about 30 miles away – zoomed in a bit with the ol’ Nikon Point-n-shoot, cropped a bit and enhanced with “auto-levels” in PhotoShop Elements.

To give you an idea of the “scope” of this shot…the Chesapeake Bay bridge is 4.3 miles long, crossing the Bay in an east-west direction. The roadway on the western span, at the highest point, is 200 feet above the water. The eastern span is slightly lower, giving large ships 186 feet of clearance at high tide.

New solo pilot can teach us a lot…

by Bill ~ September 11th, 2012

Sometimes it is good to watch a new pilot perform the basics of landing. Even though this is not an Ercoupe, I was sharing the landing pattern awith this Cessna pilot as his CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) was getting him ready for his first “solo” flight. When I saw what was happening I landed and put my Eroupe back in its hangar – so I would not be a distraction as the new pilot was getting his solo wings. The following are photos of his second (of three) landings. Note that this was on the evening of 9/11/2012 – a very fitting evening for us to exercise our freedom to fly.

On short final approach…

Short Final at Ocean City Municipal Ariport

The new pilot has his Cessna on “short final” during the approach phase of landing.

Over the threshhold of the runway…

Over the threshhold

The pilot is now almost home – he is over the end of the runway.

The flare…

The Flare before landing

The Flare is where the vertical decent is halted and the airplane is ready to gently land on the runway.


Touchdown at OXB

The pilot performs a perfect landing at Ocean City Municipal Airport.

Congratulations to both the (new) solo pilot and to his Instructor – for a job well done.

One Final Check-Ride Is Inevitable

by Bill ~ November 21st, 2011

I just saw this posted on the Ercoupe Owners Forum and thought I would share it with my “older” pilot friends. Reminds me a bit of what is (now) my favorite TV commercial – a drug company ad where an older guy is on a motorcycle and ends up riding fast on what, looks like it may be, a deserted runway. He comments that when he leaves this life he wants to go out “exhausted.” Sounds like a good goal to me…

The Last Check Ride

I hope there’s a place way up in the sky,
where old flyers can go on the day they die.
A place where a guy can buy a cold beer,
for a friend and a comrade, whose memory is dear.

A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread,
nor an FAA type would ‘ere be caught dead.
Just a quaint little place, kind of dark, full of smoke,
where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke.

The kind of a place where a lady could go,
and feel safe and protected by the men she would know.
There must be a place where old flyers go,
when their flying is finished, and their airspeed gets low.

Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young,
and songs about flying and dying are sung.
Where you’d see all the fellows who’d flown west before,
and they’d call out your name, as you came through the door.

Who would buy you a drink, if your thirst should be bad,
and relate to others, “He was quite a good lad”.

And then through the mist, you’d spot an old guy,
you had not seen in years, though he taught you to fly.
He’d nod his old head, and grin ear to ear,
And say, “Welcome, my son, I’m pleased that you’re here.

For this is the place where the true flyers come,
when their journey is over, and their war has been won.

They’ve come here at last to be safe and alone,
from the government clerk, and the management clone,
Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise,
where all hours are happy, and they’re all good ole’ boys.

You can relax with a cold one,
maybe deal from a deck, this is heaven my son…..
You’ve passed your last check!”

Author Unknown