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Barnstorming tomorrow!

Pro Member Trainee
Brook Trainee

(mistakenly posted to Off Topic before...)

On Monday morning a friend of mine is FINALLY taking me up in his 1940 Ryan PT20...here she is

Some stick time is promised. I've already had control of his Mooney a number of times.

Should be a beautiful morning in Sonoma, CA.

6 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Have a great time but no wing walking. 🙂

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_PT-20

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

Cool - saw 2 of these flying at the Shuttleworth collection at an evening air display recently - you'll need ear plugs 🙂

Pro Member Trainee
Brook Trainee

What a great morning!

Arrived at Schellville-Sonoma Valley Airport (0Q3) at about 9:30am with a light morning fog layer just burning off. Wind sock hanging dead limp. My pilot Dan opened up his hangar, pulled his Mooney Executive out of the way and removed the parachute cover from his gleaming classic Ryan PT20. We dragged it to the tarmac; Dan fueled up and gave the prop a few turns, then I climbed into the front cockpit, buckled in, inserted my earplugs and stood on the brakes while Dan spun the prop until she started. Wonderful sound. Dan ran the motor a few minutes to heat the oil then we taxiied the short few yards to runway 7. I turned my baseball cap backwards, Dan throttled forward, the tail lifted and in a few moments we were up and instantly banking in a U-turn back over the hangars to salute our friend Matt who was minding the dogs and waiting his turn.

We headed off over the vineyard hills, clearing them by mere yards. We climbed to about 800 feet, then descended a bit and Dan turned two laps around the home of a friend. We continued on into the river valley, descending even lower until we were skimming over the glassy river surface at less than 100 feet. OH yeah! This is IT!

Climbed up again and I got the signal. Dan was waggling the stick back and forth (no radio of any kind in this old girl!) which meant it was my turn to give it a go. I took my stick; eased my feet onto the pedals and made my first objective straight and level flight. After getting comfortable with that I felt like making a turn, so I banked her gently to the right, gave it a little right rudder, reminding myself to make only small corrections and to keep the nose up. I finished my 90 deg. turn, leveled off and... found myself looking at 4 very high radio towers! They were probably 2-3 miles ahead but I didnt want to spend another second flying straight at them, so banked her over to the right again another 90 deg.

Another two turns and we were heading south again the same direction we were headed when I took over. The far north edge of San Francisco Bay. I took her just barely out over the water then turned left to the east, following the bay's edge. What a cool feeling, my first open cockpit experience. It was very warm and surprisingly less windy then I'd imagined. At one point there was a redtail hawk pacing us off our right wing tip.

Dan waggled the stick and I relinquished control back to him. He steered us back northward in the direction of the airfield and then decided to have some fun.

Applying power and pitching up we climbed a very quick few hundred feet; still powering up he pushed the rudder left and nosed over sideways, throttled down and we were in a curling dive toward the not-very-distant earth. Wow! It took a couple more of those before my instinctive mistrust of my shoulder and lap harnesses subsided. I took a couple breaths and allowed myself to enjoy the rest.

Dan gave me the stick again and I resumed my timid novice flying until we were near the airfield. He took over, cut the throttle, banked left and dropped us gently on the grass strip beside the runway, landing in the opposite direction of takeoff due to the perfect calm conditions.

A few minutes on the ground, a few more gallons of fuel and we took off again. This time when I got the stick I felt a little bolder, banking higher through a full 360. As I came out of that turn I heard Dan banging on the fuselage to get my attention, pointing forward. I was flying straight toward the end of the runway at Petaluma airport. Time to turn and avoid trouble again. I made a 180, headed toward the Bay again. A few more turns and Dan took over to do more barnstorming. Taking us low over vineyards and brown farm fields, well under 100 feet, buzzing everyone we could find. Dan finally tested my flinch reflex by flying low toward a stand of trees closer closer and closer until he finally veered off and upward. What a rush!

We returned to the airfield for another gentle grass landing. The two trips combined were about 45 minutes. I climbed out, Matt climbed in and I got a look at the bird from the ground.

It was a great experience and I'm kicking myself because I had my camera in hand before I left the house and somehow walked out without it. A few pics from Matt's camera phone may be forthcoming...

Hope you enjoyed my account.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

That's great, sounds like you had a super time. That's what flying is really about, no computers or ATC, just freedom and the skill of the pilot. 👏

Pro Member Chief Captain
hms_endeavour Chief Captain

Indeed. You must of had an awesome time. Looking forward to some pics, if you get to upload them. 😉 😀 😀 😀

Pro Member Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Captain

Very nice of you to give such a detailed report of your wonderful experience. Congratulations on the opportunity ❗ 😉

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