Blog Archives

GoPro Wing Mount Install Video & Test Flight

Installation of the Flix / Rock Steady GoPro wing mount on our RV-9A. This give us some better footage from outside of the plane in flight and on the ground.

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Figuring Out How to Edit Video / Audio in the Airplane

I finally figured out how to sync the audio from a separate recording device with the video from the GoPro Fusion 360. The problem with all of the auto sync functions in Premier Pro is that they require good audio on the video channel to sync with. Well it turns out that the audio picked up on the GoPro is nothing but “engine drone” and even when you clapped your hands next to it you could not hear it on the video channel. I will try to post a video a little later on how I fixed it…

Washington DC, not what I thought!

Slow to Post…  Since returning from Oshkosh, things have been a little hectic and not allowed time for much writing.  It has been fun to run into friends and family that have asked what we were going to write about next.  It is cool to know that folks DO read this stuff – THANKS!

Washington DC… Our most recent trip was one for work and unfortunately did not involve our airplane, but was very interesting anyway.  The company I work for, Delta Industries, is active in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) and I was able to make a national meeting this past week in Washington, DC.  Beth nor I had never been to DC, so we decided to go up a day early and try to see some sites.  Little did we know that one extra day was not going to allow us to see much more of this VERY interesting city.

You Can Feel the History…  Final approach into Reagan National Airport put us right over the Pentagon and my immediate thoughts went to the tragedy of 9/11.  Then, I saw the Arlington National Cemetery just beyond the Pentagon and my thoughts turned to those who have died for my freedom.  At that point, I knew this was going to be a special, thought provoking, trip.  I don’t think there is anywhere else in this country that you can go stand in one place and be surrounded by so much history and walk the paths of some of the most brilliant (and not so) makers of that history.

Need a Plan…  After settling in at our hotel just south of town, I purchased a three day pass for the shuttle to downtown.  Most of my meetings for the first two days were in the afternoon and at night so we could get up early and shuttle in for some sightseeing. This afternoon was open though, so we decided to get to it and head in for as long as we could and at least look around and come up with a plan for the next two mornings.  The shuttle dropped us off north of the Capitol building at Union Station.  We started our walk to the south to see the Capitol and then to the west along the National Mall area.  The first thing we noticed was how spread out this place is!  It is a long way from the Capitol to the White House and there is a lot of stuff to see in between.  We continued our walk to the Washington monument and then north to the White House.  This brought us close to the Old Post Office which was the last place we could catch the shuttle back to the hotel at 8:30pm.  Wow, what a walk!  We did get an idea of where things were and what we wanted to see the next morning.

The Best Stuff is FREE…  Early the next morning we were back on the shuttle, headed into town – first stop – the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  We figured we could cover it in a half day and see something else later that day – WRONG, this place was huge and we ended up spending the entire day there!  Besides being an aviation nut, I have always been a space program nut, it was all here and we could have spent two days going through it in detail.  Most all of the displays were the real thing when possible, not just models or mock-ups.  The highlight of the day was seeing the ORIGINAL Wright Flyer that Orville and Wilbur managed to get in the air over a hundred years ago.   The really great thing about the Smithsonian Museums and the government buildings was that there was no charge for admission.

Ruby Slippers, First Lady Dresses & the Constitution…   The next morning we were back at it again, this time at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  If only we could have learned about history in school by visiting these places (I guess the smart kids did).  Beth wanted to see the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz along with the dresses worn by the First Ladies collection.  Not the most interesting things to me, BUT, there were tons of cars, electrical motors, steam engines, guns, trains and other cool stuff invented by Americans on display.  I think the highlight of this museum was seeing the original US flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner during the war of 1812. After spending the morning soaking up history at the museum, we walked over to the National Archives building which houses The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights.  I was amazed that you could put your eyes 6 inches away from these historic documents – this was a goose bump moment!  The room was darkly lit to preserve the documents and no cameras were allowed, but this experience will live with us forever.

007 & Spies Like Us…  When we were done at the archives building, we had a few more hours before we had to catch the shuttle so we decided to stay in the area and visit the International Spy Museum.  This museum did charge 20 bucks each to visit, but it was also well worth it.  We only had 2.5 hours to spend and needed 3 times that!  Their massive collection of spy devices, memorabilia and video presentations was impressive and interesting to a kid that grew up during the “cold war era”, and like most museums, you finish the tour at the gift shop.   This was not your average gift shop though, they had all kinds of knock-off spy devices and more T-shirts than Disney World.

Slide Show – Photos were taken with Samsung S3 Phone…

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More Time Here… While, the rest of the trip for me was spent in meetings, Beth was able to take a tour of President Lincoln’s cottage with the ladies one day and then it was time to fly home.  While some BAD weather got in the way of us getting home on time, we did make it home safely and longing to return to DC.  I would love to spend 5 or 6 days just visiting the museums downtown along with the monuments and the Arlington National Cemetery.  Looks like I need to familiarize myself with the Washington area ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) and fly Caddie up to Manassas, VA… I guess we’ll have to put that on the list!

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Playing with our New GoPro Video Camera Today

Kirby Chambliss @ the GoPro Booth

Great Deal… We have been playing around with different video cameras for the last two years; borrowing good ones from others and using our own that were not really designed to be “action” cameras.  While at Oshkosh, we went by the GoPro booth and looked at their line of cameras.  I had seen them before and had been impressed with their ability to withstand harsh environments.  I have seen them on TV shows like Flying Wild Alaska and Gold Rush being put to the test.  At $299, they are not the cheapest solution, but are one of the best.  Luckily for us, while at Oshkosh, they were offering a $100 off coupon, if you registered at their booth, so we did… 2 weeks later we got an e-mail link to a special site that allowed you to purchase the HD HERO 2 for $199 – that’s a GREAT deal!

Zero to HERO... So when our new unit arrived this week, I could not wait to put it to the test.  Today was forecast to be cooler and clear, and it was.  We played around with the mounting system and looked at locations inside and outside of the plane.  The camera is very versatile and puts out incredible video.  The ability to input audio from the panel is what had me sold.   Mounting is as simple or complex as you want it to be.  We modified one mount to go under the wing looking forward at an angle, this proved to be a very interesting view.

Video Below… After enjoying a wonderful day at the airport and in the air, I came home and managed to put a few of the clips together.  My video editing skills leave a lot to be desired, but here it is, watch it & tell me what you think!

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica and now you can “TRACK US” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

Road trip to Devils Tower Wyoming

Status of Caddie… So, after two hail storms and torrential downfalls at the campground near Hill City, SD our concerns turned toward the plane which was at the airport in Rapid City (KRAP).  The weather map on the iPad had the storm that was on top of us heading straight to the airport.  After limited sleep, we popped up early and drove straight to the airport to lay eyes on Caddie.  She was fine!  The tie downs were secure, the Bruce’s Custom Cover was a little askew, but there was no water inside or hail dings to be found.  The folks at the FBO said it had not rained that much there, apparently it is usually much more severe in the hills than down on the plains where the airport is.

Road Trip… So, with our fears of damage to the plane put to rest, we decided today would be a good day for a road trip.  We had 200 miles per day allowance on the rental car and had only driven a hundred or so.  We decided to head north and then west to Wyoming to see the Devils Tower.

Almost Rally Time… Our first stop, up I-90, was the infamous town of Sturgis, SD, home of the annual bike rally.  The rally was still two weeks away, but this little town was preparing for the arrival of thousands of biker dudes and babes!  A lot of them come up early and were cruising the hills on “Softails”,  “Fatboys” and choppers.  We stopped at one of the large T-shirt vendors and ran into a couple of guys from Birmingham that were running the business.  We bought a couple of T-shirts just to proclaim we had been to Sturgis and continued west.

Close Encounter… After nearly an hour of driving, we went over a hill and “WOW”, there it was.  Just rising up from the plains was this large rock formation unlike anything we have ever seen.   As we got closer, I could see how this site held such a spiritual significance to the local tribes.  It was one of those “goose bump” moments as we arrived at the monument welcome center.  The goose bumps got a little bigger when I realized there were people scaling the sides of this thing at varying elevations.  I did not realize that, not only did the Park Service allow climbing on the monument, but promoted it also.  While listening to a ranger give a talk about the turkey vultures (we call ’em buzzards) that were circling the monument, I heard someone behind me make a comment about “being caught in a storm in a tent the night before”.  I turned around only to see Jason and his family, our new friends from North Dakota that we camped next to.  What a small world… we were over a hundred miles from the camp and they had pulled up stakes that morning to head home by way of Wyoming.

“What an incredible Cinderella story!”… “Licensed to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations.”, Caddyshack’s, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) would have come unglued at the sight of the area leaving the monument. Hundred of prairie dogs infested the grounds with warning signs not to feed them.  The warning didn’t keep us from stopping and “shooting” them with a camera, nor did it stop them from coming right up to you to beg.  These little buggers had holes dug everywhere and kept popping up at random as far as the eye could see.

More Beautiful Views… On our trek back to camp, we took the Spearfish Canyon Highway route.  Once again we found ourselves looking up to some of the most beautiful bluffs and scenery we have ever seen.  At the end of this road was the town of Deadwood.  Besides the HBO TV series, Deadwood was best known as a gold rush town that saw the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.  Now, this clean looking town has lots of saloons and gaming establishments, but would justify further investigation at a later date… we were tired!

There’s Goats in Them There Hills… We didn’t see any gold but we did see the local heard of bighorn sheep just outside of Hill City.  Most of the sheep had collars around their necks, which I suspect is what set off the flashing lights on the highway when they get near.  This area is such a photo trap for us tourists, that they have paved “pull over” lanes to protect us from crashing into each other.  So after several hundred miles on the road, we arrived at the KOA to find that their workers had done an incredible job of rebuilding the roads from the prior storms.  With more bad weather forecast for the next afternoon, we decided that we should probably cut a day off of our stay in the Black Hills and head out early the next morning toward Oshkosh.  So we had a nice dinner at the camp restaurant, washed up some clothes and packed the car for an early departure…

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Mississippi to Oshkosh via Rapid City & Night Wall of Fire Video from Airventure…

Let the packing begin…  We have started getting things ready for our annual trip to Airventure in Oshkosh, WI.  For 5 years we pulled our camper for the 2,000 mile round trip to the mecca of aviation and last year we were able to fly our newly built RV-9A.  This year we are planning a little “side trip” to the Black Hills area of western South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and the Custer National Forest.

Dining room table overload… So, about two weeks before we take a big trip, we start setting things on the dining room table, “so we don’t forget anything”.  Yes, we do have a list, but this just seems to work well in organizing the packing.  First a few towels and hats, then the sleeping bags, mats, tent, rain gear… you get the point.  We figure, once the table is full, thats it – it probably will not fit in the plane!  Luckily, most of the stuff we have is VERY light weight and we only carry five days worth of clothes since we plan to hit the laundry mat when we transit from Rapid City to Oshkosh.  Our biggest issue is the volume of stuff that goes in the plane not the weight… the baggage area in a RV-9A is not very big!

Wall of Fire…  Two years ago, while at Airventure, I took the short video below on my iPhone.  It was very exciting and since it was the first night airshow at Oshkosh, I’m not sure any of us were prepared for what we saw – enjoy, and I apologize in advance for the “S” word and yea, I know I sound a little like Larry the Cable Guy…

Tracking our progress… In an effort to keep family and friends up-to-date with where we are and how things are going, I plan to put a link on the blog next week to our SPOT emergency locator tracking page. I just bought $20 worth of the required Lithium batteries to keep it going while we are moving around.  We also plan to “live blog” with the iPhone & iPad and will try to push a few postcard pictures up when we get near some wifi.  So, to keep up with the trip’s progress, please enter your e-mail address in the box to the right of the page  or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

New Orleans Day Trip, What Diet??

$100 Beignets??… In the spirit of the $100 hamburger, we set out for the land of sugar & spice and red beans & rice – New Orleans!  With a lot of long distance travel days ahead of us in the next few weeks, we decided to make a short hop, Saturday day trip to the Crescent City.  Years ago, when we lived in Laurel, MS, we went to New Orleans on a regular basis… Saint’s games, concerts, boat shows and even the occasional monster truck rally (yep, we are rednecks at heart – I really liked the “Grave Digger”). Since we moved to Madison, the 3 plus hour drive made it a less attractive destination and then Katrina came along, and well, you know….  Now it’s 2012 and things seem to be a little different in NOLA.

A friend of mine had told me that they had a cabdriver that they would call and he would pick them up at the Lakefront Airport and take he & his wife downtown and then pick them up when they were done exploring for the day.  So before we went “wheels up” at KJVW for KNEW we called Henry the cabbie. Henry was not sure if he could pick us up, but would make sure someone was at the FBO when we arrived.

Caddy on the Ramp @ Flightline First

A little IMC…   We left the Raymond Airport (KJVW), for the +/- 60 minute flight to Lakefront (KNEW) in great weather.  As we approached Lake Pontchartrain, the clouds below us thickened and the likelihood of an instrument approach looked pretty good… not what was forecast, but, no problem.  “24G, descend and maintain 3,000”, this put us right in the middle of the clouds.  For the next fifteen minutes or so, we were in and out of the layer “over the lake”.  Finally, we saw Lakefront through the broken clouds and were given a visual to RW36L.  After landing, we taxied to the Flightline First FBO building and started to unload.  The line guy was very nice and allowed our cab to drive right up to the plane.  This was “red carpet” service for a couple of Mississippi rednecks!  He asked if we needed fuel and I said no… we only burnt 8 gallons getting here, it wasn’t worth bringing out the truck.  So we threw our backpacks in the cab and off we went to the Vieux Carré.

Irma Thomas’ Drummer… I asked the cabbie if he was Henry and he said no, his name was Larry and that Henry was on another “gig”.  As we chit-chatted our way downtown, Larry was telling us a story about running out of gas in the everglades and fending off alligators with guitars and drum sticks… OK, I’ll admit, I had not really been listening up until this point.  “So you play music?”, I asked, “Yep, I’m the drummer for grammy award winning artist, Irma Thomas”, he replied.  Cool, now thats a real story to tell…   Larry “Choo” Campbell went on to tell us about his travels in cars, busses and now airplanes!  He has been to many countries playing the drums for Irma and will be headed to Japan soon.  We enjoyed the rest of our ride into town with Larry and soon we were in the middle of the French Quarter where we parted company for our day of adventure. (BTW… I am now friends with “Choo” on Facebook, this guy is real cool!)

First Thought – FOOD!… So, what is the first thing you think of when you hit New Orleans on an empty stomach?  FOOD!  I “Googled” Cafe Du Monde to see how far away it was from where “Choo” dropped us off.  Not too far and Beth agreed with my plan – Cafe au lait and beignets for brunch and then a late lunch of cajun faire later in the afternoon.  We decided to split an order of beignets (Beth’s idea, if it had been up to me, we would have split three orders) to go with our coffee… It was as good as I remembered!  After our brunch, we started our photo walk.

St. Louis Cathedral

Taking Pictures… One of the things I wanted to do was to make this day into a photo assignment to take a lot of pictures to enhance my skills.  This was fun and Beth enjoyed it to.  I set up my tripod in a few locations and snapped some HDR shots and even tried a time lapse sequence.  I also got some interesting shots of street performers and the normal New Orleans targets.  We spent most of the day walking around, camera in hand, trying to look at things from a photographic perspective.  Later in the day, we even decided to take a horse drawn carriage tour that was very enjoyable and gave us an hour or so off of our feet.  I will be creating a separate post with some of the photos I took in the next few days…

More Food!…  After hours of taking pictures & walking in the quarter, we decided to get some  creole food before we flew home.  We were close to the Market Cafe on Decatur Street when hunger set in, so we worked our way into the outside porch seating area.  Nice shade and cool Jazz being played, set the stage for a great meal.  We had an order of boiled crawfish and the “Taste of New Orleans”, a sampling of seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya and red beans & rice.  The only thing missing was a mimosa or a glass of cab, but since we were flying, that will have to wait until we got home.

After our meal we caught a cab back to KNEW and loaded Caddy up for the ride home.  The line guy at Flightline First thanked us for “prettying up” their ramp with Caddy! With a few late afternoon “boomers” on the horizon, we had to alter our route a little to the west, but eventually made it home safely at about dark with a camera full of memories and full stomachs. 🙂

’42 Flathead

’42 Flathead…  This black and white version of a photo I took at the Barnstormers Air Festival shows the detailed but simple beauty of a 1942 Harley Davidson Flathead.  The bike itself was very colorful and well restored, but the engine had a real industrial look to it that represents well in B&W.

To see more photos from our adventures, “LIKE” our Facebook page or enter your e-mail address on the right and as always, please comment on what you think about the photos – Thanks

42′ Flathead – click to see larger photo

Barnstormers’ Air Festival – Jennings, LA

Air Festival… So we got up early Saturday morning to head to the Jennings, LA Airport (3R7) to fly into the Barnstormers Air Festival.  We intended to be “wheels-up” at around 08:00 with us in “Caddie” and our friends Charlie & Tupper England in their RV-4, but the weather at the destination was 100′ and overcast.   The forecast was for it to clear out to VFR around 10:00 or so, so we decided to wait around until about 09:30 to leave.  After an hour & 15 minute flight down, we found some holes in the clouds to descend into Jennings.  This is a BIG airport covering lots of acreage with two paved runways and one grass strip.  Runway 13/31 was closed by NOTAM and was being used by the car show folks, so we landed on 08 and taxied into parking.  After securing the plane and meeting up with Charlie & Tupper, we headed to show center to see the what there was to see.  There were only a handful of airplanes at this time and most were “spam cans” with a few RV’s and other homebuilts.  There was one food vendor and a lemonade stand next to a stage and that was about it for food.  At noon or so, the band cranked up and they were very good.  Unfortunately, they just did not have much of an audience to listen to what they were playing.

Cars, Cars, Cars… Lots of cars, I actually think there were more cars there than airplanes.  There were a lot of good looking classic and antique cars along with several chopped up rods…  There was plenty to look at and I took a bunch of pictures.  But, after a couple of hours in the spring sun and not a lot of airplanes to look at, we decided to head back home.  Charlie had told us about the Jazz Festival in Ridgeland, MS that was featuring some folks he was interested in hearing, so off we went…

Final Thoughts…  While we were a little disappointed in the turnout at Jennings, it was understandable due to the low IFR conditions that plagued the area up until 10:00 AM.   Most folks just aren’t going to file IFR to go to a casual Saturday event or “Scud Run” at 800 feet to get there.  So, take a look at the car photos (click them for larger view) and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog by entering your e-mail address in the box in the right hand column.  You can also “Like” us on Facebook in the right hand column.

RC Jets at Raymond, MS Airport

Click for Larger View

RC Jets…  Once a year the Raymond, MS Airport (KJVW) hosts a group of remote control jet enthusiasts from all over the country.  The Mississippi Afterburner Jet Rally is a 3 day event showcasing some of the best examples of remote controlled jets that can be found. This event is a fundraiser to generate scholarships for the Aviation Technology Department at Hinds Community College. Mississippi Jets Radio Control Club established the scholarship fund to enhance and support aviation education in our local community. The Mississippi Afterburner Jet Rally is the sole funding source for these scholarships. These are not your average “weird uncles” remote controlled airplanes… (no offense, i’ve been that guy) – these plane have real jet engines burning kerosene at tens of thousands of RPM’s!  Some of these guys have the same amount of time in building their RC planes as we do in building our full size homebuilt plane and you could buy a really nice Cessna 150 for the dollars they have invested.

I tried my hand at remote control airplanes about 15 years ago… I was much better at building the planes than flying them.  Take it from someone who has done both, it is much easier to fly a real airplane from the left seat than it is to fly an RC plane headed toward you at 100+ MPH and some of these planes are flying at 200 MPH!

Check out the video below…

HDR…  As usual, I had to take a few handheld HDR pics as seen below and to the upper left.  The photo below was so full of color that it really stood out in my eye and the vertical crop on the above photo shows the guts of one of these complicated birds.  Click on the images for a larger view.

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