Repost: Williamsburg

My first recollections of this historical place dates back several years ago when I visited Busch Gardens with college friends. That was a memorable trip that will always be fresh in my mind.

It was supposed to be a partly sunny, but a beautiful fall Saturday. But of course when has the weather forecast been accurate? It was overcast at 4000 ft at HEF and there were scattered to overcast skies along the way. Being instrument current I was less worried about that.  My friend, Laith and I, set off for the 99s flyout to Williamsburg (JGG) with anticipation and excitement. With terrain not a factor, we flew in content at 2500 ft. There were dashes of color in the trees sometimes purple, at times orange, rendering the landscape in vibrant hues. The partly cloudy skies, with the sun peeking in between, the rays of sunlight striking the still fresh green earth, the lakes and rivers in startling blue colors all presented the most amazing landscape along the way.

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Gettysburg: History & Lunch

“Four score and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in liberty,
and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”
— from the Gettysburg Address
by US President Abraham Lincoln (Nov 19, 1863)

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the American Civil War. Confederate army led by General Robert E. Lee was defeated by the Union army led by Maj. General George Mead ending Lee’s invasion of the North. The battle fought over 3 days between July 1-3, 1863 had the most casualties of the American Civil War.  The famous Gettysburg Address was given by the then US President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. History abounds here.

It was almost an hour later than planned that Darya and I set off from Leesburg for a short hop to Gettysburg for our monthly flyout with the dc99s. Different aircraft. Different airport than originally planned. At the rate this year has been shaping up, this almost seems the norm. But nothing about flying is business as usual. Even on a fine, sunny day. Sponge stuck in the elevator hinge blocking the hole. Keep or remove? Maybe give Darya some practice for some wingwalking if the elevator gets stuck? After some deliberation, out it came; fuel topped off; oil added; doors closed and tight, we set off for W05 mindful of the Prohibited Area P-40 and Restricted Area R-4009 surrounding Camp David.

Where was the airport? According to the GPS we were less than 3 nm miles away and neither of us had identified the airport yet. We knew it was at our 12 o’clock since the GPS clearly indicated we were heading directly towards it! In the nick of time we located the airport, did some quick maneuvering to get re-oriented, and landed without incident.

As has been the norm on most occasions, three aircraft departed from three different airports and convened at W05 for the monthly DC99s $500 ham(vege) burger flyout. The plan was to get lunch at Herr Tavern and get a ride in the blue trolley into town to checkout the battlefield and other historic sights.

A short walk along the Route  30 highway (about 7/10 miles) led us to the Sharpshooter Grill adjacent to Herr Tavern, where Debbie, Norm and Rani were already enjoying a sumptuous meal having arrived an hour earlier.

We should have expected it I suppose, but it wasn’t until we were ready to head to downtown did we realize that the blue trolley only operates during the week! After a half an hour wait, we finally negotiated a ride into town in the only available shuttle service paying $25 each way.

Gettysburg is a quaint little town. The whole town is supposed to be the battlefield, although there is the specific designated Gettysburg National Battlefield and the Gettysburg National Military Park. Shops line the streets of downtown Gettysburg, with historic landmarks such as the location of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, museums and other historical buildings still standing 160 yrs later.

After walking through historic Gettysburg downtown; visiting the free Gettysburg museum filled with artifacts ranging from bullets from the American Civil War, to JFK boxers, even Elivis’ memorabilia, Eva Brauns’ attire and many more; it was time for cupcakes and the ride back to the airport and the end of another perfect day of glorious flying, camaraderie and hanger flying.

Gettysburg airport (W05) is tricky to locate. Has very little transient parking. No fuel and no public transportation to town during the weekend.  No cab service is available in Gettysburg at all. Period. Yet if planned well is a great flyin destination. What better way than to spend a day or two visiting the rich history of the American Civil War? Fourth of July weekend is the ultimate weekend to visit this historical place. Note to self: next time call Enterprise ahead!

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Some photographs courtesy Rani Spivey and Darya Pilram

O Shenandoah!

The weather this year has been marvelous so far. Winter almost non existent. Who could have expected 70’s in March even before the official start of spring? Unlike previous years, the dc99s were off to a good start to the flying season. Spring not here and already two flyouts accomplished. Quite unlike the last two years.

The day dawned, hazy with fog over much of the Shenandoah Valley. But clearing slowly but surely. Ted and I departed Manassas, on a sunny,calm but hazy Saturday. It was Ted’s first cross country flight since his check ride last December. Clouds and haze still hugged the rugged Shenandoah mountains, as we traced our way west and then south looking for a dip in the ridge to cross over to the Valley. Landing at the airport,we awaited the arrival of the other aircraft that had departed from FDK. It truly was a glorious day for flying!

Shenandoah Airport boasts a nice long runway and even a newly renovated cafe on the field that only operates during the week. So much for that $100 (or $500 dollar hamburger). I give it a -1 (hamburger) rating for staying closed on  the weekends!

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CGE Finally!

We almost didn’t make it this time too.

I tried twisting the key in the ignition one more time. All we could hear was a clicking sound and the propeller refused to budge. “It might need a jump start, likely the battery is dead,”  said Ed from the flight school. A quick jumpstart later, Linda and I proceeded with the pre-flight.

“Avionics On”.  The MFD flashed and died. I could hear sputtering and noises which sounded like electrical shorts and the alternator CB re-setted. The noises were unsettling and I turned off the engine.

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Georgetown, DE

Four aircraft departed from the four corners of the Mid Atlantic Region: one from the north from Frederick, MD, another from Manassas, VA from the west, one from St Mary’s County in the south and the fourth from Tipton, MD and converged on Georgetown, DE for the monthly DC99s flyout.

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