Pioneering. I guess that's the name we've been calling it when you are the first person to land a plane somewhere. Maybe somebody else has a real name for it. Maybe we could borrow some rock climbing terms. But for the sake of getting on with life, today it's "pioneering".
We slipped over to Rick Papp's lodge in West Virginia for a quick get-away from the shopping centers and three piece suits we're usually donning. With nothing but a buck knife and some pixie sticks and a can of beans, 6 shady characters in two Super Cubs, a Scout and an S7, risked life and limb near a town called Hundred. In the morning we scoped out a couple "fields" and met the neighbor who gave us the always sought after permission to land. The only spot that looked like a certified crash landing location for a helicopter (on his property) was found just under an old family cemetery, which was on the peak of a narrow little hill. Most of the graves were sunken in from the old pine boxes caving in. We walked it off and there was plenty of room (300 ft to the top) but i didn't feel comfortable with two thirds of the runway. It was too rough for 26" tires and my light tail. It all worked out and I basically stopped in the first small hole. A truck with two locals drove up from the narrow gravel road about a plane's length away. The driver had two teeth spaced about three inches apart. I thought he was on the phone reporting a crash landing so i quickly ran over and told him there were no problems. With banjos playin in my head, I situated the tail, cranked her over and blasted off. It sank a little at the end of the knob on take off, but the video doesn't show it. -Hot day. And speaking of hot, we landed at my home strip so I could get some fuel and show off the basketball court, but it was too hot to play. Over 90 degrees.
With that pit stop and "recess" out of the way, we continued north to attend the John Graham School of Mountain Flying. (Alpinists make your snide comments here.)
Everyone landed on Jump n Duck. We'd picked up two more planes too. Bob in the cliped wing yellow/black cub, proving you don't need fat tires, and Bill Webber in the blazin' fast white Husky.
Bill Tracy bagged and tagged a new runway to one of our favorite hills. He did it with much gusto with his son, Travis holding on in the back seat. They named it "Saddle Ridge" but we might call it Tracy Turn in Bill's honor. We slapped a camera on his gear legs for the second shot. Then we slapped a camera on his tail spring for Galvanized Gate, where "Kids Ride for Free!"
As the day came to a close I gathered my nads for a steep one we've been joking about landing on for a long time. John named it "Deccelerator" and discovered it a few months back. He mowed it nice and short and we lost a lot of sleep over it in the past few weeks. After doing it, I guess it's not very difficult. It's one of those with a larger psychological factor -- like Mile Hi. The approach is friendly enough. You can come in straight over some small trees, or stay inside the corn field and make a smaller "pattern". It kind of looks quite lame on video, we did it a couple times to try to get the right angle. I guess we'll just have to do it some more. It was a rush. I am sure it would be a bad idea to stop on that hill in an S7. The plane would slide just about in any position and definitely nose over if pointed down hill while even looking at the brakes. It was a 36% grade at the worst part. It was a little variable here and there in terrain, but smooth enough not to toss you back up after touching down, which is nice. I think the plane could take about 5% more grade but not much more--as far as having enough thrust to taxi. I've been wrong before tho, and things like initial speed on touchdown/inertia probably would be factors to consider.
I just thought of a little disclaimer for this one, should you accidentally stumble across it on your trip through Southeastern Ohio...if you have enough power for a go-round, go for it, but you will hit the oil well if you climb straight out. You will never see it either b/c your nose will be up. If you hug the hill and nose down to prevent a stall you will hit it unless you start peeling to the left half way up the hill. Of course you probably don't have permission to land there anyway.
Every single person in the video touched a camera or had one dangling from their plane on this one.
Also on the crew:
Steady hand Sean Nicely
Brent Phillips and Nicely Jr. on commentary detail.