Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

A New Route 66 Neon Sign

Saturday, March 19th, 2022

Damsel and I hung up this classic “Historic Route 66” neon sign in the garage today. This is the second one of these to hang in the garage. When the previous sign exhibited a “failure to function,” we recycled it and ordered a new one since the garage is quite dark and a “night light” of sorts is a good thing to have in there. Before we had the first Route 66 sign, we had a little Route 66 clock with a neon tube around it. I forget what happened to that one.

Speaking of classics, Damsel snapped the (clickable) photo below of a very nicely restored 1951 Chevrolet Panel Sedan. We were on our way home from delivering some dog food to the Humane Society, when we saw this nice ride coming toward us on Wickenburg Way.

Sixty Years Ago Today

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

The (clickable) image above is the beginning page of my first Pilot Log Book. The page entries include my first flight lesson on December 16, 1961 and my first SOLO flight on January 9, 1962. I was just 18 years old then and managed to get my Private Pilot Certificate the following April, well before my 19th birthday in July.

When I first started flying lessons back then at the Santa Monica (CA) Municipal Airport (SMO), the cost of renting a Cessna 150 (high-wing, two-seat, tricycle gear, 100 HP) was $12/hour (including AvGas!). The Instructors fee was $5/hour for a total of $17/hour. In contrast, today the average cost per hour seems to be about ten times that, with Instructors fees upwards of $50 and airplane rental nearly $120 per hour, depending on local rates and circumstances.

In my early flying days, I checked out in a Cessna 172 (high wing, four-seat, tricycle gear, 150 HP) and puttered around locally with friends and family until it was time for me to go on active duty in the US Navy (I joined the Naval Reserve when still in high school). While at Avionics school in Millington, TN, I checked out in a Piper Tri-Pacer (high-wing) and a Piper Cherokee (low-wing) and did some local puttering around the Memphis area along the Mississippi River. After School, I reported to the US Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, CA, which was only 45 miles from the airport where I learned to fly, so I resumed flying out of SMO for the rest of the time I was on active duty.

After I mustered out of the Navy, I continued flying now and then for leisure and travel. Shortly after I began working at my aerospace job, I found out that I was eligible for advanced flight training through the Veterans Affairs G.I. Bill. Their program financed most of my advanced training for Commercial Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, Multi-Engine Rating, Instructor Pilot Certificate and Instrument Instructor Pilot Certificate. Yet, there was More! Rotorcraft Helicopter Rating and Rotorcraft Instructor Pilot Certificate. I was busy with these upgrades for a few years afterwards and finally was able to earn my Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, hence the Cap’n designation at the top of the page.

I stayed in Aerospace as my primary occupation, but flew quite a bit as an instructor and charter pilot as a sideline. I have over five thousand hours of instruction given in all types of aircraft and ratings for which I am certified.

Ultimately, in the year 2000 or so, I became ineligible for an Airman Medical Certificate because of a prescription medication I take, which supposedly causes dizziness, a symptom which I have never experienced. Rather than fighting through the bureaucracy of the FAA’s AirMed Branch in Oklahoma City to get a waiver, I decided to hang up the flying for good because my life priorities had changed now that Damsel and I were married.

A few of my more memorable experiences:

  • I ferried a brand-new Cherokee Arrow from the Piper Factory in Vero Beach, FL to Santa Monica, CA.
  • I ferried two brand-new Beechcraft Sierras from Liberal, KS to SMO
  • I earned a “Gold Seal” Instructors Certificate while instructing at SMO, based on the number of recommendations and passing ratio of my student pilots.
  • I taught a famous movie star’s son to fly at SMO. (You know who – he played the penultimate movie “Moses.”)
  • I ferried a Piper Super Cub from SMO to Opryland in Nashville, TN to a crew member working there. I met up with a lot of Country Stars plus got to watch the show live before catching an airliner back home.
  • I ferried that same Super Cub to Crescent City where my friend was filming the Star Wars “Forest Moon of Endor” sequences. I met a lot of Storm Troopers and Ewoks, but not Luke, Leah or Han.
  • I co-piloted a Cessna 410 twin engine from SMO to Jacksonville, FL and drove a rented car from there to Charleston, SC to visit with my Naval Officer Brother who was stationed there at the time. I flew back home on Delta.
  • I ferried a Hughes 300C helicopter from Long Beach, CA to New Orleans, LA. It took me three days to get across Texas from EL Paso to Beaumont-Port Arthur.
  • I qualified for Class A, B and C Helicopter External Load Certification while instructing in Sacramento, CA
  • Et Cetera – there are just too many wonderful experiences to list them all here.

I am proud of my aviation career but I am at a point in my lifetime that I don’t miss the flying. Besides, I have a lot of “Hangar Flying” memories and experiences that I can pass along to anyone who wants to listen.

Classic 1928 Ford Model A

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

I took my pickup truck in for service last Wednesday and decided to wait for it to be completed. When I got into the waiting area, I discovered the dealer had this very nice and new-looking 1928 Ford Model A on display in there. This classic was parked where we previously saw another classic Ford Stake Bed Truck parked in the same area.

The Model A looked as if it was fresh off the showroom floor, having been beautifully restored including the interior, the convertible top, rumble seat upholstery and all. The trunk (an actual trunk) looked new as well.

The truck I mentioned in the link in the first paragraph was also in pristine condition. My guess is that Mr. Jones, the local (Ford, Jeep, whatever) dealer, has quite the collection of vintage cars and trucks since we saw another old classic at their other location a few years back. I’m quite sure that Damsel took a photo of that one, but I couldn’t find it among the thousands of photos that we have in the archives.

A Classic 1957 Chevy Step Side Pickup

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

57 Chevy Stepside Pickup

Damsel snapped this photo of a classic ’57 Chev step side that we spotted in the Post Office parking lot yesterday. This nice old truck has seen a lot of TLC since it was very bright and shiny, almost like new. It was parked next to another 1960’s vintage Chevy pickup. I don’t recall seeing either of these at the Classic Fly-In and Car Show we attended a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps they were just passing through. The 60’s truck had Oregon plates so maybe the owners are snowbirds or something. Click on the image to enlarge.

CB&D Announcement

In other matters, we need to upgrade our WordPress to a later version in order to be compatible with the newer PHP software on our ISP. Pursuant to that, you might tune in and see a stock format template rather than our custom Stars and Stripes template, so be prepared for that until we can regroup and get the template compatible with the new WordPress we’re going to install.

2021 Wickenburg Fly-In and Car Show

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

1975 Bellanca Citabria 1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside Pickup Truck

The Damsel and I deliberately got up at the crack of dawn this morning to attend the 26th Annual Fly-In and Classic Car Show held at our local airport. This should have been the 27th Annual show except that last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic DEM Panic.

The show was well attended by quantities of classic cars and fly-in aircraft plus the folks driving in. There have been bigger shows in the past, but this one was pretty good. Nobody was wearing the face diapers mandated by some not-so-free places so it seemed like the past shows we have attended.

The images above are (1) a 1975 Bellanca Citabria and (2) a 1958 Chevrolet Apache Pickup Truck. These were two of many aircraft and cars on display and my favorites of the show, although it was hard to pick just these two since there were so many cool displays. The Citabria, formerly manufactured by Champion Aircraft Corp., is among my favorites since I learned to do aerobatics and got my flight instructor rating in a Champ Citabria (airbatic spelled backwards). The Chevy just looked clean and had a cool paint job. Click on either image to enlarge.

Classic 1950’s Chevy Tractor Truck

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

1950’s Chevy Tractor Truck

I was thumbing through some of the photo archives and ran across this image of a vintage Chevy truck. Since we recently posted one of a similar Ford truck, I thought to share this classic here in the interest of providing a classic competitor of the day. Click on the image to enlarge.

The Chevy truck was parked in the lot of one of our shopping centers near the west side of town. I took the photo in October of 2012, about a year and a half after we moved here. I actually took two photos of the truck with the intent of making an anaglyph 3D image. I have had the hobby of making 3D pictures for many years and posted them on our other blog. You will need a pair of red/cyan glasses to see the result here.

A Classic 1955 (or so) Ford V8 Utility Truck

Friday, July 9th, 2021

Ford Truck

In the old Minstrel blogging days when the site was still active, I would post Classic cars and trucks from time to time. We now post classics on this blog, but it has been a while. Part of the problem is the cancellation of some of our main car show events due to the DEMpanic pandemic. Hopefully, this year we will get back to normal with the shows.

Regardless of the absence of car shows, we see classic cars and trucks around town either on display like the truck above or on the road being driven by the owner. We see them but sometimes the camera isn’t ready. This time, however, Damsel was ready and captured the classic truck on the lot of our local Ford dealer as we passed out of town on our way for an appointment with the optician to get a new pair of prescription eyeglasses for her.

Click on the image to enlarge.