Monday, May 27, 2019

An Awe-Ja-Magic Kind of Morning

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
27 May 2019 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - 17NK (Rock Stream, NY) - SDC 1.5 1955.1

"We're like locusts," I remarked to Mike B as we surveyed the large group of Williamson Flying Club aircraft arrayed along the grass runway at Re-Dun Field. "We swarm places when there's food to be had."

Re-Dun Field is a private airport (17NK) located west of Seneca Lake between Reading Center and Dundee, NY and is home to the Dundee Flying Club. Although most official sources note that the runway is unpaved, this is false. Arriving aircraft are welcomed by a twenty foot wide paved runway (17-35); it looks like a sidewalk compared to most runways, but is easily manageable. On Memorial Day, eight aircraft and one helicopter from the Williamson Sodus Airport arrived for breakfast.


The Williamson Sodus Airport was just beginning to stir when I arrived. A striking layer of clouds overhead ended abruptly to the south.

Today's flight was brought to you by the word "lush" and the color green. Aloft, I surveyed the Williamson Sodus Airport (yes, there's an airport down there) surrounded by enthusiastic spring vegetation. Spring at last!

I detoured along the Lake Ontario shoreline to allow the other airplanes time to launch.

As I heard multiple aircraft depart Sodus, I turned due south from over Sodus Bay and set a course for Re-Dun.

Re-Dun is a private-use field, but open to the public on fly-in days. It was my first time there, making it my 188th unique airport. Though a pair of Cubs landed ahead of me, my aerial survey of the field showed few arrivals below. I was the first of the Williamson Flying Club pilots to arrive.

Short final, Re-Dun Field, runway 17

Although a twenty foot wide runway presents little problem for a Cherokee with a ten foot wheelbase, the unusual perspective resulted in a belated flare and a somewhat flatter than usual landing attitude.

Power Taxi

I taxied off the paved runway onto the grass "apron" looking for parking, already aware that most fly-ins park along the edge of the east-west grass runway. The turf was recently cut, but still longish, wet, and covering uneven terrain. The Warrior needed significant power for taxi.

I also needed help pushing back into a parking spot because the Warrior became stuck where I shut down the engine (some things never change). A local Mennonite teenager was willing to help push, but the terrain was so uneven that the two of us could not budge the airplane. Instead, she shyly asked questions about flying while we waited for more assistance. When Ray arrived in his helicopter, he helped push the Warrior back along the edge of the runway.

Mike S, the instigator of this morning's flight, arrived next in his Champ.

On his way to parking, Mike taxied across Warrior 481's tracks in the dense turf.

Because I needed assistance with parking, I loitered to help each new arrival push back as well.

Denny in his Champ

Mick in his Cessna 152

Ed in his Archer

Mike B arrived with a plane-full of passengers in the club's Cessna 172 Hawk XP, which I recently flew for my flight review to gain some constant speed prop experience.

Somewhat unique in the Cessna 172 world, the Hawk XP has a 195 hp six cylinder Continental IO-360 power plant with a constant speed prop. It is the only six cylinder engine I have ever flown behind and it seems to run noticeably smoother than other four cylinder piston aircraft.

Dave's Cessna 150 - I watched this poor thing get dusted twice in the same weekend by two different pilots.

Eventually, there were nine aircraft from Sodus parked along the soft grass runway. Two Cherokee variants, three Champs, three Cessnas, and an Enstrom.

Strikingly Uniform Pancakes

While waiting in line for breakfast, we prepared ourselves for a unique treat. Re-Dun's claim to fame is the Awe-Ja-Magic automatic pancake machine created by the late local inventor Clarence Sebring.

Big shadows, little airplane.

And there it was, the mystical, magical pancake making machine!

The name says it all!

The Awe-Ja-Magic pancake machine caught in mid-flip

Batter is metered onto the inner portion of the rotating griddle, allowed to cook, then flipped to the outer diameter of the griddle to cook the other side. It is an exercise in time and temperature resulting in perfect, repeatable, golden brown deliciousness.

At the end of the cycle, pancakes are captured in a chute and deposited onto a waiting plate. Is it the most efficient way to make pancakes? Probably not, but the whole process was a delight to watch.

WFC pilots rounding out their pancake breakfasts with eggs and sausage.

The rest of the breakfast line was more conventional, though we found another Awe-Ja-Magic device in the corner of the hangar that appeared to have been created to cook eggs.

Everyone from the WFC had a great breakfast!

And Now for Something Completely Different

What is that? A vintage WWI fighter?

Actually, it was an ultralight. As Ed observed, it was significantly lacking in legroom...

...but possibly appropriate for the youngest member of our WFC contingent.

To my surprise, both of these vintage automobiles carried current New York State inspection stickers.

Alan's Champ was parked across the runway from Warrior 481


Because I needed to be on a commercial flight to San Diego in couple of hours, I returned to the Warrior for departure shortly after breakfast. As I did, I saw Mike O arrive with his blue Cessna 150. He arrived late for the last fly-out too. This is how reputations develop, Mike.

Aloft, I circled the field once to get an aerial perspective on the festivities before turning north toward home.

Spring had broken out all across Upstate New York. It was a very welcome sight.

I hated to put the Warrior away after my Awe-Ja-Magic morning. It was an amazing spring day, I explored a new (to me) airport, I got to fly with several of my friends, and I finally saw the fabled Awe-Ja-Magic pancake machine in action! By 10:00 am, the day had already exceeded my expectations.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Field Trip

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
18 May 2019 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - FZY (Fulton, NY) - B16 (Weedsport, NY) - SDC 1.5 1948.8

On a gorgeous Saturday morning, the Breakfast Club returned to Whitfords Airport (B16, Weedsport, NY) for more of John's cooking. As before, I flew an extended "delaying vector" to the Oswego County Airport so that I arrived on the tail end of the other six ships that departed Sodus that morning.

Spring finally arrived in Upstate New York and the grass was lush and gloriously green. All of the cool kids parked on grass somehow made more appealing by a smattering of dandelions. I envied them their glorious field.

But because I was the last one in, there was no room for me on the grass. So I parked on Whitford's small ramp like a significantly less cool kid.

This single-seat, two cylinder experimental ship lives in the T-hangar bay behind mine. Two or four cylinders, tube-and-rag or all-metal, tail dragger or nose dragger, certified or experimental - our WFC fleet for the morning covered all of the requisite bases.

There were pilots and aircraft from other airports as well, including the cool Stearman from Penn Yan.

Denny, Lee, Mike, me, Alan, Mick, Paula, and Mike (l-r)

As always, John whipped up a terrific breakfast for us, fast and delicious. The fast part was important because we all had business back at the Williamson Sodus Airport at 9:30 that morning. We were on deck to help set up for the next day's annual Apple Blossom Fly-In breakfast.

I think I drove Mick crazy every time I referred to his speedy Sparrowhawk-conversion Cessna 152 II as a "150". His bird is most certainly not the same sort of C-150 that I flew in my original training.

This Piper Colt is the "honorary tail dragger" of the Williamson Sodus Airport.

Back at Sodus, the fuel pump enjoyed some brisk business. Hey, airplanes have to eat, too.