Those of you that have been taking the newsletter for a few years have probably figured out that not only do I have a passion for riding motorcycles, but I also occasionally like a little extra adrenaline rush (See Bungee Jump Video) in my diet as well. You know, something not quite as scary as riding a motorcycle on the 101 in rush hour, but close. This might explain my desire to learn how to fly. As a result of sharing my flying experiences a couple of weeks ago, one of my readers, Craig McCully, who is also an avid motorcycle rider, emailed and invited me to get some stick time in a CJ. Well, I didn't really know what a CJ was other than it was some sort of old war plane, but if I could get some "stick time" in anything at this point, I was pretty much interested in the experience.
So we set a time to meet at 7am Saturday morning at his hangar at Deer Valley airport. I rode up to the hangar to see Craig pre-flighting the plane. Not sure what I was expecting, but I was looking at this old faded green airplane with a re-skinned gray rudder, patched ailerons, a radial engine, a big 01 on the cowl and a red Chinese star on the fuselage. Click Here for Picture. I'm saying to myself, OK, this isn't the prettiest Swan on the lake, but it is probably in better running condition than it looks, everything is probably good or Craig wouldn't be flying it, right? So after some conversation and closer inspection I see that he is near the end of restoring this old Chinese war plane better known as a YAK. This plane was used for the last 50 years in the Chinese military dating back to the Korean war and are now being sold and imported to the United States.
Once Craig had gone over the history of the plane, how he got it and stories about the last 3 years of restoration work, I was starting to feel better about my soon to be ride in an old war plane. That is, until I stood on the wing to look at the rear cockpit where I would be setting 4000 feet in the air, to see these giant letters spelling out EXPERIMENTAL across the front of the fuselage. With all of the stories that you hear about experimental planes falling out of the sky combined with my trepidation about the outward looks of the soon to be painted Yak, my brain interpreted those letters to read, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Craig quickly pointed out that the FAA regulation requires them to put experimental on all of these planes. Apparently anything that is not licensed as a certified production aircraft has to carry the experimental tag. So I was satisfied that it probably wasn't that big of deal. After the inspection of the cockpit I would be utilizing for my flight, I hopped off the wing to see Craig holding my next surprise. It was a parachute! He explained that I would need to wear this for the flight, another FAA regulation.
OK, this latest bit of news had this brave adrenaline junkie now looking for a hole in the back of the hangar big enough to get a Road Glide through, cause I'm getting the heck out of Dodge. But once again, the lure of taking to the sky in this old bird is keeping me there. After I get strapped into my parachute Craig gives me a quick lesson on how to slide back the cockpit cover and jump out of the plane if the need arises. As I try to imagine jumping out of the plane at 4000 feet I'm also trying to figure out how I went from getting some stick time to strapping on a parachute and learning how to leap out of a 1950's vintage Chinese made aircraft labeled experimental, AND remember to pull the rip cord. A lot to remember for a kid from Kansas that just wanted to go for a joy ride.
At this point I had to ask the same question that is probably on your mind as well. Uh, Craig? Uh Ya..... so why was it again that we need to wear a parachute? He said that "if you are going to do Acro, you need to wear a parachute, FAA rules. And by the way, there is a barf bag back there if you need it". While flashing my ultra cool poker face of understanding to Craig, I'm thinking to myself, ACRO! I didn't sign up for ACROBATICS! I was just looking for some stick time. Flying with the canopy facing the ground wasn't part of my thought process when I rolled up to the hangar. But then reminding myself that I was Mr. Adrenaline junkie and that I had already jumped out of a plane with a parachute before, albeit under more controlled conditions, I was warming up to my upcoming ride in the newly restored Yak CJ.
So we pull the plane out of the hangar, I strap in and put on the headset for the intercom, as Craig prepared the engine for start. He yells Clear, flips the starter switch and after a couple of revolutions of the prop sending spark around this large radial engine, these 9 cylinders fire up one by one as a big puff of smoke blows out of the exhaust and we are on our way. While we taxi to the runway for departure, with my adrenaline spiking while wondering what was in store, I have no idea this about to be one of the coolest things I have ever done.
The Deer Valley tower cleared us for takeoff and Craig responded, Yak 42, Rollin'. He gave full power to the 285 horse circular designed engine and before you knew it we were in the air heading North for what was about to be the ride of my life. Being a student pilot myself right now, I was excited to actually be able to fly this piece of history and see what she could do. Once we reached altitude, Craig did a few demos of some rolls right and left for me and then asked if I was ready to give it a try. Since the barf bag was still safely stowed in its' original location, I figured I was ready to see what I could do. Pretty much any chimpanzee can grab the stick and jam it to the left and make the plane roll. The trick is to stop the roll when the plane is back to level.
So I grabbed the stick, gave it a firm push to the left as I watched the wing go straight down giving me a perfect view, upside down, of New River below before moving the stick back to center bringing the plane back to straight and level flight. Craig said that we pulled about 3.2 g's on that roll. After a few more rolls, dives, turns and maneuvers we cruised out for a view of Lake Pleasant where I heard my fellow student pilot Scott Pasmore on the radio doing his solo cross country heading to Wickenburg for his first stop. I let him know what we were on his flank and gave him a Yak escort to Wickenburg before coming back to Deer Valley.
Even though my first impression of this plane was not filled with confidence, the Yak performed smooth and flawless for almost 2 hours in this flight. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun and exciting things I have done in a long time. The spike of adrenaline as a result of the tight turns, rolls and dives are hard to describe. Take every rollercoaster you have ever been on and multiply it times 3 and you might have this experience. Fortunately the parachute nor the barf bag was needed on this day and the 14 Yak owners at Deer Valley Airport gained one more fan of this airplane. There is supposed to be a Yak fly-in to Deer Valley in October. I will post it in the newsletter so that anyone interested can come out and see these planes in person. Thanks to Craig for his excellent piloting skills and an experience that I will never forget. Not me in the back, but here is a shot of this plane in the air.
Next week I will be back with the continuation of our trip from Monterey through the Redwoods to San Francisco and beyond. I have 388 pictures from that day so it is taking me a little longer than I thought to get them processed. But there are some good ones. I look forward to sharing. If you missed last week's letter about the Pacific Coast Highway, Click Here to read.
Highlights This Week
Saturday, July 19th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Ride With Us to Ft. McDowell/Saguaro Lake.
This is going to be a fun ride and it is FREE!
Bike Nights This Week
Chandler Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Tilted Kilt Mesa. Stop by the brand new Tilted Kilt in Mesa for Thursday Bike Night sponsored by Chandler Harley-Davidson. Sit out on the spacious patio or the cool inside. No matter where you are there will be the Tilted Kilt girls there to wait on you. Enjoy great food and drink, Door Prize Drawings, Music and 15% off your entire ticket on Bike Night. The NEW Tilted Kilt is located at 1910 S. Gilbert Rd. in Mesa. 480-507-5458.
Chester's Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Dos Gringos Mesa. Ride by the New Dos Gringos Mesa located on the northwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline in Mesa. Dos is sure to make an impact and add some flare to the east valley. Enormous patio, complete with its own outdoor bar and separate dining areas on each side. Dos is a casual neighborhood hangout with great food and cold cervezas. Feel free to dine at one of our four tops, relax at one of the booths lining the edge or just belly up to the bar. Click Here to View. There will be drink and food specials and Raffles and Fun from Chester's Harley-Davidson. Ride with Chester's from the dealership at 5:30pm every Thursday located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. 480-894-0404.
Vito & Nick's II Thursday Bike Night. A NEW Bike Night for the SOUTHEAST VALLEY.
Vito & Nick's II is putting their great outdoor patio to good use on Thursday nights with an all new bike night. This is a brand new location that features an outdoor patio, a comfortable dining area and bar. Bike night specials include $1.00 Off All Beer, $2.00 Off All Appetizers, $2.00 Off All Shots, $2.00 Off All Large Pizzas, Raffle Prizes. Get your raffle ticket when you ride in. Plenty of outside seating and dining inside. Stop by this Thursday for some Great Food and Fun! Vito & Nick's is located at 3321 E. Queen Creek Rd. (SE Corner of Queen Creek and Higley Rd.) 480-279-4482. Click Here to see Vito & Nicks.
Hooter's Thursday Bike at Peoria location. The parking lot will be blocked off and it will be a night for MOTORCYCLES. Ride by Hooters in Peoria every Thursday night for Prizes, Giveaways every 1/2 Hour, Specials and of course great service by the Hooter's Girls. Enjoy $2.00 Bud and Bud Light Pints and $5.00 Bombers as well as those tasty Hooter's Wings. Sit on the huge outdoor patio and watch your favorite sporting event or inside with TV's every where you look. Enjoy this perfect riding weather with a ride to Hooter's this Thursday. Plan to check out the first night. 16550 N. 83rd Ave. just South of Bell Rd. 623-776-0123.
Fuzzy's Southwest Sports Grill Bike Night. Riders on the far west side in the Surprise area finally have a Bike Night. The brand new Fuzzy's Southwest will be hosting a bike night on Thursday Nights. Fuzzy's features an outdoor patio, 17 HD TV's, Pool Table, Large Horseshoe Bar and all glass front to see the bikes roll in. Enjoy Great Food, Pool, and Your Favorite Sporting Events all on new Flat Screens every Thursday Night at The Newest Bike Night In the Far West Valley. Bike Night Specials Include: 2.25 Corona's, Corona Light, Dos XX, Dos XX Amber, Pacifico, Tecate. $3.00 Jalapeno Poppers. $4.00 Super Spuds. $5.00 Chicken Tenders. $6.00 Baby Burgers. From 6-9pm. Fuzzy's is located 18795 N. Reems Rd. in Surprise at the corner of Reems and Grand Ave.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.
Saturday, July 19th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Ride With Us to Ft. McDowell/Saguaro Lake. This is going to be a beautiful ride and it is FREE. Chester's Ride With Us is quickly becoming a popular event every month at the dealership. Riders from all over the valley make their way to Chester's for these rides. This is a good opportunity to ride with some friends that you haven't met yet. Saddle up with Chester's Harley-Davidson for a fun 70 mile ride to Ft. McDowell Casino for breakfast and then on to Saguaro Lake. Ride Starts and Ends at Chester's located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. Registration from 8:30am - 9:00am. Kickstands up at 9am. This is a FREE ride for ALL riders. Call 480-894-0404 to Pre-Register by July 15th to reserve your spot.
Sunday, July 20th
Sober Riders 6th Anniversary Party. At Bikers Bay located at 1355 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa, 3pm-??? Sober Riders MC East Valley Crew is celebrating our 6th Anniversary on July 20th, 2008 at 3pm. Come one Come All! Everyone Welcome. This event will be held at Bikers Bay in Mesa at 1355 S Country Club Drive. There will be a DJ, Bike Wash (By the Brutal Beauties of the Arizona Derby Dames), Water Games, Great Food and Drinks will be available. This will be a Great time for All!! Contact FULLSIZE at 480-217-6197 for more information.
July 25th - 27th
Too Broke For Sturgis. ABATE of ARIZONA presents Too Broke for Sturgis July 25-27th, 2008 at Morman Lake Lodge, Morman Lake. Starts Saturday July 25, 2008 10AM. All proceeds benefit ABATE of Arizona. Camping Friday and Saturday nights. Bike show, Poker run, 50 / 50 raffle, bike games, MS TBFS, wet t-shirt and tattoo contest. Live music Friday and Saturday by Shut Up and Drive. From Flagstaff 30 miles south on Lake Mary Road. From Payson take SR 87 north to Lake Mary Road. Fmi Margie 602-222-8329 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For vender info contact Muskrat at 520-371-1735. Morman Lake Lodge 928-354-2227. ABATE members get 10% discount on cabins and rv hookups. $30 for weekend pass. $20 for ABATE members. $15 Saturday pass only. Click Here for Flyer and much more information.
Friday, July 25th
1st Annual Salute To Arizona's Military Women. On July 25. 2008, there will be a ceremony at the Phoenix Mercury vs Seattle Storm basketball game at 6:30 pm to HONOR all the WOMEN who served our nation in WWII. This will be the 1st ANNUAL SALUTE TO ARIZONA'S MILITARY WOMEN, past, present & future. We need motorcycle rider volunteers to escort the motorcoach from Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center to the US Airways Center Arena. Parking will be provided for motorcycles on the concourse at the arena. Please see the attached information to purchase tickets to the game and additional information about the escort. You do not have to purchase tickets to be part of the escort. Contact Bob Rogers at 602-439-4517 or email@example.com on or before July 22 if you are planning to attend.
Saturday, July 26th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Monthly Free Breakfast. Last month was a huge success. There was a line of riders all morning for breakfast. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson wants to invite all it's great customers to a customer appreciation breakfast on Saturday June 28th from 8:30am till 10:00 am!. Join us for a FREE pancake, sausage and egg breakfast. Thank you for all your support and business! Ride by Arrowhead Harley-Davidson the last Saturday of Every Month for a free breakfast. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. in Peoria. 623-247-5542.
Saturday, July 26th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs and Paradise. Join Buddy Stubbs for their monthly last Saturday of the month HOGS and Paradise Party. From 11am - 3pm enjoy Free Food and Soda, Live Music, Pool Tournament, 50/50 Raffles and Museum tour of over 125 Vintage motorcycles in the onsite museum with Buddy Stubbs. And while you are there take a look at the new 2008 Harley-Davidsons and the latest in Motorclothes. 30-50% off Select Merchandise. Ride by Buddy Stubbs and enjoy the festivities at 13850 N. Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix, AZ. 602-971-3400.
Cyclerides.com Classifieds Now FREE!
I am opening up the classifieds to once again be a free listing for the rest of the summer. Put any and all of your parts and motorcycles on the site at no charge. Just put 1234 in both the credit card and expiration spots. Be sure to reduce your photos to 640 pixels wide for the best viewing. Click Here to Place your FREE Ad.
Well, as Get Smart says: "Missed it by that much". This guy might be saying the same thing. Check out this video from a bank video camera. Click Here to View.
This is a funny creative routine by a performer called the Short Guy. Click Here to View.
If you like a heart warming animal video, here is one for you. This is Really cool. Click Here to View.
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