Thursday 13: Flying machines

Every time Mr. T flies, he updates a pilot log book with details of his flights–aircraft type, date, destination, duration, passengers, etc. Recently, I got to thinking: what would my passenger log book look like? I was surprised to find that in addition to commercial jets like the Boeing 737, I’ve taken to the sky in 13 different aircraft so far. This Thursday 13 list begins and ends with (roughly) my favorites.

1. Boeing Stearman.

The Stearman is by far the coolest plane I’ve ever flown in. Open cockpit, rumbling engine, it just feels like history. See what I mean by clicking here. The Stearman became the inspiration for our “Love is in the Air” wedding with this photo by Beth at True Love Photo.


In my campaign for best girlfriend ever, I took my very first Stearman ride in the pouring rain. I don’t remember ever being so cold as during this flight to the Watsonville Airshow.


As promised, me in my super sexy goggles and leather helmet.


Watsonville Airshow.

2. Vans RV-4.

When I’m not in grad school, I sell RV-4s. (Kidding. But doesn’t this look like a promotional photo? I’m like the Vanna White of airplanes in this pic.)


Few things delight me or make me turn green more than loops! Here’s a video of my first loop (click here). For the record, I did not recall the, um, commentary until we watched the video back on the ground.


Sporty and sexy, I adore the aerobatic Vans RV-4. It’s the plane that Mr. T does all of his formation flying in and it will soon be featured on MYTHBUSTERS! We’re kicking around the idea of taking it to Oshkosh next summer but that would be SO many hours in the itty bitty backseat. Stay tuned.


Gratuitous self-portrait. The only thing I don’t care for is not being able to see the instrument panel. I hate not knowing what’s going on!

3. Cessna 172.

Alas, I have no photos of the actual 172s I’ve been in. I believe this one used to belong to my father-in-law long ago. (Or one just like it!)

4. Vans RV-6.

We took the RV-6 to Phoenix in June before I started my doctoral program at ASU. Do notice the lack of a roof on this plane… it was SCORCHING! Apparently I was so overwhelmed by the heat that I took no pictures of our journey which as you know is completely unlike me.


The damn RV-6 lost me $20 last week! I stupidly bet Mr. T (who only bets on a sure thing, by the way) that I’d only been in the plane once. How was I supposed to know that he has video evidence of me on a second journey?? Can’t argue with a video of me giggling through a roll, now can I?
On the way to Half Moon Bay a few years ago.

5. Twin Comanche.

Mr. T got his multi-engine rating flying the Twin Comanche. This was my first experience in the plane, a quick vacation to Shelter Cove, California. Find out why I call it the “Twilight Zone” by clicking here.


We took the Twin Comanche up north for our first anniversary trip this summer. See here and here and here. While I prefer high-wing aircraft for picture-taking purposes, the Twin Comanche is a really comfortable ride.

6. Vans RV-8.

I caught a ride in this gorgeous RV-8 over the summer on a formation flight during Rag Wing Day at Rancho Murieta.


7. Beechcraft Baron.

This beauty belongs to my father-in-law, Ray. A few years ago he and my lovely mother-in-law, Zana, flew it to the Bahamas!


Ray’s 70th birthday a few years ago.


I’ve only flown in the Baron a couple times, once for a trip to Ukiah (shown here) and once to lunch in Napa. See here.

10. Rans S-7S Courier.

On the list of airplanes I irrationally hate, near the top is the Rans. Why you might ask? The doors.


You can fly WITHOUT THE DOORS. Unacceptable. The thought creeps me the heck out!


Although I can pretend to look quite happy in the back seat nonetheless. Check out a cool video of T’s touch-and-go by clicking here.

9. Vans RV-8A.

One of the newer airplanes to T’s flying group, this is Sparky.
Oshkosh 2010. I’m allowed to dress uber-girly on my honeymoon, okay?
My first taste of formation flying!

10. Beechcraft Bonanza.

How I miss the Bonanza. This shot was during a fuel stop in Nevada I think. We were on the way to a family reunion in Yellowstone. Here’s us landing in Yellowstone.


A trusty plane, we flew it to Denver (in February!) and San Diego, too.


And Vegas. Note that stretch limo that drove out to the tarmac to pick us up! (Granted it was the same cost as a van… which would you choose?)

11. Culver Cadet.

Another piece of flying history, the 1940 Culver Cadet. It must be hand-propped. Not my favorite part of the experience!


Heading to a AOPA pancake breakfast at Yolo.


This is one of about 14 flying Culver Cadets in the world.

12. Ford Tri-Motor.

Honeymooning at EAA Oshkosh has its perks. A volunteer gave us free passes to ride in the 1929 Ford Tri-Motor.


Definitely a highlight of our honeymoon!


Felt like stepping back in time.

13. Cessna 182.

As the first airplane I really took a journey in, I’m likely to love the Cessna 182 forever and ever. In particular, landing in the Grand Canyon is something I’ll never forget! (I also won’t forget our trip to Harris Ranch. For my commentary on CHP dining habits, click here.)


Check out that happy face! We’d just landed in Oshkosh and used our “Just Married” signs for a few laughs during parking.
For our 18-day Hopscotch Honeymoon odyssey around the country, T took out the back seats of the 182… and I filled ’em.
Me and the clouds over Keokuk, Iowa.

Questions? Comments? Do tell. Comment below or email bluestmuse(at)gmail.


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