Day -2 at Minden

Yesterday’s strong winds have been replaced with middling conditions—perhaps more reminiscent of Pennsylvania than the west coast. Still, it’s an official practice day, the first of two, and much of the field takes to the air. Before that, Mike spends most of the morning putting an oxygen system in JOY and finishing the installation of new LiFePO4 batteries in the nose. These batteries have slightly higher capacity than the lead acid batteries they replaced, but nearly half the weight.

With these chores mostly done, Mike completes some exciting registration paperwork. The envelope at his left hand contains two complimentary passes to a local hot springs spa, a perquisite of contest participation.

Mike registers for the 2012 US Open Class Nationals

It gets more interesting than batteries and paperwork… Continue reading

Waiting at Grove City Airport

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Mike is heading west from Central PA right now, and I’m waiting at Grove City Airport to meet him. Grove City is a couple miles south of I-80, and directly north of Pittsburgh.

Coincidentally, this airport was where I first flew a glider, back in October of 2003. My journey as a pilot started here.

On the ramp: a CASA 212 transport airplane with a fateful registration number…