Dave’s 10th Anniversary of Flight

I had an awesome 3-stop flight last night for my 10th anniversary of flying. My favorite flights follow the 80/20 rule: 80% adventure, 20% misadventure. Wind was stiff from the West, so I scrapped my original plan to land at the beach, and instead flew to Sanford airport to land and make some adjustments to my motor. I took off again, then landed in the Blueberry Barrens to pick some blueberries. A couple cycling by stopped and chatted about blueberries. I shared with them locations where I spotted others picking blueberries (the berries themselves are hard to see while moving through the air, even at 5 feet).

A PBY Catalina in the background at Sanford Airport during my maintenance stop.
Blueberries in a rare naturally treeless zone of Maine.
Northern Blazing Star from the Kennebunk Plains. It’s a rare and beautiful flower here. Once a year, the Kennebunk Plains burns so that these flowers can germinate (don’t quote me on that lifecycle; I’m not a biologist).

No-wind launching at the Blueberry barrens was somewhat sketchy– The ground was uneven and the dirt roads were rutted. In my rush to launch while nobody was looking, I’m pretty sure I forgot to attach the right speed bar pulley to the wing. Sometimes they fall off on their own, but I think it was a lax pre-flight in this case. The speed bar line swung back and hit the propeller on take off. The propeller suffered minimal damage, but the netting on the lower right quadrant was destroyed (it was an easy fix). Amazingly, the speed bar line wasn’t badly damaged and had lassoed itself safely around a cage spar. I appreciated the reminder that complacency doesn’t care how experienced you are, nor how long you’ve been flying. I waved at the blueberry pickers down below like everything was normal and flew home.

Oops.

At 300 feet, a familiar apple- or blueberry-cinnammon pie scent was stagnating over the field. I have only once before noticed this pie layer of air, a few years back. I’m not sure what makes it, but it smells great! It only happens this time of year.

Crazy thing– The wind was blowing at least 15 mph at tree-top height. There was no wind on the ground all day.
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