|Gage, Oklahoma Flight
February 7, 8, 9, 2015
|Arriving at Gage airport, I overflew the hangar and waved to those folks standing
outdoors before entering the pattern and landing. They waved back and greeted me
warmly knowing that I had made a significant cross-country trip. Something none of
them have done. I pulled my AirBike next to three other AirBikes, a fourth was parked
separately. This was a first for me and perhaps nowhere else in the world have five
AirBikes been at the same place!
|This is the other Experimental AirBike that was parked separately, it is actually highly
modified following the pilot's "bending" it some years ago during a bad landing, the
owner rebuilt it making the fuselage wide enough so he was completely inside. He also
installed an HKS 60 hp engine and heavy duty fiberglass landing gear. The four-bladed
prop matched the engine power well. The wing end plates help control the wingtip
vortices and improve low speed control.
|For safety, I always file a flight plan with the FAA on cross-country flights. I initiate the
plan via my cell phone, then call them again when landed and cancel the plan. There
is a 30-minute grace period between the time I told them I would arrive at my
destination and then calling in to cancel the plan. Failure to do so initiates a
sequence to find me that could eventually result in a variety of search vehicles being
sent out. Of course this is the entire point of filing a flight plan, I want someone
quickly searching for me if I have to land for some reason, in a remote area. It is also
important to stay on course.
Once landing at Gage, I discovered my cell phone displayed either "Emergency calls
only" (I don't know how to respond/activate that) or it says "No network service"
which means I have no phone service. Fortunately, the local people had cell phones
that worked there, I canceled my flight plan using one of theirs.
|When flying in late
afternoon and early
evening, the low sun
angle makes the ground
pronounced by creating
shadows from the high
grounds. This is the most
pleasant time of the day
|There are hardly any trees on the prararie, they are usually
only along riverbanks. The groundcover is sage brush.
They are tough bushes about two feet high that cover the
landscape. There is no safe place to land other than the
gravel roads or hayfields.
|During early evening, we flew in a group of six to nine planes at altitudes from 50 feet
to 500 feet. I stayed at the 500 foot altitude not knowing the area very well. There is
not much to run into out there except for an occasional oil drilling rig. Two of the
planes are in this photo. Everyone stayed in the same relative position to other
planes, that made it easier to keep track of where planes were. No one got close
enough to another plane to swap paint!
|These two oil wells represent a drilling operation. The large pond contains water that is
mixed with sand and then pumped into a closed well. The smaller ponds contain water
used during the drilling operation as a lubricant and means of flushing drilled material out of
the well casing. The remaining crushed stone is called Chat and is used as a road cover.
One airplane is seen flying over the two wellheads. Planes with dark colored wings were
difficult to see as they blended into the terrain.