As previously mentioned in another post, the great location at the back of the Harpoon. On the trip back, this was where I spent much of my time. I was checking to see whether anyone else wanted to be there but apparently not. Consequently, I relaxed there a lot while the central valley passed beneath me. Whether it was the patterns of orchards or the cattle feed lots, there was always something to see. As we got closer to Stockton, it was housing developments and the shapes that come with them – sports fields, schools, malls, parking lots. A very relaxing way to see the state.
One of our party on the trip to Eagle Field commented on whether it was a rule that all airfields have a derelict Harpoon parked on them. While we had traveled down in a pristine example, parked a short distance away from us was a Harpoon that was not in the greatest of shape. Most of it seemed to be there but some bits had gone. The effect was to expose the aircraft and make it look more like a skeleton of a plane. When the light angles were nice and low, the texture on the plane was really nicely picked out too. I have no idea what the future holds for this plane but I doubt it is going anywhere in a hurry.
I had a really fun experience recently. I was given the chance to head down to a fly-in in one of the participating aircraft. The aircraft was a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon. Beautifully restored, this aircraft was piloted by Taigh Raimey. Taigh works with a variety of aircraft including a lot of Beech 18s but the Harpoon is a great aircraft to fly in. Inside it is extensively restored so a lot of the original equipment is included. Consequently, it is a little cramped in there and you have to be careful as you move through the airframe.
There are two places inside that are worth spending some time. In the middle of the fuselage is an astrodome. This is certainly a great place to watch what is going on. You can look freely in any direction. I was up there when we arrived at Eagle Field and got a good view of our flyby. However, my favorite spot was the rear of the fuselage. It is extensively glazed and you can lie on your stomach and watch the world pass behind and below you. That will get a post of its own.
While Schellville has a great collection of vintage aircraft in operation, it also has a couple of large airframes that do not look like they are going anywhere in a hurry. Parked near the runway are a DC-3 and the PV-2 Harpoon. The DC-3 is a rare sub-type….
The PV-2 has apparently spent some time as a spraying aircraft and it has some Arizona logos on it from a previous existence. It doesn’t have any doors on the bomb bay so I am assuming that these were removed as part of whatever conversion was done for the spraying role although that is just a guess. Both of them are sitting out on the earth and, with the low sun angles you get at this time of year, they look particularly interesting.