Arlington is the current home of a replica of the Ryan Monoplane flown by Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic. This is a detailed replica built over many years by a guy called Mike Norman. It has flown a few times and they are increasing the hours on the airframe prior to taking it further afield. I hadn’t seen it before but my friend, Bob, advised that it was due to fly on a recent Sunday morning. The weather was looking nice if a little warm (heat haze) so I made the trip up to Arlington early on the Sunday.
They taxied out a little later than planned but not by much and certainly not when you are working with an experimental airframe. They took off to the north and flew a couple of circuits. We were a bit distant from it but not too bad. I figured I would head to the approach end for the next circuit. I got there just as they were on short final so too late to get a shot but I figured I would get the next one when they climbed out again. However, the next approach turned out to be for the cross runway. They flew close by while downwind but I was on the wrong side for the light when they were on final.
On the next climb out they left the circuit to fly up towards Bellingham. This left a problem. By the time that they were due back, the light would almost definitely be tail on down the runway. I discussed with Bob the options and we decided to go to the south of the runway and hope they came that way. As it was, they arrived back at exactly the time the light was aligned with the runway so the worst of options. However, we were not far from the threshold and had a mountain backdrop on final approach so not too bad. It is a lovely looking replica. I hope to see it fly again, maybe in nice evening light. I suspect it is easier to fly when the air is a bit less bumpy!
I had not been up to Sonoma Skypark for quite a while. Lots of things had been going on that had either kept me at home or taken me further afield but, with a nice Saturday forecast, I figured it was time to get back up there and say hello to some folks. The weather held to the forecast and it was a great day to be up there. During my first visit to Schellville, I had met Dave Masters and photographed his ST-A. Dave also pays a visit to Skypark each week. I had seen him there before but had not shot him from the good light side of the field.
This time I was determined to do so. When he appeared downwind, I scampered across the field to get into position. I was just in time as he came down the approach and I grabbed a sequence of shots. Here they are.
Our Schellville expedition brought me into contact with a type I have never seen before. The Ryan ST-A is not a plane I was familiar with and, when one taxied out for departure, I was quite curious as to what it was. A quick departure was followed by some passes over the field before the pilot headed off to the local area where we could see him carrying out some aeros in the distance.
A while later, while we were sitting eating some food, a guy came across with his lunch and joined us. His name was Dave Masters and it had been him flying the Ryan earlier on. We had a great chat about the history of the aircraft and how he had come to own it. He also told us about a similar aircraft in one of the hangars which we made time to see in due course.
A great looking aircraft design and two of them kept in wonderful condition. This place is already looking like a great spot!