While I was with Eric, he suggested we do a little flying in his Champ. I haven’t flown a Champ before and Eric let me get some stick time. Most of the aircraft I have flown over the years have been pretty benign in yaw with not a lot of need to use my feet. The Champ is a different story. Plenty of rudder is required to fly it properly and I did nothing of the sort. A few turns later and I was starting to get a bit tidier but I certainly need a lot of practice to get comfortable with the aircraft.
Eric also flew some more dynamic maneuvers while I was shooting. I also grabbed some video clips. They aren’t a complete story but just a few clips so go the video below gives you a quick glimpse of what we did. Thanks Eric for a lot of fun and for reminding my stomach how long it is since I have flown anything resembling a dynamic maneuver!
I was kindly invited up to Sonoma Skypark by Eric Presten to have a look at his Bleriot XI. This is a replica that Eric and his family built in a short time span and that spends a lot of time in Wisconsin. Therefore, it was quite unusual for it to be in California and in one piece. It was about to be disassembled so I was keen to see it before it came apart again.
Eric flies the aircraft occasionally but will happily tell you that it is not a particularly fun aircraft to fly. It has wing warping rather than ailerons which are not the most effective – particularly at the speeds which this aircraft operates at. However, it is a cool replica and one I would like to see fly at some point. Eric kindly had the aircraft pulled out for me to get some shots. Thanks for the great hospitality.
Eric is an aviation photographer himself and has an outstanding collection of images of more aircraft than I knew existed. He will happily sell you copies of his books so head to http://www.prewarpublications.com/Home.html to see his work.