The Navion is a type that you see a fair bit around the US. They are a popular aircraft and are both used for private flying and also sometimes for display teams. I’ve shot a bunch of them over the years. However, I did not know until very recently that Ryan, when they took over the design, came up with a larger cabin version of the aircraft called the Rangemaster. I only found out because I happened to shoot one at Paine Field. It was only when I looked it up that I found out what it was. I may have seen one before but I certainly didn’t know it if I did. A quick search shows that there weren’t too many of them built and I guess a lot less are currently airworthy.
Arlington’s air show included a brief performance by the replica of the Spirit of St Louis. I have only shot the plane once before and understand it is up for sale so it might not be around for much longer. A chance to get it again was welcome and, since it was an evening air show, maybe some good light would be on the cards. Sadly, it was pretty late by the time they got ready to go and the evening was overcast anyway. Instead of good light, it was barely any light.
Even so, you go with what you have. They taxi out passed our location which is nice to have. Takeoff was away from us so they were a bit distant by the time they were airborne but still not too bad. Some passes over the field and then a landing form the other direction and that was it. They did taxi back in our direction of course. Nice to see it again but, oh to get it in nice light.
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.