THE TEXAS PILOTS ASSOCIATION

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Sunday November 29, 2015 10:40

 

   

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Back to the Chairman's Page
 
My Texas
 

 

 

Once in a while -as I get a chance to go flying or visit GA airport accessible locations, I will post a featured event with photo's and/or videos, and list a few facts about it that may interest you. I encourage our members and visitors to do the same and send us their contributions!

 

To learn more, in detail, about Texas airports, please visit our Fly Texas page and click the "Texas Airports and Heliports" button; we also encourage you to study the whole page while you are there too!

 

Celebrating 150 years of aviation in Texas, and more to come! Let us now take a vow:

"The TPA is here to stay!"

Fly Texas!

 

Ra? M.Alexander Ayyad, Chairman

 

 

 

 

 

EVENTS ON THIS PAGE

(For airport directory information, visit the Fly Texas page)

 

 

 

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The 48th Annual Dallas Turkey Trot --November 26, 2015

 

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Aurora Art Event of Light, Video & Sound --Dallas Love Field (DAL) -October 16, 2015

 

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The Brazos River/Possum Kingdom Lake --Graford (F35) -October, 2014

 

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The Brazos River/Granbury Lake -- Granbury (GDJ) -July thru August, 2014

 

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The Big Easy ... New Orleans, Louisiana (NEW)! [separate page].

 

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Flying, camping, swimming, diving and hiking at Lake Whitney State Park (F50)

 

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Camping and Hiking at Celburn State Park (CPT) -May 5, 2012

 

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A relaxing round-trip flight onboard a 1973 Cessna C-150L, originating FWS, with a tour over Cowtown and a touch'n'go at FTW, then landing back at FWS. -April 6, 2012

 

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Flying out of Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW) to tour downtown Cowtown/Panther City, in a 2007 Schweizer 269C helicopter -March 31, 2012  

 

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Night Flight, with la se?rita, in a C-172R "Skyhawk", out of Addison Municipal airport (ADS) to Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY) via Lancaster Municipal Airport (LNC) and touring East Dallas -January 28, 2012   BEING UPDATED

 

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Camping, hiking and biking at Cedar Hill State Park, Thanksgiving 2011

 

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The Fort Worth Alliance Airshow (AFW) -Fall (Autumn) 2011 -[with Video]

 

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Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS) & Cleburne Municipal Airport (CPT) -[With Video]

 

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Alpine Range Airport (00TS), Alpine Shooting Range -February 2011

 

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The Fort Worth Alliance Airshow (AFW) -Fall (Autumn) 2010 -[With Video]

 

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Dallas Love Field Airshow (DAL), & Collins Foundation B-17 -April 2010 -[With Video]

 


 

PARKS ON MY LIST TO VISIT IN TEXAS

 

Big Bend Ranch State Park (Airport ID:3TE3)

Lake Whitney State Park (Airport ID: F50)

Possum Kingdom State Park (Airport ID: F35)

Pedernales Falls State Park (Airport ID: T82)

Inks Lake State Park (Airport ID: BMQ)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Trot, 2015 (DAL/RBD/DFW/JDB/ADS/TX1/GPM/GKY)

Dallas, Texas

The 48th Annual Dallas Turkey Trot

(November 26, 2015)

 

What another great Dallas event! With my crazy work schedule, I have not been keeping up with the happenings in the DFW Metroplex, until a day ago, Thanksgiving eve, I was reminded about The Trot by a registered participant, who injured his legs during his last day of preparation and training, and who offered me the opportunity to attend in his place.

2015 Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot - Thanksgiving Day - November 26, 2015

For those of you who are not familiar with this event, to quote exurbs from Wikipedia: "the run is produced by the YMCA since 1968. The Trot is held on Thanksgiving Day and attracts elite competitors and amateurs from all 50 states in America and 10 countries. The race includes both runners and wheelchair racers."

I was not ready to run the event because I am out of shape, having neglected to exercise for the past couple of months while spending unhealthy amounts of time sitting at my computers working (I know, my bad!); but, the chance to walk 5-km (3-mi) was exciting, and possible for me, being that I am a regular fast long-distance walker (often able to keep-up with most people's jogging speed)...

... More importantly, I decided that it is a wonderful chance for me to take photos from within the race/walk to share them with you here on The TPA's website (below), and promote the event at the same time.

One problem arose when I arrived at home late the night before the race, and I was not able to get myself to fall asleep until it was past 0300h (CST) the morning of the race, and I had to be up at 0600 to get ready and meet-up with another participator, for we were going to carpool... that was less than three hours of sleep!

Once I awoke, showered, and groomed myself, I was recharged like dynamite and ready to go! I prepared my camera gear bag, and headed out. Thanksgiving morning was an overcast one, and we were anticipating thunderstorms to roll-in, but later in the afternoon. The temperature was a cool 65?F, but refreshingly pleasant -especially for an event like this! Registration started at 0700, and the race was supposed to start at 0900.

As the crowds of people amassed behind the starting line, and just around 0900, it started to lightly drizzle, but fortunately the skies decided to hold-off raining until it was 1300! What good luck!

The announcer on the PA system asked people to acknowledge him when he named (their) different cities and towns in Texas, universities, and other states around the nation [while we waited for the "Go" call, which was delayed till near 0930], and people waved their arms and cheered as they heard the names of their alma-maters, cities, towns, and states being called out! The atmosphere was awesomely friendly and positive... that was no surprise to me.

There were people (many with their pets) from different states and countries, all walks of life and ages (including babies being carried or riding strollers), individuals, couples, families, friends, and groups representing organizations, etc. Some people were chatting together and laughing, others were focused and somber, and some were simply looking around and smiling.

The call to "Go!" was announced, and the river of people started advancing! Some of the mothers and fathers pushing babies in their strollers looked like Formula-1 race car drivers revving their motors, and ready to throttle-up, to start travelling their circuits aiming for the openings between people in the crowd! Others were just relaxed and chatting as they slowly moved forward.

Right off, some runners were jetting out -while politely maneuvering around other participants- in competition for the race prizes; others just took their time in speeds that ranged between a jog and a stroll! Then there was me... I came so to share this experience with you, and I'll tell you this: taking good photos while moving in a relatively dense dynamic crowd is not the easiest thing in the world to do! [lol]... but, I was somewhat ready for that :-p ... I walked fast most of the time, and eventually calmly cruised over the finish-line threshold while taking photos to the exhilarating end!

After all this excitement, I left to prepare myself to spend the rest of this day, celebrating, with the family.

Next year, I hope that you will decide to participate in this event, and if you do make this choice, let me know! Perhaps we can put a group together. I hope that the pictures I took, and have shared with you below, will give you a good idea of what the experience was like, the size of the event, and also give you a humble idea about what a part of the downtown of our fair city of Dallas looks like

If you are one of those many wonderful people who would like to fly-in to visit North Texas, tour the region, and and participate in this event, you have many options! The most obvious to many is via commercial aviation, but if you have the option to fly GA, why don't you?! Dallas has several well serviced airports, and is surrounded with many more within a radius of 20-30mi (~30-min drive). Here are some that you can look up on your charts:

  • Dallas Love Field (DAL)

  • Redbird Executive Airport (RBD)

  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

  • Dallas Vertiport Airport (JDB) --Heliport

  • Addison Municipal Airport (ADS)

  • Mesquite Metro Airport (TX1)

  • Grand Prairie Municipal Airport (GPM)

  • Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY)

I would like to point out that you can travel around many areas in North Texas via the Trinity Railway Express (TRE), and the Dallas and Fort Worth mass-transit systems (DART and The T). It is a practical and fun way to get around the DFW Metroplex!

 

Copyrights reserved to owner: Brandon Kilgore. Source: railpictures.net

 

I hope that you will find this information useful... Be safe this Holiday Season!

... I will post a video of the event once I have access to it.

Till next year and another Turkey Trot!   

By the way, if you decide to share any of the images on this page/website, feel free to do so, BUT please do not modify, and give credit to the site and note the copyright.

 

 


 

Aurora 2015 (DAL)

Dallas, Texas

Art Event of Light, Video & Sound

(October 16, 2015)

 

 

Flying into Dallas Love Field (DAL) -Courtesy of: Daniel Troxel

 

 

Well, this was one event I was not aware of until almost the last minute! A friend of mine, a supporter of The TPA's mission and a university professor of Humanities, Dr. Jacqueline Smith, contacted and invite me to attend; she had planed an extracurricular cultural "field event" for her students, near 70 of them... how could I turn her invitation down!

 

Aurora is a free and public contemporary art exhibition centered in the 68-acres Dallas Arts District. The expansive and immersive exhibition presents interactive light, video, performance, and sound artworks in exciting and unexpected public spaces.

 

It is ironic that I recalled today that one of my neighbors, another friend, had mentioned the event to me, during a conversation about his work at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, and his preparation for the event as one of the event's engineers, but it did not register in my mind at the time!

 

 

If I attempt to describe this one-night event with words or photographs, I know that I will fall short of being true in my presentation, because it must be experienced, but here is a video that will give you some idea:

 

 

CBS11 Aurora: A Celebration of Light, Video and Sound

 

 

I can imagine that for some of those who attended this event, they may have experienced sensory overload! Around every corner there was something to interact with! There were people of all age groups and backgrounds, but the diverse crowd certainly seemed to attract younger people ranging from teens to those in their 50s. All those I saw at the event were friendly, very jovial, inquisitive, and seemed to be enjoying their time and all that the Arts District in Dallas offers from Museums, to other venues. Two of the several places I visited were the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

 

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) train stations were part of the event too, where visual art productions were displayed, including but not limited to the Eye's expo... which was setup at the Uptown Station.

 

 

 

 

I managed to take some stills, which I will share with you, but, please understand that, often, I was not able to use the camera flash in this setting of dynamic and constant movement -choosing to adhere to the proper etiquette of being in such an environment... I did my best to keep a steady hand, and to minimize any blurring! ... enjoy:

 

 

 

 

I must say that even though I frequent the Dallas Arts District, especially the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center -one of the worlds great orchestral halls, and the home of our Dallas Symphony Orchestra, I almost did not recognize it! Talk about loosing situational awareness! But, I do admit that it was awesome just to spontaneously interact and move among the people and enjoy the event from the inside out.

 

The organizers plan to make Aurora  a regular attraction in Dallas, so, I do hope to see you at next event! To learn more, you can visit the event's website at: http://dallasaurora.com/ .

 

 

 


 

Upper Brazos River -Possum Kingdom Lake (F35)

Graford, Texas

Canoeing, fishing, and camping!

 

(October, 2014)

 

With Mike "Scallywag" Roberts

 

 

Courtesy of: James Brandon, from Fort Worth, TX

 

 

 

 

A FEW DAYS OF R&R...

 

What a canoeing and camping trek, and what a suntan we gained! [lol]. The original scope of this adventure had included many more people, with children, but by the time all was confirmed, the purpose of this trip became for myself and my friend, Mike "Scallywag" Roberts, to lead the way and explore the upper Brazos basin around Graford, by canoe, over a span of three days, and then plan for a follow-up trip with more people to journey this stretch of 20-miles again!

 

A flop on my behalf was that I forgot my primary camera gear at home, but my saving grace came in the form of two things, I had my backup Digital Canon Vixia Video Camera, with a charged battery no-less, in my High Sierra rucksack -which I keep ready and packed for spare-of-the-moment action, and I was able to use my SGS phone camera for stills (which worked out since there is no cellular reception throughout most of the river basin we explored). The problem with the Samsung Galaxy phone camera that I used is that when it came to zooming into scenes, the digital zoom was not worth a cent, and the quality of the photos suffered. Lastly, I did have my brand new "Digipower Universal Battery Charger," which when the time came to charge my camera's battery, it did not not charge it at all (retested later at home for a whole day, and the results were the same).

 

 

Anyway... moving on... I did not want to use my kayak for this trip, so, we rented our canoe from Rochelle's Canoe Rentals, which is adjacent to the Dark Valley Bridge in Graford (we were advised that they will shuttle your vehicle and equipment for a nominal charge -we secured our own transportation. Further more, Mrs. Rochelle shared that if other members of The Texas Pilots Association would like to use their services, they are willing to work out some deals with you depending on the size of your party, so, let us know -by email- if you would like to do business with them, and we will provide you with the necessary info.)

Camping at Possum Kingdom State Park, or PK as it is popularly known, has its own rewards, and I will share more about that location in the near future. The airport, F35, which I have alluded to herein is located within the perimeter of the PK state park.

A BIT ABOUT THE RIVER...

A bit about this section of the river... many believe that the first portion of this trip, the 19.5-miles from the Highway 16 crossing to the Dark Valley Bridge (Highway 4) is the most scenic, rustic and exciting trip the upper Brazos has to offer... we'll let you be the judge of that!

The craggy cliffs and boulders echo the historic past of the Brazos. The Brazos is probably the river that Indians of the Caddoan linguistic group called Tokonohono. This name is preserved in the narratives of the expedition led by Ren?Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and the Brazos is widely identified as the river that La Salle named the Maligne.

The name Brazos was probably first applied to the Colorado River, and there is considerable evidence that several early explorers got the Colorado and the Brazos rivers confused. In 1716 Isidro F?ix de Espinosa and Domingo Ram?qqv probably called the Brazos "la Trinidad," but the present names were established well before the end of the Spanish period. The full name of the river, often used in Spanish accounts, is Los Brazos de Dios, "the arms of God." Many legends have grown up explaining the name. Probably the earliest is that Francisco V?quez de Coronado and his men wandering up the Llano Estacado were about to perish from lack of water when the Indians guided them to a small stream, which the men then named Brazos de Dios.

Another account tells of a Spanish ship tossed about by a storm in the Gulf of Mexico that had exhausted its supply of drinking water. The sailors were parched with thirst, lost, and unable to determine which direction they should go to find land, when one of the crew noticed a muddy streak in the waters. The ship followed the streak's current to the mouth of a wide river on a great rise. The ship sailed up the river, and the sailors drank fresh water and were saved. In gratitude they christened the unknown stream Brazos de Dios.

Another account fixes the naming of the stream in the 1760s, when an extreme drought made it impossible for the Spanish miners on the San Saba to work. They had heard that the drought was even worse toward the south. They headed toward the Waco Indian village where, according to reports, there was a never-failing stream. Many of the men and beasts died en route, and the precious bullion was buried, but the few who finally reached the stream named it Brazos de Dios. The last story, told to Albert Pike in 1831, accounts for the reversal of the names of the Colorado and the Brazos.

If you are interested in the history of the Brazos, a good read maybe a book titled "Goodbye to a River" by John Graves.

BACK TO OUR JOURNEY....

A recommended put-in point for such a trip is the Highway 16 bridge below Possum Kingdom Lake. Although there are a few exciting rapids, especially one below the mouth of loni Creek, this is a trip to be enjoyed by everyone and all ages.

Spring and autumn are usually the best seasons for the trip. Water levels are better at these times and temperatures are more bearable. It is recommended that the hot summer months are good only if there is adequate water flow for enjoyable canoeing. Even at low water levels, the river starts to deepen in the Chick Bend area. There will still be some shallows at low water levels, but they will be shorter and less tiring.

Speaking about the summer, that brings me to the Texas sun! Sun-block is your friend, which is a lesson Mike learned on this trip! Initially, being an outdoorsman, he thought he did not need it, and did not bring any, although once we were at the launch site, he recanted that thought on his own, and was the first to use the supply I secured before we put-in... You will notice how Scallywag's upper-body was roasted red in the photos, even with his use of the sun-block! imagine if he did not. The direct sunlight is intensified by what is being reflected off the water surface and surroundings... people who snow ski/board understand this well too!

Here are common myths about sun protection:

  • You can't get a sunburn on a cloudy day: Up to 80 percent of the UV rays that cause sun damage penetrate clouds, so your chances of getting sunburn on a cloudy day are quite high. Also, since UV rays can be reflected off of water, sand, snow, and concrete, you can even get a sunburn in the shade or when skiing on a cold, winter day. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

  • Suntanned skin is healthy: A suntan is a sign of skin damage, just like a sunburn. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

  • Wearing a t-shirt while in the sun will protect you from burning: While clothing provides some protection, a standard white t-shirt only has an SPF of about 7. If it's wet, the SPF can go down as low as 3. The darker and thicker the clothing, the more protection it provides. (Source: Skin Cancer Foundation)
     

  • If you have dark skin, you don't need to use sunscreen: Although dark skin does not burn in the sun as easily as fair skin, the sun can still damage the skin. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

  • You need to sunbathe to make sure you have enough Vitamin D: Vitamin D is present in everyday foods. The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend deliberate sun exposure for the purpose of getting Vitamin D. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

  • SPFs over 30 don't give you more protection: Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays (UVB). However, some sunscreens now include compounds such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone which helps protect against UVA rays as well. The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.

  • If you've lathered yourself with a high SPF sunscreen, you're fully protected from the sun: Skin care experts recommend using a combination of sun protection tactics that include seeking shade, using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, a hat, and clothing that protects exposed skin. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

By the way, many people mistakenly think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating would give three times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens filter 98%, and SPF 100 filter 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. No sunscreen protects you completely. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

OK, that is the end of that public service announcement!! [lol] ... Back to our adventure!

It is told that fishing for pan fish, bass and catfish is usually good to excellent. This also is dependent upon water flow and conditions. Even though we had setout to do some fishing as part of this trip - especially for Mike who is a very able fisherman- we really did not spend enough time doing so, for we were more taken by exploring the terrain and the river and enjoying the canoeing experience. There are many photogenic spots, especially the rocky sections of Garland and Chick Bend, or some of the small exciting rapids. There are abundant and adequate campsites, however, be aware that there are no parks or public camping facilities. All gear which is needed must be carried with you.

In regards to camping, rather than doing so on the banks of the river, we chose one of the larger islands in the middle of the river to setup our campsite. It was obvious that someone used the same location in the past, because we found a ring of rocks that was used to contain a camp fire which we were able to salvage and reuse!

For food, originally thinking that we will be hiking on the trip, I travelled relatively lightly (everything I usually fit in my rucksack and carry on my back -which includes a camelbak hydration reservoir and a water purification system), which meant nonperishables (trail mixes, granola bars, summer sausage, crackers, peanut-butter, honey, coffee, tea and water). Once I realized that Mike brought an icebox, we added spicy smoked sausage links, eggs, butter, condiments, a baguette, brew (I am not talking about iced-tea [lol]), more water, and live fishing bait!

Mike also brought a couple of folding chairs, a larger tent and inflatable bed for his comfort, so, my added luxury item of choice was my trusted and versatile "Stanley J45C09 900-Peak-Amp Jump Start System" (or "The Football" as it is nicknamed -first by my pal Douglas "Doc" Dow, referencing the  U.S. president's "emergency satchel"), which we used to recharge our electronics and run our portable USB powered devices such as cameras, my tablet, GPS/Transceivers, and Smartphones.

All and all, by the end of this trip, and to date, there were certainly three very notable and memorable images which were burnt in my mind, and which I left this experience with...

... the first is the memory of the laughs I had with my brother (Mike) during  the canoeing trip and after (mostly at ourselves and certain incidents we experienced! [I am snickering right now as I think of them!])...

... the second is  the image of a herd of what seemed to be feral horses that came galloping to the river to drink at one bank, and which later we found out that they crossed the river to the other bank -after they were behind us and out of our sight- and caught up with us before they went up the cliff and disappeared from our view again...

... and the third is the image of the night sky, the sliver of the new moon at sunset, airglow, and the densities of stars upon stars that illuminated the heavens... millions... nay... billions! While I laid my head down to sleep for the night, I quickly noticed that the head of my sleeping bag and my pillow were oriented towards the constellation Sagittarius, and my left shoulder towards the planet Mars... it all was amazing and full of wonder! ... what romantic beauty.

Unfortunately, not having my proper photography gear, I was not able to document the imagery of the night sky on this trip.

The only victim of this trip was my favorite straw hat that was deformed during the last night of camping, where I woke-up the next morning to find my right leg resting on top of its crown and crushing it! I still have not given-up efforts to restore it to its original shape [lol].

 

Mike pulling canoe through shallows... it is "obvious" that he is loving it! [lol]

"Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream..." =)

Scallywag, being himself! [LOL] Making faces, and being happy that he does not have to row the canoe anymore! =)

Chillin' with a "cool one" after setting up my campsite, cloths line, and campfire =)

Sorry! Consistantly, at meal times, we were too hungry to think of taking photos of the food being cooked! 'Must be the fresh air!

Mike staring at the stars above...

... light... bugs... heat... dead!

... Hey! Wait for us!! =p

Packing my campsite to get back on the river!

... Perhaps of a Gar?

... Perhaps of a Gar?

Aside of being a notable cook, Scallywag, is an expert fisherman! ... tackle, archery, air rifle, speargun, etc. ... he does it all!

A bit of fishing around noon time... did not catch any fish =(

If you plan to fly-into the Possum Kingdom Airport (F35), then you can learn more about it by clicking on the sectional image above at the beginning of this commentary. I will be posting more videos of this canoeing trip, and of the river, very soon!

 

I have to go for now, so, as always, I wish you all safe soaring and exploring! 

 


 

The Brazos River/Lake Granbury -Granbury (GDJ)

Kayaking, fishing, eating, resting and spending a good time with country folks!

 

(July-August, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Morning on the Banks of a Texas River
August 3, 2014

 


I stare at the sun as it rises. I literally can feel its rays tracing my skin as if it were the warm gentle touch of a caressing woman draped in silk charmeuse. I focus my camera lens at the source, and, save. The silhouette of the trees and the ripples on the river?s surface -caused by the leaping fish and the air bubbles from the turtles- are spellbinding, in an otherwise appearance that parodies a polished mirror.


Twenty-four hours ago, I was sleeping at home after staying up late reading in bed. Nothing would have awoken me until I got my eight hours of sleep first, and that is how it was. The usual routine, after waking-up at home, was that I would conduct the daily pilgrimage and roam my humble abode, stretch in front of the balcony, take a lung full of city air into my chest and then start my jovial productive day? However, often after the passing of weeks of this routine, my warm home starts to seem dreary for some odd reason.


Out here in the country, it is a whole different story ? whole different dynamics it seems. I was up last night till past midnight chatting with friends and neighbors while sitting on the banks of the Brazos River. A friend of mine has a little nice property right on the water, where I have sought refuge from the city?s excessive concrete and blacktop, metal, glass, noise, and amplified heat.


Without any mechanical trigger, this morning I found myself up less than five hours after I faded into dream land, and just as the sun started rising about the horizon. I got up and walked barefoot to the kitchen and had a glass of water, then I thought to go back to sleep, but I just could not? as usual when I am out here, I had a very strange attraction to step outside.


I slid my feet into my slippers as I looked out of the ceiling-to-floor glass wall window facing the river in the room I slept in, and then I brewed a cup of hot coffee, donned on my straw hat, grabbed my Nikon HDSLR camera and stepped out.


The moment I stepped onto the patio, the unseasonably cool steady fresh air hit my body as if I took a dive into the water? it was invigorating! I suddenly felt charged and truly alive; simultaneously, I stared at the river, the trees and the sky above us all? all were so picturesque? tranquility in one of its finest and most beautiful forms.


Arriving at the dock thirty paces away, I recast the fishing rig I had in the water since last night, where fortunately the turtles did not nab my bait as they so expertly do most often, making me feel sometimes as if I am running an ?all you can eat? free buffet! Obviously, I would not classify myself as an expert fisherman? more like an apprentice! I just reentered into the world of angling newly after attaining my fishing license again after an absence of many years.


The surface ripples created by the entry of the rig into the water were hypnotic, and I stared at them for a while until I noticed the hints of the warm colors of the sun?s rays starting to shimmer on the outgrowing rings of concentric waves. I raised my head slowly upwards to find myself gazing at the arc of that yellow star, the sun, peeking behind the trees across the river. I climbed the stairs to the second level of the dock and turned on the camera and started saving memory prompters on the device.


The coffee was still steaming in the cup, so, I took a few sips as I sat down on a chaise and started to absorb the ambiance? it was heavenly. But, nature had still more and more to offer. As I relocated to another chair with a better view, right across of me, no more than six feet away, a humming bird hovered in front of my face? seconds later, it moved out of my sight as fast as it came into my visual frame.


My heart started fluttering from excitement as fast as the little bird?s wings were beating the cool light breeze that started passing around us? I looked about as if I was expecting to see someone to say: ?did you see that?!? but, I quickly realized that it was just a special and private moment between the bird and I.


All this reminded me of a quote from Norman Maclean?s book, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, ?Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.?
 

For a week, I have been working on attaining much needed rest; I was reminded, yet again, that it is never about the number of hours of sleep we acquire, it is in the quality of it. At home there are many distractions and routines that sometimes just take the pleasure inherit in life out of it? perhaps it is the artificiality of it all on today?s ?modern life?? out here, in the midst of relatively undisturbed nature, it all comes back together, and so do I.


I think that it is a needed experience for any person who chooses to remain healthy, not only physically, but mentally too. Travelling about an hour by car from my home landed me universes away from where I was. Get out there; get out of the caves you have imprisoned yourself in? those cube shaped caves. Allow yourself to be reborn? get back into the open wilderness, the open sky? welcoming and generous nature.


There are so many places to experience such a gift around us here in Texas (as well as all other places). You may not have access to a private lake -or river- property, or generous friends who do, but you still can find similar places in nature you can call your own, even if temporarily. Visit the website of the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and locate the one sanctuary that will serve your needs out of over a hundred great places; rent a cabin or take a tent, pack smart, be spontaneous if you like, go with fun companions, and prepare to be grounded and recharged to tackle your daily routines again!

 

 

 

 

For pilots who want to fly into the area, you have two choices (the areas I hang around): the first is to fly into the city of Granbury (GDJ), and the second is to fly into city Weatherford (WEA), Peach Capital of Texas! It many be worth it to know that Granbury Regional Airport  does provide  courtesy cars on first come first serve bases, which can make a big difference to you.

 

The airport management at Granbury tout their reputation for being the friendliest airport around, and I may agree at most levels, but then again, this is Texas, and most people around here are very friendly -but, I'll let you be the judge!

 

In regards to Granbury, and not to get into the politics of things, but it may be worth it to share the following -since you may notice it anyway: Unfortunately, about Lake Granbury, from what many residents of the city have told me during my visits, it seems that the Brazos River Authority keep selling excessive amounts of the lake's waters, to businesses, keeping the level lower than what the citizens expect, creating a drought-ridden looking landscape around the lake, and in turn, also leading to the devaluation to many properties in the area, to say the least, which has been a concern and a point of contention with some lake-property owners. I haven't verified these claims.

 

 

 

 

 

Another beautiful area of our state that I encourage you to explore! Perhaps we will cross paths around there sometime! If we do, I will treat you to breakfast at Mary's!

Safe soaring and exploring!

 


 

Lake Whitney State Park (F50)

Flying, camping, swimming, diving and hiking.

 

 

Interpretive Guide to Lake Whitney State Park (PDF)

 

 

The 955-acre Lake Whitney State Park was acquired in 1954 by a Department of the Army lease and opened in May 1965. The park is along the east shore of Lake Whitney, west of Hillsboro in Hill County.

The park is located on Lake Whitney near ruins of Towash, an early Texas settlement inundated by Lake Whitney. Towash Village was named for the chief of the Hainai Indians, who moved into the area in 1835.

 

The park is located in the Grand Prairie subregion of the Blackland Prairie natural region. It has open disturbed tallgrass prairie remnants with scattered groves of live oak and a small area of post oak/blackjack oak woodland. In the spring, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and over 40 species of wildflowers cover the roadside and landscape. Common animals include white-tailed deer, raccoons and squirrels, and foxes, coyotes and bobcats are occasionally spotted; 194 species of birds have been sighted, including wild turkeys and bald eagles.

Activities include camping, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, boating, fishing, swimming (buoyed area - no lifeguard on duty), scuba diving, water skiing, nature study and excellent birding.

An annual youth fishing tournament is held on the first Saturday in June, and "aircraft fly-ins" are held at various times.


 

Those who made it before me!

 

 

The entrance into the park.

 

 

Satellite image of the park and its location on the lake. It also shows the airport at the park.

 

 

The airport at the park

 

 

Sunset at Lake Whitney

 

 

Soon, much more to come... Videos and photos!

 

 

Lake Whitney State Park Airport

Airport Use: Open to the public
Activation Date: November 1955
Status: Operational
Control Tower: No
Seg-Circle: Yes
SEGMENTED CIRCLE NSTD, ONLY HALF CIRCLE PRESENT DUE TO PROXIMITY OF RUNWAY.
Beacon: None
Wind Indicator: Yes, Not Lighted
A.R.T.C.C.: FORT WORTH
F.S.S.: FORT WORTH
NOTAMs Facility: FTW (NOTAM-D available)
Sectional Chart: SAN ANTONIO
Airspace Analysis: NO OBJECTION
Attendance: Unattended
 

Airport Communications

CTAF: 122.900
ATIS at ACT (20.0 S): 123.85
ASOS at ACT (20.0 S): 254-754-6148
AWOS-3 at CNW (22.8 SE): 134.225 254-867-3880
 

Nearby Navigation Aids

  ID Name Freq Radial / Range
VOT ACT WACO 115.30 333? 16.5
VOT JEN GLEN ROSE 115.00 112? 29.7
VOD TPL TEMPLE 110.40 355? 43.0
VOD GNL GROESBECK 108.80 291? 46.5
  ID Name Freq Bearing / Range
VOD CN LEROI 378 119? 18.3
VOD ROB ROBINSON 400 142? 29.4
VOD MNZ HAMILTON 251 238? 44.0
VOD LXY MEXIA 329 104? 46.8
 

Runway 17/35

Dimensions: 2000 x 50 feet
Surface: Asphalt in Fair Condition
Weight Limits: S-10
  Runway 17 Runway 35
Gradient: 0.1 0.1
Traffic Pattern: Left Left
Markings: Basic in good condition. Basic in good condition.
Obstacles: 30 ft Tree 640 ft from runway, 90 ft left of center 40 ft Tree 545 ft from runway, 130 ft left of center
 

Services Available

Fuel: NONE
Transient Storage: Tiedowns
Airframe Repair: NONE
Engine Repair: NONE
Bottled Oxygen: NONE
Bulk Oxygen: NONE
 

Ownership Information

Ownership: Publicly owned
Owner: LAKE WHITNEY STATE PARK
  PO BOX 1175
  WHITNEY, TX 76692
  254-694-3793
Manager: JEFFREY TOWERS, PARK SUPT
  PO BOX 1175
  WHITNEY, TX 76692
  254-694-3793

 

 


 

Camping and hiking at Cleburne State Park (CPT).

May 5, 2012

 

Weather conditions:

Ground level temp: Warm/Hot, 91?F (~33?C), visibility: clear, precipitation: 0

 

 

 

Map of the area (directions)

 

Map of the park

 

 

More to come on this trip

 

 


 

A relaxing round-trip flight onboard a 1973 Cessna C-150L, originating from Ft. Worth Spinks (FWS), with a tour over Cowtown and a touch'n'go at Ft. Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW), then landing back at FWS.

April 6, 2012

 

Weather conditions:

Ground level temp: Warm/Hot, 80?F (~26?C), visibility: clear, cross-winds & some turbulence, precipitation: 0

 

 

fter my helicopter excursion over Ft. Worth on the 31st of last month, I got back into the grind of things at the office. I am not sure what my last week would have been like if I had not had that break! The week was certainly classified as a hi-energy, hi-pressure one!

 

Fortunately, I have been saving change here and there, checking the suit pockets, couch cushions and under the car seats, and finally I found myself with enough dough to rent a plane for an hour to soar high, free, and relax! Initially, I thought to visit Denton, Texas, and fly out of DTO, but unfortunately, their aircraft rates were not competitive, and I had no desire to drive to Dallas today, for I was not sure what the traffic was like!

 

Fort Worth, on the other hand, a quiet and mellow big city, especially on a weekend day during siesta time! ... just what I was looking for! A slow paced, easy going quiet day with such very friendly people. I cruised towards the city, and headed towards Ft. Worth Spinks Airport -I know some good people there who own a location that leases a Cessna 150L (among other equipment) for a relatively reasonable rate (without me having to shop too much for a more competitive charter elsewhere)... it is also a C-150 which I have flown before.

 

The day was a tad windy, and I knew that I will have to contend with crosswinds, more on landing than take-off! those darn cross winds! [lol] The 150 is a relatively light aircraft, so it was interesting to fly it on a breezy day like this! After arriving to the airport, I met with a corporate-jet pilot friend, Drew, who is also a CFI when he has spare time, and we figured that we can chill out and fly over Fort Worth and the surrounding area, rather than fly towards Arlington (GKY) where I initially was thinking to cruise over, for I had noticed a lot of small jet traffic in the area prior to arriving to Spinks. I verified later that there was an event taking place at the Ball Park, and that could have explained the air traffic I observed.

 

Being that I decided not to contend with the semi-congested airspace over GKY, the decision above mentioned, about flying Fort Worth was made. The take-off was fairly routine and uneventful, with the need to simply correct for the wind pushing the aircraft of center-line alignment, then we followed pattern and headed north.

 

After about 30 minutes of flying around, and taking a bit of video footage, I adjusted our heading towards Ft. Worth Meacham International Airport, and as we approached I requested clearance to do a touch'n'go, which was granted. One thing was very noticeable to me, and that was a voice I have not heard before at the Meacham ATC... it was the voice of a VERY charming lady! [lol] It really caught my attention, and Drew and I commented on it, but nonetheless, did not distract me from my PIC duties! [lol] 

 

As we flew in parallel to the runway on the downwind leg, I recalled that I wanted to video the touch'n'go (or circuits and bumps, as my British friends would say), so I asked Drew if he would pilot... he gladly agreed, so, I gave him the controls, and he acknowledged that he had them, and I started turning the v-cam... This was the second time I used the Sony DCR-SX85, which again, proved to be a disappointment -for a Sony camera- when it came to the resolution, being it the quality of the video and certainly the stills... For the few stills I took during the flight, I used my newer Nikon this time instead of my older Canon (that served me very well over the years).

 

Anyway, Drew executed a very nice landing, albeit a touch rough, because the darn 150 did not want to land!! LOL! the effects of the crosswinds on this light aircraft were noticeable with no doubt! After a few seconds, full throttle was engaged, and the procedures for takeoff (or aborted landing) was followed until we reached about 2000ft, when I took-over the controls again; I flew the aircraft to 2200ft and held it there.

 

After taking some stills of Ft. Worth downtown, and doing some aerial maneuvers while maintaining a relative south heading, I started our approach back to Spinks, and accordingly the preparations to descend after we requested clearance to land for a final stop, which was granted.  

 

I could feel the wind pushing the plane around, and up and down, and I figured, da*n it! This landing is going to be interesting... Drew looked at me with CFI eyes and a light nod [lol], and it was clear that he was going to watch me take this baby in and land her to final stop! Oookie, Mr. professional pilot! I will! [lol] Well... Everything was beautifully aligned, 'maintained the airspeed and altitude until I was hovering over the runway, and suddenly I felt the aircraft wanting to fly sideways to my left and the wings being tipped over! I De-Crabbed, Crabbed, and slideslipped until I flared for landing! Initially I felt like a ballerino, and then suddenly I turned into Michael Flatley with Riverdance/Lord of the Dance!! [lol]... before a couple of thoughts where done flying through my mind the mains touched the runway, and slowly I brought the nose down then applied the brakes;  at that moment I recognized without doubt that I landed right of center while concurrently imagining the gentlemen seated in the ATC tower observing my landing, shaking their heads, and laughing!! [lol] ... but, I did not care for long about that (the embarrassment)! I made a safe landing, I made the needed corrections, and I started taxiing towards the hangers.

 

We took the grass strip once we were off the active runway (after requesting permission), while pulling/holding the yoke all the way out as I adjusted the throttle to counteract the resistance of the turf surface, where I continued in that position until we pulled back out onto the ramp that lead us to the apron in front of our hanger. I have not taxied on grass before, so I really enjoyed the experience!

 

... and the rest of the day is history... checklists, tie downs, good-byes, the ending of the video recording, and then leaving to grab some chow on the way home!! What a nice day! I wish that you all were there flying with us!

 

 

 

Note: If you do not know who Michael Flatley and Riverdance are, watch and enjoy this short clip:

 

 

 

 


 

Flying out of Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW)

to tour downtown Cowtown/Panther City

 in a 2007 Schweizer 269C helicopter

March 31, 2012

 

Weather conditions:

Ground level temp: Hot, and humid, 82?F (~28?C), visibility: clear, some turbulence, precipitation: 0

 

 

 

 

More to come on this flight

 


 

Night flight, flying out of ADS to GKY via LNC,

with la se?rita in a C-172R "Skyhawk"

(incl. Touch 'n' Go at GKY)

January 28, 2012

 

Weather conditions:

Ground level temp: Cool at ~50-40F (~10-4C), visibility: clear, wind: 0-5mph, precipitation: 0

 

 

ell, as I have shared before, why keep the joy of flying to yourself?! Yes, we will always meet less creative, less adventurous, and less imaginative people, who may not "understand us," but I assure you that there are many out there just like us living for the opportunity to jump on the chance to try and enjoy such a delightful, practical, and exciting experience!

 

You don't have to go far at all! just look around you... your own family, friends, or -for heavens sake- your own gal or guy! What is more romantic or fun than a sunset or sunrise flight with the one you love, or flying together with the family to a vacation spot somewhere? and what is more romantic than to let your special one fly you for a spell (while you keep your 'eyes' on the controls -if they are not certified yet)?!

 

Guys and gals who fly: if you are one of those who need an excuse to go flying: V-day is approaching! skip spending your cash, or scrounged-up change (for us less affluent folks [lol]), on the boring gifts that end up in the attic or garage sale, and plan to give the gift of an everlasting memory! that is a smart investment and resources well spent! invest in the love of the one you love! ... hint, hint!

* * *

After several adventurous and prosperous weeks of work at the office ('speaking about my full-time for-pay career that, among other tools, helps me support my full-time not-for-profit work as an active team member and supporter of The TPA), studying and leading projects while reading and sending data from one computer screen to another, drowning in teleconferences, looking down at reports, analyzing, addressing challenges, and dealing with the heck of the business world that most of us Americans are familiar with... it was time to recharge, meditate and relax, else go wacky-bonkers! ... I stepped out of the office on Friday and looked up at the big Texas sky above me with one thought in my mind, the same thought that was on my mind at the beginning of the week: I am going to go flying this weekend! It was either that (a bit of R&R), or soon enough start spending dough on treatments for stress related ailments of the mind and body as -unfortunately and sadly- many Americans do today! I would rather live by the proverb: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

 

 

Saturday came, and we were ready for it! "We" are Ashley and I. Our adventure started near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), on the Fort Worth county side, where we drove from; then we flew out of the city of Addison, Texas, and its municipal airport (ADS). The Drive from home to Addison took us about 35 minutes -the road traffic was very reasonable, and the GPS in the car helped me avoid high traffic areas and maneuver through construction areas without getting lost while I drove! [lol]

 

The last time I flew out of ADS as a Pilot In Command (PIC) was on the eve of Y2K! Ashley, had only flown onboard commercial jetliners, and -like many- had never been behind the controls of any aircraft.

 

Having unexpectedly injured my arm and bruised a rib, mid last week, during martial arts sparing with a mild-tempered, pleasant, eager, and confident Black-belt, 1.5 times my overall size, at the Dojang (道場), who always has a broad smile on his face that reminds me of the cat Tom after he swallows the mouse Jerry (in the animation "Adventures of Tom & Jerry")!

-admittedly, I was dodo enough not to wear my arm guards so that I can block his attacks properly... %@#$&! as the horse in the cartoon to the right of this paragraph describes!...

 

... anyway, I digress... I did not feel comfortable to fly the plane in that condition while carrying "precious cargo" (Ashley) on board, so, turning negative into positive, I decided to surprise her: today, the bambina will be at the controls! yep! and I solicited the professional services of a friend, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), and recent addition to The TPA membership, Eric, to do the instructing (also, this way Ashley can officially claim her flying hours on her first pilot log book!).

 

My mission changed... it pays to be flexible and dynamic when needed! My presence now was for the joy of the ride... well, the flight... and to do a tad of instructing/guiding when appropriate or necessary, and act as a co-pilot to assist with checklists incase of an emergency (I was requested to be a backseat driver/pilot, and I volunteered to be a cheerleader to boot! how unique! [lol]), otherwise, my primary focus was to enjoy watching Ashley experience the joy and wonder of flying as a PIC, and to do a bit of "video-ing" with a new DCR-SX85 Sony camera I got my hands on (which I hate to say that I was VERY disappointed with), and a smidge of "pitcure-ing" with my good ol' Canon, and a bunch of chillaxing as a VIP passenger! [lol]

 

 

At ADS. New pilot briefing done. Checklists done. One heck of a meticulous person! well done item by item.

Now, let's go!

 

 

Due to the density of Dallas Love Field's (DAL) commercial jetliner traffic tonight, we were politely and apologetically denied a request to tour over the Dallas downtown area during the time we wanted -we requested this via the ADS Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs), who were kind enough to check for us with DAL; so, instead, we charted a flight plan that took us in an arc heading eastbound around Dallas, avoiding the DAL aerospace, then flying southbound over White Rock Lake, and then south-southwest towards Lancaster (LNC), where, after we declared our location and intentions over the radio -being that LNC is not a controlled airport, Ashley practiced some flight maneuvers over and around the airport and its runway that lay there almost resembling a tall and narrow Christmas tree with the coloring of its lights midst the surrounding darkness.

 

 

La se?rita flying us over Lancaster, Texas, at about 2200ft and an airspeed of about 120KAS

 

 

 

Ashley flew us by the communication masts that tower around +1700ft (+520m) over the hills of the city of Cedar Hill, then we headed towards Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY). We flew over and around Joe Poole Lake until we paralleled its western shores as we aimed north again, and this is when we requested clearance to perform a touch-n-go at GKY. The ATCs at GKY were very kind and professional -as it was with all these ATC towers we contacted- and GKY approved our request... Ashley started the process of aligning the plane's approach with the cleared runway (34)... on final, mixture, carb heat, watch airspeed, continue decent, flaps, aim for threshold, pull nose up, stall, glide, touchdown! throttle-up to max power while preventing yaw and keeping wings level, max rate climb speed, trim, raise flaps -no more than 10 deg at a time, allow speed to increase further, trim, raise remaining flaps, achieve best rate climb, trim... and we were aloft again with this promising student-pilot at the controls!

 

We flew over the Arlington Highlands where we could clearly see the "Dave & Busters" location as we rounded the area, and read the "Bed, Bath & Beyond" on that building as we circled west then back north-east-north... the parking-lots in the middle of the Highlands were pretty full, hopefully indicating good business for the fair city of Arlington, and good times for its citizens and neighbors on this Saturday night!

 

 

 

Can you guess where are we flying?

 

 

Time was flying (pun intended! [lol]) as we continued to have fun; but speaking for myself at this stage, I was starting to become famished (I complained that this flight had no food service! [lol])! So, we started heading back up northeast to ADS via the reverse route we took flying to GKY after over an hour and a half of flight. We passed downtown Dallas to our left; downtown Dallas looked like a beautiful bride with her bridesmaids, and all were dressed in a tasteful display of light adorning the architecture of the buildings. I recorded some video (hopefully I will be able to extract some good stills to post here soon.)

 

About six or so miles from ADS we called in for clearance to land back at our departure airport... it was cordially granted.

The temperature was chilly, and the sky was relatively clear; after landing, and stepping out of the warm aircraft cockpit, the temperature contrast was pretty noticeable! After Ashley and I helped Eric push, guide, and park the aircraft in the hanger at the head of several other sister C-172s that were tucked-in for the night, then closing and securing the bay doors, we went in where Ashley got her first flight logged on her pilot log book... she officially earned 1.6 hours of flight towards her pilots license training, which I truly hope that she will chose to pursue, because I believe -as I had when we first met- that she's got the gift!

 

After leaving the airport, we jetted out and cruised to grab some chow and winddown, in the city of Las Colinas, Texas, on the way back home. Flying like this can really open a person's appetite, especially if you had not eaten much prior to the flight! Ashley noted that she was not thinking about food until after we landed and she started absorbing the reality of the experience she just had [lol]... Of course, my true excitement for her feelings did not prevent me from being hungry, and I was the one who ate... Ashley... well, some gals just... just don't chow down, and at most times, in contrast to most men, nibble like elegant cats! and that is simply part of their wonderful charm. [lol]

 

 

[Due to the size of the original file, these videos are being updated into three volumes.

The Simulator Training is displayed above ...

The Checklist and flight videos are being uploaded and are coming very soon!]

 

 

 

 

I have never flown with someone who picked-up so quickly on how to control and fly a plane! ...

... Oh! and bring us back down to earth in one piece... well, with a little help ;-)

 

 

More on this flight, and others, to come soon!

 

 

 

 


 

 

Camping, hiking and biking at:

Cedar Hill State Park -Joe Pool Lake

Thanksgiving 2011 (5-days)

With friends and families, including Mr. Michael "Chi-Ching" Davis of The TPA!

 

 

Via Grand Prairie Municipal Airport (10.1mi - 18min)

Via Arlington Municipal Airport (12mi - 19min)

Via Dallas Executive Airport (12.2mi -22min)

 

 

 

  • Summary, and links to download reference material about the park

 

 

Map of Park media download(PDF 173.8 KB)

Map of Park (Northside Detail)media download(PDF 100.1 KB)

Map of Park (Southside Detail)media download(PDF 106.6 KB)

 

SUMMARY:

 

Campsites & Other Facilities: Facilities include restrooms with showers; picnic sites with tables and grills; hike-in, primitive campsites; campsites with water and electricity; 4.5 miles of hiking/backpacking trails; 10.3 miles of mountain bike trails; 2 boat ramps (ten lanes); group picnic pavilions (capacities 50 and 100); and 2 trailer dump stations. All campsites have electricity and water and are located in wooded areas. Nearby Joe Pool Marina (972/299-9010) offers a year-round grocery store, plus boat rentals, and a fishing barge.

 

 

 

Wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) is available in some areas of the park for visitors to use. Please check with the park for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Reference material for nearby airports

 

 

Unfortunately, this is not going to be a "camping with the plane" event [sad snif], but, there are several airports within 20 minutes from the park.

 

More details about the airports listed above can be found at:

Fly Texas

 

We will be exploring -in the near future- "camping with your plane" adventures in Texas (ex. Big Bend Ranch State Park), and also in some of our neighboring States such as: Oklahoma (ex. Lake Texoma), and Arizona (ex. Payson)!

 

 

  • Activities:

1,826 acres of rugged, natural beauty

 

Ready for adventure and R&R at the same time!

Set for camping, hiking, riding and even fishing!

 

Tent and Sleeping-bag, small icebox and water thermos, food and mess-kit, towel and change of proper cloths, tools, hiking and first-aid gear, lantern and stove, foldable table, a compact portable 12VDC power source... oh! and last but not least: camera, windup radio, & a good book for the cold and stormy Saturday!

 


Camping - Features 355 mostly wooded campsites with a shade shelter over some of the picnic tables. Each site has water, electricity, a fire-ring, a lantern pole, and a picnic table. All campsites are within walking distance of restrooms with hot showers. Additionally, there are 30 primitive campsites.

Mountain Biking and Hiking- Cedar Hill State Park is home to the premier North Texas mountain bike trail. The DORBA trail, named for the volunteers of the Dallas Off Road Biking Association, was built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Over 1200 acres of prime mountain bike landscape are crisscrossed with 15 miles of intense riding. This exciting trail is closed after rainfall so call 972/291-3900 and press star 2 for trail conditions.

Birdwatching - Birdwatching is a popular activity year-round at Cedar Hill State Park. The most sought after bird at the park is the Painted Bunting. Painted Buntings abound in the Park from the first week of May through August each year. The park is home to other neotropical migrants including the Yellow-billed cuckoo, the Indigo Bunting, the Chuck-will's Widow and many others. Fall and winter brings: Ruby-crowned Kinglets; Yellow-rumped Warblers; Gold Finch; American Kestrel; and Cedar Waxwing. Resident birds include the Eastern Bluebird, the Greater Roadrunner, the Loggerhead Shrike, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Great Horned Owl, both the Turkey and Black Vulture, and the Bewick's Wren. The park's bird list contains almost 200 species!

 

Picnicking: There are over 200 picnic tables with waist-high grills, and most have a view of the lake. A few things can compete with dining al-fresco, year-around, especially here in Texas where the fall (autumn) and winter weather is relatively mild in most places around the state! Make it a family and friends event, or, why not just a romantic one for two? A candle-lit dinner does not have to be indoors!

Or, you can use your own grill if you like!

 

 Chillaxing and warming-up by the campfire, before hunkering-down for the night and getting some rest

 

Fishing: Features two lighted fishing jetties and a perch pond for youngsters. Lake fishing includes largemouth black bass, crappie ,and catfish. Slot limit on Joe Pool is 5 largemouth bass limit of fish under 14 inches or over 21 inches, with only one being 21 inches or greater. Crappie must be over 10 inches and the limit is 25 fish.

Swimming beach: The park has a gravel swimming beach surrounded by picnic tables with grills. There are no lifeguards on duty; therefore, swimming is at your own risk.

Playgrounds: The park has 3 playgrounds conveniently located throughout the park.

Boating: Two concrete four-lane boat ramps welcome our boating enthusiast. There is also ample lighted boat trailer parking. 1 and 2 person kayak rentals are available through a concessionaire from March through October.

View a larger version of this image.Joe Pool Marina: A convenient store that sells bait, fishing gear, and camping gear, as well as some food products. Yearly boat slip rentals are available. In addition they have an indoor/outdoor fishing barge. They can be contacted by calling 972/299-9010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Fort Worth Alliance Airshow (AFW)

Fall (Autumn) 2011

 

 

An overcast day at Fort Worth, Texas -Fort Worth Alliance Airshow, October 23, 2011

 

 

Well! Here we are at the end of October, and very soon we will be darting through November too... another circuit around the sun is almost complete, and a new journey is about to start!

 

Hello and welcome to you one and all!

 

Today, October 23, 2011, a relatively breezy, overcast and cool noon (81F/65F - 27C/19C) with a personal estimation of the cloud ceiling at this hour to be ~3000ft... I ventured and drove to the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow to take more photos  to only learn that it has been cancelled for the day. Not one of the desert camo fatigues-dressed guards would tell of the reason, although one answered my inquiry politely with a very friendly but mischievous and humorous smile, by saying: "orders, sir" as he leaned towards my coup?s open right-side window... I laughed in return and thanked him for his attention as I waved and accelerated forward.

 

The cancellation did not stop many people and families from parking along the sides of roads by Alliance Airport (AFW) to view the parked aircraft, including the USAF Thunderbirds' F16 Fighting Falcons, and a C-17; several seemed hopeful that the show will still go on as they sat on their folding chairs with their coolers, chatting along and staring at the runways for any movement and at the sky every time we heard a sound that resembled an aircraft above!

 

 

I left the airport and headed to Cabela's, off I-35W, based on a "hint" that an "official" at the airport gave me, which was that there might yet still be a fly-over to be seen from that location; I arrived. After meeting with a group of aviation enthusiast of all ages, individuals and families, parked at Cabela's, still waiting with their binoculars and cameras for a demonstration show, I informed them of what I learned about the cancellation; yet, we all decided to remain hopeful! And we remained there until 1600 as we chatted and talked about aviation, the aviation industry, and even history. Several of the enthusiast-spectators were not just hobbyist, for several of them were aviation professionals, and several others were ex-armed forces.

 

It was originally thought that the reason for the apparent cancellation was the overcast weather, which cleared around 1500CST, but we could not understand why the access to the static Airshow was prohibited... We were told  later that the reason the Airshow was cancelled was due to one of the visitor parking areas being "flooded" from the rains of last night... everyone's answer to that revelation was: "what?! I can't believe it!"

 

There were people from all over the DFW-metroplex and other areas, adults whom many had their families and children with them... the disappointment was seen on all their faces. I managed to shoot some photos, and later we saw what looked from the distance like two F-35's take-off with a thunderous echoing roar heading north while climbing rapidly into the cloud-cover where they disappeared. At about 1600 a Cessna, which seemed to originate from Arlington (GKY), did two fly-by's over Alliance without touching down, and that is when everyone became totally convinced that there is no remaining hope.

 

It was a privilege to meet all these wonderful folks, and interact with them and their families, of which several expressed their genuine interest in supporting The TPA and its vision! that alone made my drive worth while!

 

I decided afterwards to take further advantage of being in the area and transit to Roanoke's Northwest Regional Airport (52F), which is reportedly the largest privately owned airport in Texas -if I am not mistaken, to visit some old friends based there, and while I was there, I also made a few new ones, such as Rico, an intelligent, open-minded, ambitious, and educated ex-Marine, who now works in the aviation maintenance industry... I was happy that I stopped by. The only unfortunate thing was that I was very hungry by now, and the Blue Hanger Cafe at 52F was closed for the day! Darn!

 

If you missed the event on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, then here is a couple of videos from the event... I was assured by several of our supporters that there are more videos and photos that will be shared with us soon:

 

 

 

 

 

Recognizing that this is not the last opportunity to witness this show, I would like to remind you, dear reader:

If you are interested in catching this Airshow at other cities/towns, please visit the event calendar page and find the show you are interested in. If you can not find it listed and you would like some help, drop us an email or give us a call, and I am confident that we at The Texas Pilots Association will be able to help you!

 

I Hope to personally cross paths with y'all soon!

 

 


 

Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS) & Cleburne Municipal Airport (CPT)

July 30, 2011

 

(FWS>CPT>FWS -July 30, 2011 | Aircraft Type: Cessna 150H)

 

 

Hello everyone!

 

As the searing sun's radiation, and sweltering heat, grill us -here in Texas- this summer, and as I develop another healthy and protective layer of suntanned skin, I figured that I might-as-well earn a few hours flying in the same bright sunshine, yet at a bit cooler altitude while at it!

 

Spinks Airport, opened in 1988, and is a general aviation reliever airport for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It is located 13 miles south of downtown Fort Worth and offers easy access to Interstate 35W and by-passes the DFW Class B airspace. The airport is adjacent to the now closed Oak Grove Airport, which was built by Maurice Hunger ?Pappy? Spinks. Spinks was named the 2007 Most Improved Airport by the TxDOT Aviation. The airport offers high quality facilities to include a full service FBO, multiple maintenance facilities, three flight schools, AWOS, car rental, and hotel facilities only minutes away. An estimated $15 million in private hangar developments have been constructed since 2006.

 

 

 

After the video below loads, click on the "Play" button if you would like to view it:

 

[This video is the low resolution version]

 

PERSONAL NOTES: Slight cross-wind during the touch-and-go at CPT and during the landing at FWS. The last time I flew a C150 was in 1990-1991, so it was fun to fly it again, but I was also reminded during this journey of its weaker engine vs. both the PA-28-161 and the C172R/S which I got used to flying. I think that in a good headwind I can get the C150 to hover! Nonetheless, I repeat, it was tons of fun to fly it, and I would love to do it again!

 

The ATC's were very courteous and professional at FWS. I visited the control tower, before I left the airport area, and met then spent sometime with both ATC's on duty: Scott and Clinton; they both shared some useful information, and it was nice to see them in action doing their job. CPT is not a controlled airport.

 

 

 


 

Alpine Range Airport (00TS)

Alpine Shooting Range -Skeet Shooting

February 2011

With Mr. Paul "Slow Leak" Sleeper of The TPA

 

 

Alpine Range Airport -1200x45 feet Turf Runway

Source of photo: Internet; copyrights reserved to owner

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Fort Worth Alliance Airshow (AFW)

Fall (Autumn) 2010

 

 

 

 

More photos from this event can be found on the Album Page

 


 

Dallas Love Field Airshow (DAL)

April 2010

With Mr. Douglas "Doc" Dow of The TPA

 

 

 

 

The B-17, Flying Fortress' radio operator: The radio operator was isolated from the rest of the crew in the midsection of the bomber. He had a restricted view and usually had to sit at his receiver and sweat out the battle that raged outside. Yet he was a key member of the team, handling the communications equipment which frequently proved a life saver for the crew. One of the first jobs the radio operator did when entering his position was to tune in his equipment and make sure the frequencies were correct. The signal was strong at base, but the further away the mission ranged, the weaker the signal grew. All coded transmissions were sent or received by Morse code so even though the signal might be weak and contain static, the message could be understood. Each mission had a primary and secondary target; if the lead pilot decided the primary was a bad risk due to weather or adverse conditions he could elect to attack the secondary target. It was the duty of the radio operator to inform headquarters in a coded message which target was bombed and the bombing results. This information often affected the planning of the next day?s mission.

While the aircraft was en route the radio operator listened for any messages that might be sent from headquarters, such as a decision to abort the mission. Another function of the radio operator was to receive a radio fix for the navigator. The radio operator would hold his Morse key down and transmit a solid signal for approximately one minute. This signal was received at widely spaced installations with highly sensitive radio compasses. This signal was then read and a line projected on a map from various installations that would intersect to indicate the aircraft?s position. The same procedure could be used should a B-17 be forced to ditch at sea. If the plane was within friendly territory and went down, a distress signal was transmitted by holding the Morse key down and sending out this constant signal. The aircraft?s position was then given to air-sea rescue and the signal assisted in saving many crews.


Source of image and excerpt: Commemorative Air Force (CAF)
 

The radio compartment was located between two bulkheads on the B-17: one directly behind the bomb bay and the other just forward of the ball turret. The radio operator sat facing forward on the left hand side of the aircraft with a work table in front of him. The liaison radio receiver and transmitting key were located on the radio operator?s table, while the liaison radio transmitter was mounted to the bulkhead directly behind him. These sets were used for long range communication in Morse code and were known as wireless telegraphy or W/T. On the right-hand side of the rear bulkhead were five transmitter tuning units.

Located on the forward right side of the aircraft were two transmitters and three receivers for the command radio. Known as R/T (radio telephone), its purpose was as a short-range vocal communication with nearby air or ground stations. The pilots used the command radio by use of their controls mounted in the cockpit overhead. The radio operator was also trained as a gunner and manned a flexible .50 caliber machine gun out the top of his compartment. On early B-17?s the hatch was removed so the gun could be maneuvered. This let in the cold slipstream and made the radio operator?s duties very uncomfortable. Later B-17?s had an enclosed covering with the gun attached to a special swivel socket so the top hatch did not have to be removed. Under the floor of the radio room compartment was a large camera used to take photos of the bomb run. The radio operator activated the camera during the bomb run to take photos of the target area.


The radio operator was also trained as the first aid man of the crew. Other emergency equipment and tools were located in the radio room, considered to be the safest place in the aircraft during ditching or crash landing. In the event of such an emergency all crew members, except the pilots, would come to the radio room and sit with their backs toward the forward bulkhead.


 

Short clip from the B-17 while flying over Dallas

 

Short clip of the B-17, at Dallas Love Field (DAL),

while taxiing and parking after landing from the tour flight

 

More photos from this event can be found on the Album Page

 

 


 

Big Bend Ranch State Park... Targeting for a visit!!

Before end of 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Things you can do with an aircraft, and places you can go!

More can be found on the Fly Texas Page ... Outer space is literally the limit!

 

? The Texas Pilots Association



 

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