I didn't stay long, I actually felt quite silly in my red n white suit even thou I was having a good time. I finally got up the courage to walk up to there shop and buy a reef for our front door n stuff it under Nina seat. I had a few more onlookers as I arrived back to where I left Nina. I explained how I was actually not Santa Claus but his great grand son Glenn Claus. I expalined that since I was a member of the younger generation, I used a helicopter instead of a sled n reindeer. Well, the parents seemed to grin at my story n the kids just listened with all ears.
It was time, I excused my self, wound her up, hovered back to the far down wind corner of the field n lowered Nina's nose. During the previous week's visit, I had mentally arrived n departed as I was day dreaming/talking to Ray Peters. This being the case, Cing the situation n winds were still as they were the week before, I was able to depart with out over flying any buildings one or tree cutters.
From there it was a short flight over the next ridge an into a valley to drop in at a old collage buddy Don Denaro. After hovering about a hundred feet out his kitchen window n Cing no signs of life for 6o seconds or so, I realized he was not home. Since I didn't shut down or even set down, I didn't have the opportunity to snap a foto.
Because of his bottom of the valley location, I need to make a down wind T/O...... But that was not the only challenge for Nina. I was also forced to make a some what steep Up Hill n Down Wind T/O...... I could have done a Max Performance T/O into the wind, but I would have had to over fly a few houses at relatively low level........ Even thou Nina had the mussel and the T/O was uneventful as I easy gained altitude rapidly as she climbed the up slope of the hill. I now have second thoughts if I did the right thing or not. I now think it would have been better to make a Xwind T/O, this way I would have only had to make a 9o degree turn into the wind if problems reared their ugly head at that time...... Oh well, but things like this can n have killed.....................
Before I knew it, I was up to 1,ooo or so feet and headed east with the wind. I had both plenty of time n fuel n now was over the shyness of flying in my Santa suit. Where should I go now I thought to my self....... Out of the gray of my knoggin I remembered another XMas tree farm that had LZs all around it just a few miles ahead of me. A few minuets later, all of a sudden I found the second XMas tree farm almost under the heels of my Santa Boots (white sneakers actually, I haven't sprung the $.$$ for the big black engineer boots or wide black belt Santa uses). No worries mate, the Angel autos like an controllable oak seed. I lowered the collective n set up my glide as I watched the gages as I over shot the tree farm than made a slow right autoing turn/180. I set Nina down about 2oo feet from where all the tree selling was done, but only friction down the collective n decreased the RPM so I could wave at the on lookers. There wasn't one person out of the 5o or so there that didn't wave back with a big grin on there puss. That was enough for me, I wound her up again, this time holding my cyclic in-between my knees in order to wave again....... The reaction was exactly the same except now a few of the people that had waived before were now snapping fotos or videoing Nina with santa at the controls.
I could not resist doing a rear ward departure, I know I shouldn't................. I start out by raising the collective just a tad to give the tail boom's stinger a little clearance. I than add a little rearward cyclic n just as Nina starts to move backwards I add a little left peddle. Now the trick I still have to prefect 1oo% is that one needs to move/hold the cyclic in the same relative position as the helicopter/you rotate....... Any way, I did an OK one n before I knew it I had finished the 180 turn and just continued my acceleration to 45 MPH before I climbed away from the ground n out of the field.
Know knowing exactly where I was, I only climbed to 5oo feet because I was going to drop in on another buddy just down the sky/road a piece, George Wakefield. George is perhaps my longest length friend. I remember we actually met prior to me getting my drivers license which was in 1965 when were both in the Civil Air Patrol. George owns a biz that I often patronage called "The Computer Doctor" with his partner Pat Fallon seen below.
To my surprise, as I was climbing out of Nina's cockpit I saw George n Pat walking up to me where I landed across the street from their store to greet me. I later asked how they knew it was me. George grinned a tad and said "when I hear the slapping of a helicopter's blades that sound like they are powered by a weed wacker off in the distance, I know it is you".
Since I had hovered to about 2oo feet from the road before I parked Nina, naturally I got lots of honks n waves to Santa. However, again, I didn't stay long. I started Nina's 582 n wound up the blades, departed relativly quickly because again Santa departing in a helicopter was stopping traffic along this rural road.
This time I had plenty of room to T/O as you can C behind us in the foto above. However, about 3/4 of a mile from T/O at about 8oo feet AGL, as I turned to the south, I noticed a XMas Tree Farm just ahead of me. I had forgotten the tree farm closest to my home. I flew on past and did a 18o and again landed near the action at this tree farm. Once again I set down just long enough to give a Santa wave to all the children than depart.
My flight home was once again interrupted with the knowledge of too much free time n plenty of fuel. I kept heading east n dropped in at N53/Stroudsburg Pocono A/P. The owner of the A/P is the guy Bob Strenz who introduced me to the Angel in 1992. I hovered over to his office n maintained 3 feet AGL out side his office window, but he wasn't in........ I than air taxied across the run way and set down looking for another familiar face or two...... Any way, I chatted with a couple stiff wing pilots than headed off home.
The flight home was un eventful except for the 27o auto I did into my home field. I have yet to do a full down, but I can feel it comming someday when there is a westerly breeze to add a little fudge factor to my first un accompanied by a CFI full down.
Seasons Greetings to you all
Glenn, host of SHnPGIE