Sept 2, 2006
I've been so busy moving houses and everything associated with getting the old house ready to sell, and getting the new house in order, that I haven't had much time for flying... which is, as you might imagine, a kind of torture for a pilot living with a runway out the back door!
And much like a new ultralight flyer, the few flights I've made were very close by... circling the pattern mostly. It's funny: I've flown multi-state cross-country flights on multiple occasions, but now that I'm starting fresh at a new airport, I revert back to a beginners method of just flying locally!
So today I decided to branch out just a bit more and see what a wider circle will reveal.
Just as I'm about to takeoff, my friend Steve Simpson pulls up. He's borrowing my trailer so he can move the wings he's building from his house to a hangar at Dry Creek. Here I capture him driving off with the trailer. Just south of the airport is this fantastic house! I see it right in front of me each time I take off to the south.
As I circle around I orient myself to the north and fly along highway 362. Here's a well kept cemetery, right off 362, I pass every day as I go to work. Just a bit further north and I see the high school stadium to my right. My son -- who is in the band -- had his first football game the night before and yelled himself hoarse. It was fun to see the game, even if the team did get crushed by their opponents.
In case you can't tell, I'm still shooting my pictures through lexan. It's obvious in the stadium photo if you look at it hard. Someday I hope to resolve that issue!
Across the freeway to the north is the high school itself. It's a very nice facility with practice football/soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and the classrooms and offices are top-notch. A really first-class facility.
After circling the high school for a minute or two, I turn west so that I'm parallel U.S. Highway 290. To my left are the stores and shops at highway 2920. At the bottom of the photo is Hwy 290. Along the top you can barely see old 290, what they now call Business 290. Waller County is fairly rural, so even though it doesn't look like much, these businesses are a boon.
I shift my gaze to the right just a bit to take in a view of the town of Waller. Some movement below me catches my eye so I look down to see cows and birds in their symbiosis. When the cows step, they create a hoof-size hole an inch or two deep, and the birds go after any bugs that get stirred up by the process.
Cruising above Hwy 290, the town of Prairie View comes up quickly. To my right is Prairie View A&M University, and to my left are a row of homes, put up (I assume) as off-campus housing for the students. I look down at the feeder road to the highway and see a juxtaposition of the old and the new.
Approaching Hwy 290 and Texas Hwy 6, to my left is the huge Lawrence Marshall car dealership. On my right is the interesting looking Frazier's statuary. Zooming in a bit, it almost look like a miniature Parthenon. Just ahead -- on the NW corner of the highway intersection -- is the old Ultralight America field. They were evicted and it's looking pretty ramshackle.
Turning to the south, skirting the west side of Hempstead, I spot a cemetery. Looking to my left, I see the sun -- rising in the east -- reflecting off water between the furrows of a field. It almost looks like snow in the photo.
Frequent visitors to Texas-Flyer know that I like to take pictures of tractors I see, but it's rare I see one driving down a road. Looking up and out to the east, into the sun, is hard on the eyes, but with the sun streaming through some moderately high clouds, it's kinda pretty.
This impressive horse ranch caught my eye because there was a horse turning the carousel in the middle of the photo. A few moments later, I spot this fabulous mansion and pool, trying to hide out in the trees.
After a few more moments, I'm back out into the farm land and suddenly spot this very odd sight. It's obviously something done by man, but I have no clue why you'd trim the brush in such an angular way.
A bit later on, I'm again puzzled... this time by this two-tone field.
I'm just about ready to head back to the airport when I realize it's just right ahead of me. I guess I really knew where I was going, eh? That's when I remembered that there is a long stretch of fields just south of the airport that would make some great hedgerow hopping. So, I bank to the right and head south along highway 362.
I see the long stretch of fields off to my left and then see Dewberry Farms up ahead. I recalled that they have a corn maze, so I go circle it to get a good shot. Then I circle back around so I can figure out the best spot to start my approach. I see Sport Flyer airport community in the distance and realize that the best place to start is just north of their field. So, I bank around -- keeping an eye out for other aircraft -- and come down to about 20 feet and starting my hopping, going north back toward my airport.
After I get settled at a good speed and feel confident about the winds (very light), I take a quick shot out my left side at my shadow. I'm really enjoying this because there are no telephone poles. Here's the view out the front. Next, I'm over a field with the big round bales of hay... and then, whoops, I see some dove hunters in the field. If I'd known they were there, I wouldn't have encroached upon their pastime. So, I pull up quickly and ascend to 1000 feet, then head back over to the airport... There's my house!... somewhere under those trees!
A quick and easy landing and I taxi back to my hangar.
A very nice one-hour flight, covering about 70 miles... and a nice feeling about the surrounding neighborhood!
And, to read other exciting stories of my flights around Texas, go to: