Aug 222011

Quicksilver Elbow?

About a week ago I determined I had an ailment that had no name. I decided since I am the Administrator of this Flight Blog I could also be the Flight Surgeon of The Blog. In that high capacity I decided I would apply my analytical skills to this mysterious disorder in order to find both the cause and a possible cure.

I took stock of the symptoms:

The symptom was a soreness in the elbow when moving the hand laterally. Also, soreness would indicate when lifting or moving the hand up as when taking a drink of water from a glass. The pain was only manifest in the right elbow.

I gave my patient a lifestyle check:

I surveyed the patient’s lifestyle. The respondent (me) had not been playing tennis or golf or swinging a hammer or any other out-of-the-ordinary exercise recently. Generally those types of exercises when not part of one’s normal activities can induce this type of pain. Further examination of the patient’s lifestyle revealed an interesting fact. A check of his flight logbook revealed a total of 11 air hours in the space of the previous 7 day span. This was possibly a 2011 Flying Season record in the All Important Flight Hours/Day Calculation (FH/D for those inclined to equations). Further examination revealed an important bit of information. It turns out that the Quicksilver Single Seater flown by the patient is a side stick configuration with the stick on the right.  This interesting fact initiated the “Eureka Moment” that pulled it all together.

Cause of Malady:

Lots of flying.

The Prescription:

None needed! The patient had just been blessed with the opportunity resultant from an excellent confluence of good weather and permissible work schedule to “grab a lotta air” during that time frame. After making the above deductions the Flight Surgeon informed the whining patient to “man up” and count this “ill” as a Great Blessing. Rather than a malady… It is a cause for celebration! After all, how many on the entire planet even have the possibility of contracting this? Not many. Even in America – The Land of the Free – how many even realize or TRY to do this? (OK, Brian, you made your point) Anyway… Henceforth the condition, referred to as “Quicksilver Elbow”, will be a favored physical condition and seen as a Gift From God.

The rest of this Flight Blog entry will be a description of two of the four flights that led to the manifestation of The Sign.

The MAAG Annual Fly-In at Halstead, Kansas.

This Fly-In was the third of the four flights and took place on an idyllic day here on the prairie. Even though we have been having record 100 degree + weather this summer, the day of the MAAG Fly-In was fantastically mild and pleasant. During the early morning flight over from my home base Selby Aerodrome, I did experience a problem I was completely unprepared for, though. It was TOO COLD up there! I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. The humidity was very high and the ambient air must have been in the low 60’s. It was chilly enough that my right thumb and forefinger did not thaw out until about a half hour after arriving at Halstead.

First, of course, we have the obligatory Sunrise Shot. This proves that I got up early and shows again that the MXL looks excellent in the dawn's early light.

Earlier I spoke of the unseasonably cool temperature. This picture is meant to represent that. What you are seeing is steam rising from a plant about 3 miles from my takeoff point. The steam is leveling off at about 800'.

I shot this because in an earlier blog post I was asking what those horizontal white "bags" are. I have been informed by my buddy Drew that these are "new age" Silos. ("New Age" is my appendage - not his...)

This is nothing other than a "Beautiful Morning" shot. It was taken before the cold started to cause my right hand to go numb...

I believe this is the new Goddard High School. I think that because there was a big spread in the local paper talking it up and this looks pretty much like a new school. I think this is "neat and all" but if they go the way the Wichita School district seems to be heading, I am not thinking it is money well spent. By this statement I draw your attention to the fact that USD 259 (Wichita) has decided it is no longer necessary to teach little ones cursive writing. Seriously! More ideas like that and parents will be far better keeping the children at home. Let's hope that Goddard School District -and all American School Districts- get back to teaching young people the basics of education. (Leave indoctrination to the media and Hollywood...)

Here you see two things. First, the high humidity level is apparent. Second, is what we call an Antenna Farm. This is right next to Colwich and among other broadcasters located here are KAKE and KSNW. In the broadcast business we call these "Prairie Blowtorches". That's probably why I had sparks dancing on my wings as I passed through the area.

Just to the left of the previous shot. I think this is a power plant but I am not sure. You can also see another member of the Antenna Farm.

This is Colwich, Kansas and this shot makes up the farthest left of the panarama made up by this and the previous two photos. I have never driven to Colwich but if they had an airport I would drop in some time.

Just east of Colwich it this plant. I'm thinking it is some type of food processing plant. It actually emitted a fairly pleasant smell.

A closer view of what I think is a power plant North North East of Colwich.

This is my "Rural Mansion" shot of the day. These folks are just off the river and have their own lake.

This is Bentley, Kansas. My good friend Gary Philips lives here. He has converted a chicken coop building into a magnificent meeting place for pilots and others. He will be featured in a photo coming up.

Bentley closer. Seen from about 600' South West.

Halstead, Kansas from about 2 miles South East at 800'.

Halstead closer.

After landing the "follow me" truck leads me to my spot on the ramp. I was surprised to see I was one of the early birds. The taxiway is parallel to HWY 50 upon which you see the tractor rig in the center of the shot. This taxiway used to be the runway but now the runway is N/S and perpendicular to this. It is grass, well kept and without bumps.

Breakfast of Pancakes, Sausage, Coffee and Orange Juice was conducted in a hangar. Note the wing in the rafters.

This MAAG Fly-In was conducted in sync with Halstead's "Old Settler's Day". Every year the Fly-In does a Fly-Over of the Halstead Parade. These guys are organizing that Fly-Over. I decided to opt out as the general speed of the group was to be in the 90 mph range. My MXL won't even attain that speed in a 90 degree vertical dive with full power...

Outside the hangar.

Next I have assembled a group of pictures representing about 80 percent of the aircraft attending. For various reasons I wasn’t able to take a picture of each plane but this is a good representation of the event. If you want more info about each plane, check its N number HERE.

My beautiful wife Debra volunteered to collect the Dollar Entry Fee from people wanting to park at the Fly-In. She drove up. I flew up.








My buddy Terry Alley with his Belite. His Dad Lawrence has Alley Field next to Douglass, Kansas. I have featured that field in a number of previous posts. Next month Lawrence is organizing a Fly-Over of the Douglass Days Parade.

Here is my MXL surrounded by a throng doubtful of its ability to fly and the sanity of one even daring to attempt it.

My Buddy Gary Philips (standing) confers with Mark Wiebe (4-wheeler).

I was the last guy to leave The Halstead Fly-In. On the way back I took some more pictures of Goddard, KS.

Goddard, Kansas from about 800' looking South West.

Another one of Goddard's schools.

The next day I decided to go to Caldwell, Kansas. I have driven there before but had never flown to it.

This is Peck, Kansas. In my epic music video "Lil Prop" which is contained in the movie "UFM2" is a scene shot in a sunflower field just out of town.

Peck, Kansas closer. This also certifies "bagging" a train. (see earlier posts)

This REALLY certifies bagging the train.

This gives you an idea how quickly the population thins out South West of the Wichita Metro Area.

I love these wide open spaces.

Caldwell, Kansas from about 5 miles North at about 1,000 feet.

Caldwell using the pocket cam telephoto.

This next two shots was grabbed as I was scanning for the airport. There have been many reports of drought in this area all summer and I had dedicated an earlier post to the visual affirmation of that. The next two shots show a rancher bringing water out to his cattle. That is a resorts one must turn to when water is low out on the prairie.

Caldwell Airport. This is from about 400' shooting from the East.

Next are a few shots of Caldwell I took before landing. I will generally circumnavigate a small town before landing. That way, anyone who is interested in ultralights and can break away will head to the airport.

Now this represents one of the great encounters that seem to happen whenever I fly out to places like Caldwell and other small towns on the prairie. It was a pretty day but no one was around the airport except for me and one of God’s Chosen People – Tim Schmidt. It turns out Tim is from this part of the state but now lives in Wichita. He was out 4-wheeling around the area and walking off the landing strip to check the condition when I landed. The reason I know he is one of The Chosen is that he is a flight instructor at Kansas Aviation, Inc. Tim gives people their wings. He likes to take students out for landing practice at this field and since it was his day off he came out to check the field condition. We had a nice discussion about things aviation and then I headed back to Wichita. It was getting later in the day and I needed to get ready for the coming week. Tim continued to check the field.

I believe these next two shots are Corbin, Kansas which lies on the railroad line.

I shot this to show those interesting wave patterns the farmers put on their fields. No one has explained their purpose to me yet...

Just a little farther up the railroad path is Perth, Kansas. Here’s a couple of shots.

I also bagged another train...

The next 4 shots are of the Wellington, Kansas area. I was at about 600′ shooting from the West with the sun slowly sinking.

In the distance you can see the Wellington Airport which is a few miles North of town. I land their ocasionally.

Wellington Airport using my pocket cam's marginal telephoto capabilities.

I shot this because it was so incredibly GREEN.

On return to Selby Aerodrome Airspace what do I see but a Powered Parachute in the distance. My lightning fast mind tells me it must be Brent Boggs of Bflynbyu Powered Parachutes. He was taking someone up for a ride. Brent is about the only guy flying around here that I can catch up to in the air and actually pass!

After I landed I took this of Brent crossing the threshold. I shot about 3 more but didn't like the way they turned out.

After shooting some shots of Brent buzzing the runway I put the MXL in the stables and headed home to enjoy my case of Quicksilver Elbow.

NEWS FLASH: I am writing this Flight Blog entry a week after the events described above and the “Elbow” condition persists. It could be because I logged 2 hours flying up to Doug Moler’s place at High Point yesterday. By the way, if you are in the area DON’T MISS Doug and Sabrina’s upcoming 5th Annual Ultralight Fly-In on Saturday 3 September 2011. It will be excellent!

Blue Skies & Tailwinds!

Brian FitzGerald