Ride in a Vintage Warbird for Veterans Day at KCXO

by HPA · November 8, 2017

Ride in a Vintage Warbird for Veterans Day in Conroe, TX

How would you like to celebrate Veterans Day, ride in a vintage warbird, and take 75% of the cost of the flight off your taxes? Come out to Conroe, TX on Saturday, November 11, for the last chance to ride Texas Raiders in 2017. General Aviation Services is sponsoring the tours and flights along with the Commemorative Airforce, a 201 (c) (3) organization.

The iconic WWII bomber Texas Raiders and her warbird friends will be open for flights and tours for one day only, Saturday, November 11. Enjoy a cockpit tour in each of the vintage military aircraft, including the famous T-6 Texan advanced trainer Ace in the Hole, and the beloved N3N bi-plane Yellow Peril. Put your hands on history or take the ultimate Living History Flight Experience in the afternoon on one of these beautifully restored aircraft, and see Lake Conroe from the sky!

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Come see the B-17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders” along with her Warbird friends at General Aviation Services, 5260 Central Parkway, Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport, Conroe, TX on Saturday Nov 11, 2017. Tours and rides from 10 AM until 4 PM. GAS is located at Conroe North Houston Regional Airport.

Attending aircraft:

AT6 Texan Ace in the Hole

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Take off in the legendary trainer of WWII. Thousands of our aviators were taught how to fly in the T6 “Texan”. This is a true warbird ride that will take you back 50 years.

N3N Navy Trainer Yellow Peril

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See Houston from the open cockpit of the classic bi-plane trainer.

Flights are $255 to $345 on the single-engine trainers, or $475 to $850 on the B-17 Flying Fortress.

Cockpit tours will be scheduled from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

Warbird Flights will be scheduled from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

Cockpit tour admission price:

  • $10 for adults
  • $5 for children under 12
  • $20 for a family of up to five

Don’t forget that 75% of the cost of your flight is tax deductible.

For more information, or to make flight reservations call 855-FLY-A-B17

or go to b17texasraiders.org.

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How it Started

One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.

Training Begins

It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.

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Flying

The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.

First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).

Learning

At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.

Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.

Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.

In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.

More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/

 

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