On June 5, 2010, I rode up to Hendersonville North Carolina for the annual Air Fair at the Western North Carolina Air Museum.
[From Western North Carolina Air Museum website]
This is a fly-in where lots of small planes come in for the day and their pilots enjoy looking over other airplanes, flying about, and chewing the fat with others who are interested in the same things. The airplane set calls the latter "hanger-flying," I'm told.
On the ride up, I stop at a little lake with a lighthouse in it (at Pushpin "C" on the map below). I like to stop here for the view across the lake.
A little further along, I stop at Campbell's Covered Bridge. I have also been here before, but they have put in a small parking lot, and the kudzu is all gone now, thanks to the hungry goats and their guardian dog. It is a good place to enjoy the shade and the coolness of the stream beneath the bridge, and rest a spell.
I continue on and soon enough reach Hendersonville. The Air Museum (at Pushpin "G" on the map near the end of this post) has almost twenty planes of its own, but today the private hangers are also open and there are many visiting aviators and their planes.
Here is a smattering of pictures:
Piper J-2 Cub, 1936
Piper J-5A Cub Cruiser, 1940
That little guy in the blue shirt seems to like this one.
Fairchild 24, 1946, seats four and has a cruising speed of 120 MPH.
...and it's owner and pilot, Mr. Chet Phillips.
I speak with Mr. Phillips for some time. He is up in age, but says he tries to fly his fine plane about once a week. It has an inverted six cylinder in-line engine, meaning that the cylinders are directly below the crankshaft. This was done to help keep the propeller well above the often rocky and sandy runways of years gone by.
This is a plane with a pusher prop.
Some more of various types parked on the field.
Very detailed radio-controlled models, too.
There is a helicopter and a light plane giving rides (for a fee). I am not much for heights -- and I'm pretty tight with my money, so I just watch. Two skydivers go up in the copter and jump. I watch then float down to nice flared landings.
Once they land, I decide to head back toward my bike to continue my trip. It is about 85 degrees, and I want to get moving again to cool off. As I am walking from the field where the jumpers landed, a man approaches me saying how wonderful my jump had been, and wishes he could do the same. It took me a little while (I'm kind'a slow at these things) to realize that he thought I had just parachuted to earth from that helicopter. I assure him that I had not.
Hmmmmm...I wonder why he thought that?
Actually, I have run across a picture somewhere on line that shows a motorcyclist really skydiving.
Why, I don't know.
I get back on my bike and start out south toward home. It occurs to me that there is a fruit stand a bit east of US-25 that might have some early crops for sale. The place is Perdue's Mountain Fruit Farm, (at Pushpin "H" on the map below). Mr. Perdue is retired from Cryovac, where he worked developing materials, equipment, and preservation techniques for foods. Every time I visit, he speaks of having learned something new about his crops or how to best get them to his customer. Today is no exception.
He tells me that he has finally figured out how to grow raspberries that are large, and tasty, not like these little wild ones near home that are about the size of your little fingernail.
I take the hint and ask to look them over. I make my purchase and carefully pack them into my tank bag for the ride home; they would make a terrible mess if I lost or smashed them.
I reach home with my cargo intact, however, and this is what they look like just before my bride and I start in eating them for supper's desert:
The circuitous route I followed today looks like this:
View Larger Map
It was 145 miles of enjoyment, with a few varied stops along the way.
If you go:
The Western North Carolina Air Museum hours of operation, weather permitting, are:
|April thru Oct.||Nov. thru March|
|Saturday||10:00 am - 5:00 pm||12:00 noon - 5:00 pm|
|Sunday||12:00 noon - 5:00 pm||12:00 noon - 5:00 pm|
|Wednesday||12:00 noon - 5:00 pm||12:00 noon - 5:00 pm|
Other nearby attractions:
Apple Valley Model Railroad Club
Henderson County Heritage Museum
Old Esso Filling Station near Landrum, SC
Green River Road and Saluda, NC
Jones Gap State Park
Saluda North Carolina and the Saluda Grade