Cessna Grand Caravan Encounter

Ten feet from my conventional mailbox here at Springfield airport is a locked, windowed door which permits a fine view of aircraft in residence in Hangar 1. As I approached the window in early evening March 3, 2014, things appeared darker than usual, given how bright things typically appear at a glance . A c;loser look revealed a pristine Cessna Grand Caravan amphibian with tall MASS that obscured the light like an aluminum cloud. Since photography of aircraft in-hangar without permission of flight crew or owner, I made a mental note to check the ramp at next day’s sunrise to see if it had  been towed into the new day.

I promptly “lost” that mental note.

On a typical morning in the airport office I stroll to the front of the FBO’s lobby to see if anything interesting had appeared without my hearing it. With turboprops engines that almost whisper these days and my office door closed primarily to keep the warm heat to myself, I missed the very mild clatter of the tow truck pulling a gargantuan amphibian out into the new morning. Only my established routine of rising to survey the ramp saved my day for me because about 8 am, when I walked out, I remembered my mental note and literally ran back to my office to get my camera.

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As I stood behind the security hurricane fence, the sound of the engine told me he was at ground idle power as he went through the checklist in his gradually warming front office. At times like this, it’s important for me to SMILE as most of my face is obscured behind my Sony Cyber-shot camera. My larger digital SLR lense is so big I cannot photog between the fence’s heavy wire mesh.  Probably five minutes after I arrived on scene, he went through his prop cycling and soon after advanced the thrust to taxi away. His initial power burst moved him so fast I could not position my camera between the fence wires fast enough to catch him in a close profile — AYE, the trouble behind fences is a pain in the tail, I”m tellin’ ys!  . . . On the other hand,  it was a beautiful morning!
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The way the wind was blowing gave me more than a beautiful morning. As I approached the line crew who had also gathered (inside where it was warm) to watch his departure, I idly wondered aloud to them, “He’s not departing on Runway 13 is he?”  and to my surprise and delight, I was told,”That’s right: 13.”

I sprinted once more to my office and picked up my Canon EOS SLR and slowly returned outside. I knew the taxi to the end of 13 would take a few minutes. I was permitted to stand where the fence would not be a barrier. I also knew that I would see him before I heard him, and for several seconds I worried that he would be higher than I was inclined to look. That’s why I searched the WIDE view of the sky without looking through the telephoto lens. Even so, when I saw him for the first time, he WAS higher than I had anticipated, and it took some fast camera work to position for the series of pictures I would take. I knew I would take more than I would have say, a Piper Malibu, because a Grand Caravan amphibian is a rare bird in this part of the country. Maybe out of the “too many” I would net a few that wore “just right.”

That’s exactly what happened . . . . .
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Thanks for visiting.





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