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2012 will be a tough year to top. I took my usual vacation flights around the West, but several missions involved once-in-a-lifetime experiences. All-in-all, I logged another 160 hours during the year.

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L41 Marble Canyon, AZ, February 2012
In February, I took a friend on a canyon tour of the West. We spent a night at the Grand Canyon, then stopped here at Marble Canyon. The key attractions at this remote airport are the Navajo Bridge and the California Condors that tend to hang out around it. From here, it was on to Canyonlands and Arches.

KLWL Wells, NV, February 2012
This was a cheap fuel stop in the middle of nowhere on the way back to Salem, OR from Canyonlands. A front was coming through, so there was quite a bit of scud-running and dodging rain showers that day. Later on in the evening, we stopped for fuel in Redmond, OR, then filed IFR over the Cascades to Salem... and wound up diverting back to Redmond. It was dark, it was windy, and flying into the downdrafts on the lee side of the range resulted in groundspeeds of less than 20kts! We rented a car and drove the rest of the way, and I retrieved Cleo a couple days later.

KMYF San Diego, CA, May 2012
One morning during preflight I found a bunch of bees all over the vertical stabilizer. I decided the best solution was to fly away! When I returned in the late afternoon, no sooner had I parked the plane before the bees started coming back. Luckily, they got bored and moved on, because they were not there the next morning.

KSGU Saint George, UT, May 2012
I flew out to the new Saint George airport to see the annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012. A short drive north from the airport put me right on the center line in the town of Kanarraville. The lighting conditions during the eclipse were a rather unusual and surreal experience. I'm already waiting for the total solar eclipse coming in 2017!

KORS Orcas Island, WA, June 2012
I made Master's Class at the Hayward Air Rally this year with my second win! For more information on the Rally, see
After the rally, I made my semi-traditional trip up to the San Juan Islands and camped out for a night next to my plane.

KCLS Chehalis, WA, June 2012
On my way back south, I stopped in Chehalis to visit Mt. St. Helens.

Over Palmdale, CA, September 2012
On September 21, after months of planning and waiting, I took to the air to watch the Endeavour ferry flight. It turned out better than I could possibly have expected - a truly amazing, once in a lifetime experience. I watched the SCA take off from Edwards, and fly right under me during a low approach at Palmdale. I followed her a short way towards Mojave and was treated to another beautiful flyby. While the SCA flew north to Sacramento and San Francisco, I topped off my fuel at Camarillo and awaited its return down the coast. I was treated to several more flyunders and passes, and watched her land at LAX from 10,000', above the Class B airspace. It's sad to think that a shuttle will never take to the air again. :(

Over Los Angeles, CA, October 2012
Between October 12 and 14th, the Space Shuttle Endeavour was transported through the streets of Los Angeles from LAX to its resting place at the California Science Center. I flew up to Hawthorne Airport to see part of the journey from the ground on the 12th. On the 13th, I flew overhead and watched part of the parade from the air.

KMMV McMinnville, OR, October 2012
Cleo's previous owner happened to be visiting in the Pacific Northwest at the same time I was up there, so we met at McMinnville and visited the Aviation and Space Museum next to the field there.

KGCD John Day, OR, October 2012
John Day is in a remote part of Eastern Oregon. They have a nice terminal building that was featured in AOPA Magazine not too long ago.

KAUN Auburn, CA, December 2012
Another year, another annual. Next year, I'm going to need a new engine...

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