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2013 was a fairly typical year of flying. Among other things, I took Cleo into a grass and dirt strip for the first time.

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L67 Rialto, CA, January 2013
The Warbirds West Air Museum ( sponsored a fly-in event that included a flour bomb drop and spot landing contest at Rialto Airport.

KLXV Leadville, CO, May 2013
At 9934 feet, Leadville is the highest altitude airport in North America. The FBO there gives out a Certificate of Navigation for the achievement of landing there. Unfortunately, it was closed both times I was there, so I had to settle for this photo.

7CO0, Erie (Parkland), CO, May 2013
I flew into a private airstrip to visit a friend and taxied right up to his hangar. The idea of being able to just walk out the back door of my house and hop in my plane was certainly enticing. I'm only just now getting over the urge to find myself a nice airpark property somewhere.

Over Southwestern Colorado, May 2013
On the way home out of Aspen, I flew through arguably the worst VFR weather conditions I've experienced. Given the MEAs, clouds, and possible ice, it just wasn't possible to go IFR. It appeared that the ceilings might allow me to get through one of the passes to clearer skies and lower terrain, but it didn't pan out. Ultimately, I wound up retracing my steps and waiting out the worst of the clouds and rain.

KHWD Hayward, CA, June 2013
I won in Master's Class this year at the Hayward Air Rally! For more information on the Rally, see Afterwards, I decided to be lazy and just leave my race numbers on my plane. We'll see if it holds up until the 50th Anniversary rally to Oshkosh next year.

58S Whitefish, MT, WA, June 2013
After the rally this year, I visited Glacier National Park again. While I was there, I decided to try landing on the turf field at Whitefish. I learned that grass is even draggier than I imagined, and that landing there with a full load of fuel wasn't the greatest idea. My first departure attempt resulted in an aborted takeoff decision. My second attempt succeeded on what I considered a fairly thin margin.

KSZT Sandpoint, ID, June 2013
I was still suffering from Parkland Fever (see above) at the time, so stopped in at Sandpoint to check out the airpark development that was under construction there. It was a nice area, but I doubt I'd survive the winter there.

KMHR Sacramento (Mather), CA, October 2013
The California Capital Airshow is open to registered fly-in aircraft. I had decided I needed my formation jet demo fix, and since the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds were both grounded, went to see the Canadian Snowbirds performing there. I did feel a little guilty that I was cutting out of the "hometown" Miramar Air Show that same weekend, but as it turned out, Miramar was canceled this year due to the government shutdown. The CCA really gave fly-in pilots the VIP treatment - I'll probably be back again.

Over Big Bear Lake, CA, October 2013
A few fellow pilots at work flew up to Big Bear for lunch one weekend. I did a little formation flying with one of the other planes on the way back home. Photo Credit: Randy Minkler Photo Ship Pilot: Ze'ev Ronai

L90 Ocotillo Wells, CA, November 2013
Having experienced a turf field earlier in the year, I decided to try a dirt strip. I learned that everything winds up covered in dust.

L08 Borrego Valley, CA, November 2013
In not much more time than it would have taken to drive out and back, I got up early one morning, bundled up, and flew out to Borrego Valley to have a look at Comets ISON and Lovejoy. I spent a good hour or two out there and was back by sunrise. Ah, the joys of flying!

Over Palo Alto, CA, November 2013
A friend and I did a formation flight up the coast to deliver Cleo her annual this year. Among other things, we did the San Francisco Bay tour. This was turning final for Palo Alto, with Moffett Field in the background. Photo Credit: Chris Verbil Photo Ship Pilot: Michal Koenig

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