Kids in nature.

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There’s magic in viewing the world from a kid’s perspective.

This is especially true when they have easy access to the outdoors. Close personal connections to nature is one of the things that makes New Zealand great. Long may it last.

P.S. Thanks you two.
Uncle Josh.

#mtshasta #aircam

Mt Shasta to the Coast

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“Does it run on gas or do you have to pedal?”

Everyone has something to say about the Aircam when you arrive at an airport. People just can’t help themselves. “Have you seen that goofy plane out on the ramp?”, “Did you fly here in that?” and “Is it solar powered?” have all been asked. The general response though, especially from other pilots, is joyful curiosity. The bright yellow and red Aircam screams fun. What keeps pilots talking, and talking,  is it’s technical ability. With 2x 100hp Rotax engines and a large wing area, Three-Two-Five-One-Echo (the plane’s call sign), climbs fast and can fly surprisingly high. Comfortable at 14,000 feet, over the summit of Mt Shasta high, which, by the way, is pretty cold.

On our way to the coast, not far from the town of Weed, California, we came across a lot of what appeared to be glass houses built on small clearings in otherwise dense forest. We have a hunch what they may be but are curious to know for sure. What ever they are, they’re very easy to spot from the air.


Running on empty

By | The West from above, Uncategorized

The West is dry, this year more than most.

Flying low over California and Nevada, the heat burns into your mind just how precious water is, especially out West. Leaving San Francisco’s refreshing ocean breeze and heading into the central valley you’re hit by a blast of heat, even at 6500ft. Irrigation canals, fires and salt plains paint a tapestry of the decisions Westerners make about their water use. In the context of a changing climate the stakes seem especially high in this part of the world.

How to build a plane.

By | The West from above, Uncategorized

 “Here, grab the wheel I need to pee” takes on new meaning when you’re flying 6000 feet over California mountains in a home-built plane.

Did I mention that as well as being the pilot, Bob built the Aircam himself, from a kit. Why? You’d have to ask Bob, but I imagine it was for the challenge or maybe even because ” it’s the the most fun plane” he’s ever flown.

What makes the Aircam so fun? Well, it flies low and slow, not attributes that leap to mind for air travel but that’s exactly why it’s great. How often have you watched out the window of a jet on approach and marvelled at tiny the world below. The Aircam thrives in that space, just above the ground at speeds that allow you to see every detail. You’re also outside, in the wind, feeling the air rush by. It’s like a motorbike, with wings, on steroids.

Here’s what the Northern California coast looks like from the Aircam.

If you’re interested in the construction process of the Aircam, and where it’s been flown it,  check out Bob’s site 

Low and slow

Meet Bob

By | The West from above, Uncategorized

There are many ways people describe Bob, most of them nice.

Friend, mountaineer, programmer, triathlete and Okie are all fitting. The title I hope he most closely resembles over the next few days is pilot, as I’m riding shotgun in his self-built, experimental aeroplane from Oakland, California to Seattle, Washington!