to Gage, Oklahoma
February 7,8, & 9, 2015
|I built my airplane to go places, expand my world, visit
friends, and just plain 'ole have fun. I did all of that
mid-February by flying the 340 mile round-trip to Gage,
Oklahoma to visit other AirBikers. An unusual February
weather system blessed us with three days of low winds
and warm temperatures. A rare opportunity I took
The event was an unofficial fly-in complete with wives,
kids, rubber band airplanes, brauts, burgers and liquid
wing-leveler. A total of 12 planes gathered on the ramp
at Gage (GAG) airport. It all started with a text message
from A.J. Cox, an AirBiker in Gage, Oklahoma.
|In the early evening at Gage, from 5:30 to 6:30 (sunset) we flew as a gaggle of up to 7 airplanes! The
accompanying photos describe my trip and visual experiences. There were four AirBikes, one
Hyperlite, A Rans S-18 Stinger and for a short time, a Cessna 172! We made two sorties, one
Saturday evening and one Sunday evening when the sun was low on the horizon and the winds almost
still. It was a blast flying with so many other planes!
This is a brief description of my trip out and back: I left my Haysville, Kansas hangar (Blue Sky Ranch
and Aerodrome now under new ownership) at noon Saturday, re-fueled after 100 miles at Alva,
Oklahoma, then flew the balance of the distance to Gage arriving at 3:30. The return trip began at
11:30 Monday morning, with re-fueling at Anthony, Kansas airport after 115 miles then flew the
remaining distance home, arriving at 4:00 in the afternoon.
|There is not much topography in
Oklahoma that matches up with
features on the aviation chart,
however I did pass within 10
miles of the Great Salt Plains
National Wildlife Refuge near
Cherokee, Oklahoma. Now that
was an unmistakable landmark!
The sun reflected off the salt
flats making it appear as a giant
chrome plated hubcap in a ditch.
|The second significant landmark didn't occur until after the Alva, Oklahoma
fuel stop; that was crossing the Cimarron River. There aren't many
landmarks in western Oklahoma to match up with my aviation chart. But
this one is unmistakable. One may not know exactly where the crossing is,
but you know you are crossing the biggest river in the entire state.
|While crossing a highly eroded area
about 10 miles wide (unknown
length) there was absolutely nothing
to navigate by on the ground that
matched the chart.
This would be a tough place to land
in and then be recovered from. They
are perhaps the "Badlands" of
Oklahoma. I stay on the original
compass course and try to avoid
drifting by lining up ground features
then flying over them. I then line up a
new ground feature to fly over. This
process is repeated the entire trip.
|The third major landmark was a lone power transmission line. Usually
these are almost impossible to see, but the sun highlighted this line as I
crossed over it. A rather rare situation. The location is western Oklahoma.
|Although not on the chart,
this cattle ranch in the
"Oklahoma Badlands" must
be a lonely place to live.