I arrived at Columbia Station Airport near Cleveland Ohio just after 4:00 PM on Wednesday. I talked to my friend Ernie earlier and he had made arrangements for a hangar for me to keep Niner-Zero in while I was visiting.
Ernie arrived shortly after I landed and had the key to the hangar and I parked the aircraft. This is the first time she has seen the inside of a hangar since leaving Texas in early June. There have been some bad storms in the area and Ernie was worried about the weather. It turned out for the best. Niner-Zero now has 100 hours on her and it is time for a really thorough inspection and that sort of thing is much easier in a hangar.
I took Ernie for a short flight the next day and the day after we headed out for lunch and fuel. Our first stop was the airport in Sandusky Ohio. I used to fly there over 30 years ago for lunch and we were planning to eat there. But, despite what the airport guide led us to believe, the restaurant is closed and has been for about seven years. We bought fuel and headed to Port Clinton Airport. The have a great diner and a nice aviation museum. Most of the displays are related to the Ford Tri-Motor that they are in the process of restoring. We were able to walk through the hangar that is attached to the museum and get a close look at the reconstruction. They are basically using an existing but unflyable Tri-Motor as a pattern for building an new one. An incredible amount of work.
When I lived in the area there was actually a Ford Tri-Motor providing regular service from Port Clinton Airport to Put In Bay Airport on South Bass Island. The island is only a few miles away in Lake Erie and Island Airlines billed itself as the shortest airline in the world. The Tri-Motor service ceased sometime in the mid 80’s. Right after I moved out of the area. I now wish I had taken the time to make that flight while it was still possible.
We had a great time and Ernie actually did most of the flying and did a really nice job of it. Gave me more time to look around and enjoy the view. We forgot to take Ernie’s camera along for our trip and with mine in transit I regret that we have no pictures.
After we got back to Columbia Station we drove into Cleveland to shop at the West Side Market. A beautiful and vibrant market built in the art deco style in the early part of the 20th century. The first several months that I lived in Cleveland I had an apartment that was not far from the market and I shopped here almost every Saturday morning. I did not have a car so I took the bus and a couple of large sacks and bought most of my food for the week. Visiting again really brought back some fond memories. Back then, Ernie was my boss. Now we are both just a couple of retired guys enjoying some of the finer things in life, flying and good food.
Ernie lives in the country only a couple of miles from the airport where Niner-Zero is parked. I fixed dinner that evening for his family and we ate it on the back porch and this was the view while we were enjoying dinner and the sun was setting. Like I said, enjoying the finer things in life.
The next day, Saturday, was rainy and I started tearing Niner-Zero apart. I basically took off all of the inspection panels and cowlings and went over everything very carefully. I found some corrosion that needed attention, a broken exhaust spring and a few other anamolies. I checked the torque of the prop hub bolts, lubricated several items and checked for leaks. A couple of days before, Ernie and I found a small oil leak that we fixed and there was no further leakage. We also make a nice modification to the flap handle that makes it much easier for me to reach.
By today, Sunday, everything was ready to go back together and I took the time to clean her up some. I had picked up a lot of bugs and also dirt from flying off of wet grass strips. I went through everything in the baggage compartment and repacked the plane for departure. Ernie realized that there were no pictures of him with the airplane so we fixed that also. Tomorrow, after my camera arrives, I plan to leave for Airventure in Oshkosh Wisconsin.