Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Igor Bensen, the designer of the Bensen Gyrocopter always said that it is easier to teach someone to fly the gyro who has never flown anything than it is to teach one who is already a pilot. I found that to be very true when I became a flight instructor in gyroplanes. And it was all about ATTITUDE. Well, some of it was about the differences between the flight envelope of the fixed wing aircraft and the flight envelope of the gyro, but 99 percent of it was plain and simple, attitude.

The fixed wing pilot would approach the gyro with the attitude that it was going to be very easy and simple to learn to fly it. He would figure that he had a head start on learning to fly the gyro because he was already a pilot.

I had a slight touch of attitude myself when my husband and I began teaching ourselves to fly our gyro. Teaching yourself to fly the gyro was done by neccessity back then for there were no two place gyro trainers or gyro flight instructors . I was a fixed wing pilot, so I thought to myself, "the gyro is going to be very easy to learn to fly". I knew how to do take offs, straight and level, climbs and descents, landings, stalls, and all the rest that had to do with flying. But that was in airplanes. I quickly learned that the gyro was a diffeent breed of cat and knowing how to fly an airplane didn't help me at all in learning to fly the gyro.

Lucky for me my husband Docko, didn't have the same attitude I did about learning to fly the gyro. "We will learn to fly the gyro by the Bensen pilot's manual", he said. "We will learn it step by step and learn it throughly". If I wanted to fly the gyro then I had to do what he said for it was his gyro and he wanted to be sure I didn't wreck either his machine or myself. It wasn't long before I discovered the man was right ...both men, Bensen and Docko,were right. Most of what I knew about flying airplanes didn't apply to flying the gyro. So, my attitude underwent an adjustment.

Years later I went for the check ride to become a gyroplane flight instructor. Part of the test included a thorough oral exam. The inspector said , " I am a fixed wing pilot and I come to you for instruction in the gyro; what can I bring from my backgrond in airplanes that might be a problem in learning to fly the gyro?".
" ATTITUDE", I replied. The inspector slapped his hand on my shoulder and said.
" you are so right".

As a gyroplane flight instructor I had plenty of airplane pilots come for gyro flight instruction who needed attitude adjustments.They would say, " How hard can it be to learn to fly that little machine, or,I fly Bonanzas and other high performance airplanes, or, I need only about one half hour of instruction to transition to the gyro, or,I really don't need any instruction at all, or, I'm a real fast learner". I heard it all. Some of those real fast learners got a shock when they found it was more difficult to learn to fly that simple looking little machine than they had anticipated. None of them even considered that it wasn't a matter of transitioning from one aircraft to another as from a Cessna 150 to a Cessna 210 for example. Rather it was a matter of learning a completely different category of aircraft.

Then one day a man flew his Cardinal into our place to inquire about gyro flight instruction. We had one of the gyro trainers sitting on the ramp . He looked it over and said that he wanted one half hour of instruction to transition to the gyro. I explained that I couldn't teach him everything he needed to know about the gyro in one half hour and described our full flight training program. Apparently I had insulted him...He drew himself up to his full height, thumped himself on the chest and said , " I'M A PILOT! What can you possibly teach ME about flying that thing!( pointing to the gyro) ?". I replied that I probably couldn't teach him anything. He stomped off, probably thinking that I had paid him a compliment. Now there was a guy who was in dire need of an attitude adjustment.

Till next time
Marion Springer

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Work ethics and doctors

I have been thinking of the work ethics, or more properly the lack of work ethics of some of the young people of today. Take fast food places for example, how often is the order your get not what you ordered ? Too often, I'll bet. It seemed like every time Docko and I would pick up something at a fast food establishment what we got was not what we asked for. One time the top was left off the hamburger bun. Another time, the meat patty hadn't been cooked! Blood red it was. Then one day our order was just two cups of coffee for the road. Docko said, " They surely can't get this order wrong". He gave the girl the order, two cups of coffee, black. She repeated it back - "that will be 6 cups of coffee to go. Do you want cream and sugar with the coffee?".

I think to myself , these kids don't care about their work. It doesn't matter to them whether the customer leaves unhappy with the service. and to think they are the future leaders of the country, our doctors , lawyers and teachers. What if they don't learn about caring for their work by the time they get to be in responsible positions? We're in trouble if they don't mature and take more responsibility in their work before then.

So rcently I had a bout with pneumonia and I had occassion to be in the hands of a couple of doctors that I feel still had the fast food worker, work ethics. They hadn't learned to care about their work, and their work at the moment was ME.

I spent a night in the ER of the hospital. Pneumonia was all that was ailing me and I was feeling absolutely terrible. They had me hooked up to every machine in the hospital. The doctor said," you have a blood clot on the lung". That rattled me, as I have never had one moment of heart trouble of any kind. He started talking about treating the problem with blood thinners etc.

"Wait minute here doctor", I said. " You are going too fast for me. If there was a blood clot in the lung my regular doctor would have seen it in the X-Rays he took yesterday". " Well", he said , " WE need to take X-rays of the lungs". He came back in a bit and said that definitely the X-rays showed a blood clot. Then he says ,
" we need to do an MRI to be absolutely sure. The MRI results came back and the doctor, practically rubbing his hands with glee, said for sure there was a blood clot. By now I'm thinking , " it's all those cookies I eat; am I going to make it till morning?".

They took an indicated there was no heart problem. They took my blood pressure every half hour and it was always low as it has been all my life. Still they are talking blood clot, blood clot. Finally when it was early morning and I was ready to go home, the doctor bounced in and said, " good news, there is no blood clot". "So why did you make me worry all night long ?", I asked . No answer from him.

A few days later I went to my regular doctor for a check up. He started looking over a chart which he said was the results of my tests made in the ER. The first thing he said was that my blood pressur was off the charts. Blew me away !
" Doctor ", I said, " they took my blood pressure every half hour and it was always low, even after abrupt movments". No comment from the doc. Then he said, "Your cholestrol is really high ". "Can't be,doctor, I have never had a cholestrol problem" . "It's always been on the low side". At that point my daughter Linda spoke up. She asked the doctor if he was looking at my chart or someone elses . Right...he was looking at someone elses chart. I think that is pretty careless .

I was sounding off about this to a friend other day. He had recent surgery and during his follow up visit his doctor also was reading someone elses chart instead of his.

I shouldn't be surprised at all this for I recently read an article in the paper that there are many patients who are harmed by the careless mistakes of their doctors . I guess a lot of doctors never do develop good work ethics. I shall do my best to stay healthy and keep out of the clutches of carless doctors. It's much safer that way.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pigeons and memories of the starling, called Ultralight

Yesterday I did it again...I brought in a baby pigeon that needed help. This one had the misfortune of being in a nest that was too close to a setting hen. She pecked holes in his poor little head and in his beak. He looked so helpless and pathetic with blood all over his tiny head.

The baby looks to be a little over a week old , maybe 10 days or so. Frequently pigeon parents leave the little ones alone much of the time at that age . The babies are totally at the mercy of whatever decides to work them over. This baby's parents weren't around and he hadn't been fed for awhile.

I brought him in and cleaned off the blood as best I could, fed him baby bird formula with a syringe type feeder and put him in with Coo's two week old baby. The new baby is well fed and comfortable now and I feel better knowing he is safe. Maybe I'm just a mama at heart. I like to know the baby birds are safe ,warm and well fed, same as I did ( and still do) with my own babies, no matter what their age. And Hop Along is doing well . He isn't the greatest looking bird I've ever seen but who cares. He is alive and getting stronger every day.

Maybe I like birds more than I thought for thinking back over the years, I've been bringing in the fallen ones for most of my life. In Tracy we found a tiny starling that had fallen out of the nest. We had no way to put him back in the nest which was up near the top of a hangar so we took care of him. He didn't even have feathers, just downy fuzz.

Starlings are not favorites of farmers for they descend by the hundreds on the farmers crops. Since many of the local pilots were farmers we didn't spread the word that we were harboring a starling. We called him 'Ultralight'. That little guy was a delight and also a nuisance. He learned to fly and took over the office. He would be into everything on the desk while I was busy with paperwork so I would put him outside and be careful not to catch him in the door as he would fly right back inside. One of the wonders of my life was to hold up my hand and have him fly to me and land on my hand. There always was wind at Tracy so his landings were so slow. It was something to see him almost hover then touch down ever so lightly on my hand. He went home with us each day and back to the office next morning. The first time we carried him in a box but afterwards he just sat on my arm or whatever I happened to be carrying. He was smart too. If we went out for dinner he would be hiding when we returned and he wouldn't make a sound until we called him by name. Then he would answer and come out of hiding.

We enjoyed his company for about four months then one afternoon a flock of starlings came by and he joined up with them and flew away as he was meant to do.

Till later
Marion springer

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hop Along, gyro pilots and thoughts on Crow Hops

Hop Along, the one winged pigeon has been with us for 10 days today and he is getting stronger every day. We don't need any more pigeons, Heaven knows, for there are too many around here anyway, but it is a good feeling to be able to help an injured one like Hop Along. His injuries are healing but it will take some time for him to grow feathers back. Right now he only has two tail feathers left and none at all on the back of his head!

On Sunday morning I went to visit with gyro pilots ,Teddy and Bobby. Bobby was working on his new gyro with the tall tail and wild paint job. He had been flying earlier and says it flys great. Teddy was working on his new KB3 gyro. Barry Evans, a former student of mine was flying his KB2 with tall tail. He is a good,
calm and steady gyro pilot. Barry is from the UK. Several years ago he brought his mom over to the US to live with him. His mother is a real delight to visit with. She will be 92 years of age next week and I'll bet she could beat me in a foot race. She always comes out to the desert with Barry when he comes up to fly. She waits patiently in their small trailer while he commits aviation , as they say. All in all, it was a good morning. Linda says I'm getting to be a real social butterfly...seems like every weekend I find a reason to go where the gyro action is.

Later in the day I put together some photos which show a gyro doing crow hops. The pictures will complete the Crow Hop article, so now it's ready to send to the editor of PRA. Two very knowledgable gyro pilots have read advance copies of the article and both were enthusiastic about it. The readers are gyro pilot, Shirley Jennings of England who wrote the book, ' Short Hops', and long time gyro pilot,
Ed Alderfer. They both promised me moral support when the negative comments come my way when the article is printed in Rotorcraft magazine. A lot of modern day flight instructors consider crow hops to be outdated but I disagree, as do my gyro friends.

A crow hop is simply the individual steps of a take off and a landing. The take off, for example, consists of balancing the gyro on the main wheels , putting the nose wheel down to about three inches above the ground and then adding power to make the gyro lift off. The gyro only lifts off to about one foot above the ground in the early crow hops. Then the pilot brings the throttle back to idle and gently brings the control stick back. That allows the gyro to land in the proper attitude of, tail wheel first, then main wheels and finally the nose wheel will touch down.

As he begins to learn and feel what the gyro is doing ( as his skill increases )the student will go through all the steps but eventually will lift off a little higher and fly a little farther before starting the landing process. He will progress in that manner until he is able to take off, fly a distance and land.

When he has diligently practiced crow hops, the student pilot will have learned the correct take off attitude, the proper airspeed for gyro flight, minimum gyro airspeed, and how to land correctly. All valuable lessons. It is so much better for the student to learn all these things while he is low to the ground. Crow hops are done after the student has had flight instruction and is transiting to his own gyro, and before he goes around the pattern. By doing the recommended crow hops he will have a good understanding and control of his gyro.

I feel so strongly about good flight instruction that at times I wish I was instructing again...but that will never happen. At this point in my life I am content not to have the stress of instructing! New gyro students are sometimes like little kids....they will behave as long as the instructor is right there to watch them but no telling what they will attempt when the instructor or mom isn't there! So, my instructing days in the gyro are over but I will continue to offer my thoughts and suggestions in the written word.

Till later.
Marion Springer, gyro CFI, retired.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

On a scale of 10 today was a 12

On a scale of 10 this day was a 12 or more! I went down to Moe's ( formerly Kienzle's) and met with Tina and Dave. They were there to take delivery of Tina's new gyro, a beautiful white Vortex . It was the first time I've had an opportunity to really get a hands-on-up-close look at a Vortex . I was impressed with the quality of the machine. I think Tina is going to love it. I won't spoil her surprise, but Tina has picked the perfect name for her new gyro.

While I was there I had an opportunity to watch Steve McClennan ( not sure of spelling ) fly his VW powered KB2 . He does a nice job of it. Then a fairly new pilot from the area flew his McCulloch powered gyro from the lake bed. All that gyro activity gets the old blood pumping! Teddy was busy working on his mobile home while the gyros were flying around. I don't know how he kept his mind on what he was doing . I'm sure I would have hit my thumb with the hammer if I was working and trying to watch the gyros flying too. Naw...I would have dropped the hammer and just watched the gyros fly. I could work on the mobile home any time. But then, I've never had a problem getting my priorities right when there is a conflict between gyros and work.

While visiting with the new gyro pilots, Dave Bacon told me of his choice for a name for the one winged pigeon..." Hop Along", he said. I think the name fits perfectly for that is exactly what the pigeon does to get around. And he is still getting around, I'm happy to say. He has been with me for 7 days today. He eats like there is no tomorrow and seems to be holding his own very well. I have not brought him into the house yet for I think he needs to mend a bit more before being subjected to the menagerie that lives with me.

For now he is comfortable and alone in a safe room without the noise and chaos of my housemates. What a traumatic change for the poor pigeon. One minute he is a wild and free creature, flying wherever he wants and the next moment is nearly dead from whatever it was that got hold of him. Now if he survives, he will have to be cage-bound and cared for from now on. But if he could talk , I'll bet he would say,
"it's better than the alternative".

After visiting with the gyro types for a little while I had to scoot on home for nephew, Jimmy and his wife Glenda was coming over.Jim was going to do some trench work with his tractor on my daughter Linda's property next door to us.

So all in all I had a good day talking the talk with some gyro pilots and then visiting with Jim and Glenda. Wow, that's a lot of visiting in one day for someone who lives way to heck and gone out in the boonies !

I hope you day was as fine as mine was.
Marion Springer

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kids 'n animals...necessary in my life

My daughters , Linda and Donna and Linda's daughter Lynette, make the most beautiful glass beads. The process they use is called , Lampwork . They use a torch , glass rods and a metal rod on which to shape the molten glass and then they add a little magic and create beads with wonderful colors ,flowers and all sorts of mystical things inside them. I love the beads they make.

Making lampwork beads is something I'd best not try. Heck, I doze off the minute I sit down to read or watch T V . I can see me nodding off with a lighted torch in my hand. Burn the house down for sure. Bad enough that I worry about dozing off and spilling my coffee in my lap.

Funny how I zonk out five minutes after I sit down to watch something I've waited for on TV and then wake up when the commercials come on and the program is history . Then I'll be wide awake in the wee hours. I have found that the wee hours is a good time for writing , though. I wrote most of my book in the midnight hours. At that time of night the house is quiet , the menagerie is asleep and for a while I don't have to bring a dog inside or put him outside or feed him or go see why he is barking.

Speaking of barking, Brutus is a barker...he will stay just out of reach of my hand and my impatience and yap yap yap. Thinks he is going to miss something if he is put outside when company comes so he stands on the porch and yaps toward the window wanting in.

But when I'm outside and the phone rings, Brutus lets me know. If I'm inside and a car comes up our road ( living in the boonies as we do, we seldom get cars on our road)good old Brutus will sound the alarm. If he is outside and sees one of the gyro guys flying our way he will run up on the porch and bark to let me know. Sometimes I think that dog knows my hearing is totally shot! The little dog, Lucky, is very quiet. She only barks when she sees a rattlesnake. So she is our rattlesnake alarm. We hop to when she sounds off.

One member of my menagerie is Georgie, a long haired cat. Georgie is going to be forever young. Four years old now and very playful. She likes to play fetch. I throw a small ball for her and she chases it, brings it back and puts it before me to toss again and again and again. Or she will drag a long braided string around and cry her pitiful little cry until I stop what I'm doing and play with her.

Georgie and I lost our beloved doberman Vokie, to old age recently and it's clear that Georgie also is grieving for him. She just loved him , my number 1, as I called him. Vokie was mine ,always just mine. He never really took to anyone else. He took sick last year when I was preparing to go to New York. The doctor couldn't find any reason for him to be sick, even after a battery of tests. Doctor said it was 'seperation stress syndrome'. Vokie had sensed that I was leaving. His health miraculously improved when I came home.

I took Vokie in the car whenever I could for he loved to go and I liked having him with me. But if the weather was cold I would leave him in the house. He would get even-every time. That rascal would drag my pillow around the house and chew little holes in it. Leave me home, will you? Take that mama , and that . It left a big hurt in my life when he left us.

The newest member of the menagerie is the pigeon with one wing. As of today he is
still hanging in there. This is day five that he has been with us. I hope he makes it.

It's great being retired and having time to get to know the animals and their ways. They're a lot of work and sometimes expensive with Vet's bills and so on, but they are good company. My life is richer for having animal companions. It's richer too for having my children in my life.
Till later
Marion Springer

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pigeon names - gyro names and wishful thinking

I'm amazed to be able to say it, but the one winged pigeon is still alive and alert. It has been three days since Tina and Dave and I doctored him . Tina clipped the slender thread of skin that was holding his broken wing on. There was nothing we could do about his other injuries and I for one really didn't think he would make it, but so far he has. He is eating and drinking water .

He doesn't make a fuss or scramble out of reach when I change the paper in his cage and give him fresh food and water. I am sure he knows we are trying to help him. We have had other injured pigeons come close and allow us to pick them up when they were in dire need of help. One time an injured red fox that lived in a burrow outside our fence came into our yard and let my son pick it up. Unfortunately, the fox didn't seek help soon enough and he didn't make it.

If the one winged pigeon survives , we will have to find a good name for him. We have named some of the wild pigeons that hang out here...One male is called ,
'Boy Junior', a take-off on his father's name of, ' Lover Boy'. A female pigeon is called, 'Fancy Foot ' because she has feathers on her feet and legs. And then there is 'Majestic', a big white pigeon with a couple of black spots. He came on the scene fairly recently and kind of took over. He began building a nest and chasing all the girls. He would stand proudly with his chest puffed out looking like he owned the place. "He looks majestic",said my daughter Linda, so Majestic it is. Linda has a house pigeon called, 'Lacy'. Lacy was another injured pigeon that begged to be taken in. We cared for her until her leg healed then set her free. She came back again and again. She would sit outside and stare at Linda's window. It was clear she wanted to be taken in. She let us walk right up and pick her up. Lacy's flying isn't the greatest so she needs to be taken care of and and we are happy to do that.

Speaking of names, many gyro pilots name their gyros. My own machine is called,
" Born Free" for the sense of freedom I always had when flying it. One gyro pilot said, " I have always had a boss, first my parents, then my wife , then my employer. I always had someone telling me what to do . I am retired and from now on I will do things MY WAY. So , My Way, was the name painted on the tail of his gyro. Then there was Gordon whose wife hated his gyro with a passion. She said to him, " If you are looking for a name for your gyro you can call it,' wife's irritation', and so he did. 'Ego Buster' was the name one young guy callled his gyro when he wasn't able to fly it after just an hour or so of instruction as he thought he would.

Name or no name, the gyro flys the same. I have been giving some thought to getting back into the air again in my gyro. Not sure if I will but the desire to fly is still strong. I'll probably have a battle on my hands with my children if I do decide to bring my gyro up to speed and fly again. They are all happy that I am retired and have my feet on the ground. The ground may be where my feet are but it's not where my heart is!

About emailing me with your thoughts or whatever, you will need to click off this page and click back onto ( you got to this page from there ) so just click the BACK arrow or the red X, and there you are. Use my email . You will find the email address on the gyro website. I'd be happy to hear your comments.

Till later,
Marion Springer

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Great Day Here in Paradise

I had been looking forward to today, Saturday, for my gyro friends Tina Tyler and Dave Bacon were going to be flying Tina's Cessna up to the desert to spend the day with me. They arrived around 10 AM and landed down on the dry lake. I picked them up and brought them up to my home, about two miles away.

Boy, did we talk gyros or what? Tina is excited about the Vortex gyro which she has just purchased. I'm happy to see another woman getting into gyros and I'm also happy that Tina has someone like Dave who has the same love for gyros that she does. Dave flies a KB2, he has two of them, as a matter of fact. I always say you can't have too many gyros ! Right now Tina and Dave are just getting started flying gyros. I look for them to become really good gyro pilots in time. Oh what a wonderful and exciting time lies before them in the gyro world! My more than 40 years of gyro flying went by all too fast. I truly envy these two new gyro pilots with the whole gyro experience ahead of them . I hope they are blessed with many years of good flying.

While they were with me I asked them to help me with an injured pigeon that my son brought in this morning. It had a severely damaged wing that had been broken. The wing was torn almost completely off the body and was hanging on by a thin piece of skin. The thread of skin holding the wing on needed to be cut so the usless wing could be disposed of ...Tina was brave enough to do the job. The pigeon was alert and seemed to know that we were trying to help him. He didn't struggle at all, although he could have. There is also some damage to the crop of the pigeon...I have no idea what got hold of him and damaged him so . Yesterday late in the evening he was outside our fence and this morning he had managed to make his way inside the fence. Such determination to survive in spite of having so much damage is incredible.

The pigeon ate some seed and drank water after the surgery. I hope he survives. If he does , I will take care of him from now on. If he doesn't, then at least we tried to save him. I appreciate the help and moral support of Tina and Dave during the doctoring.

Later in the afternoon, the three of us went down to Kienzles' to check on Tina's Cessna. The A/C was fine. We decided to set a spell with some other good gyro friends. So, we pulled up some chairs in front of Teddy's and Bobby's gyro hangar and solved some of the world's problems and talked the talk - gyro talk that is.

In time all good things must end, and so it was with our little gyro group. The time passed all too soon and Tina and Dave flew home to Hemet and I came back to my little piece of the desert and so ended a most wonderful day .

Good friends, good gyro talk and helping an injurd pigeon, a full and fine day.

Till later,
Marion Springer

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This n That

Hello again after a couple of days off the blog/journal. If you've been reading my thoughts then you will remember that my last post was all about being frustrated in getting the sculpture I was working on to work out right...I had to walk away from it and go at it again another day. I'm pleased to say that the time off helped.

My little Indian Warrior turned out well. His head, hands, and feet have been cured and the various parts have been assembled onto the body. I am now working on hand sewing his clothing which is all made of real buckskin leather. After that will come the beadwork and accessories. If you are ever curious about these creations of mine, you can see some of my work on my other . The name is short for' Authentic American Indian Dolls

On a totally different subject,you know by now that flying is dear to my heart, flying gyros especially. Well, I like birds too. I'm not a fanatic bird lover but those creatures simply amaze me. Being a pilot and retired flight instructor, I know something about aerodynamics. To me it's almost unbelievable that a bird can have its feathers so ruffled and dirty after a dirt bath or in such dissaray after a water bath that one would believe it impossible that it could ever fly. But when it is ready to fly, those rumpled feathers are slicked down so tight to the bird's body that they appear to be painted on. And that can happen immediately after either a dirt or water bath. The immediate transformation from ragamuffin to sleek, aerodynamic and ready to fly is astounding.

I have a pigeon named Coo that lives in a big cage in my home. She was brought to me when she was a baby by my daughter Donna, 9 1/2 years ago. It has been very apparent over the years that Coo wanted to be a mother. She would tear up newspapers in her cage and make a nest then she would begin setting on her nest. Of course nothing happened , no eggs , therefore no babies . A vital element was missing, namely fertilization...I had a male pigeon named Noel,temporarily living with me. I had brought him in when I found him injured in the yard. He recovered from his injuries and took an interest in Coo. Putting the two of them together didn't work. Coo would have killed Noel had I not removed him him from her reach. Coo apparently prefers Immaculate Conception. Well, OK.

I obtained two pigeon eggs and placed them in Coo's nest. She was in pigeon Heaven. When the first egg hatched it freaked poor Coo out. She tore the nest up , flung the new-born chick out to the side and kicked the unhatched egg out of the nest. When I saw the total chaos of it all I nearly freaked! I rerearranged the nest an put the new chick back in it. I put the unhatched egg in an incubator. I had no idea what Coo would do, so I watched her like a hawk.

Well, she calmed down, started taking care of her new baby with great love and tenderness . The other egg hatched in the incubator the next day and I placed the tiny chick with Coo, again holding my breath. She took the second baby in and was the perfect mother to both babies. That all happed a couple of years ago. Since then Coo has been a surrogate mother a half a dozen times or more. Whenever I find a pigeon egg on the ground in the yard, I give it to Coo. She sets on the egg , hatches the chick and loves it like any mother would. When the chick is old enough to be released, I transition it from in the house to a cage in the yard. After a time, it is released from that cage and it finds it's place with the other pigeons who hang out here. By then Coo is ready for me to bring her another egg.

Coo's latest baby is 3 days old today. Immaculate Conception works for her!.

I will close on two final notes . My gyro buddy Teddy, verifies that the dates for the Ken Brock Freedom fly-in on the El Mirage dry lake are, Sept. 22,23,24, the last weekend in Sept. More on this as I get more news. And finally, on this coming Saturday I will have Tina Tyler and Dave Bacon ,two brand new gyro pilots visit me in my home. It's always a pleasure to talk the talk with gyro pilots but not every day I get to talk gyros to another gal gyro pilot. I'm looking forward to it.

Till later,
Marion Springer
CFI-Gyro, Ret.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Talking the talk

It was another quiet peaceful day here in the desert, or as my son says, 'just another day in Paradise'. After feeding my four legged and winged companions, aka, dogs, cats and birds, I set about working on an original handmade Indian doll.

Next to flying gyrocopters, making hand sculpted original Indian dolls is something I have enjoyed doing for many years. My husband would say to me jokingly, (I think he was joking), "you have come full circle for you are playing with dolls". "Not so", I would retort- "I am creating!".

It's so neat to take a variety of items, from wire for the armature, polyfil for the body stuffing and polymer clay for sculpting the heads , hands and feet and legs and make a realistic doll...'doll' is used for want of a better word for what I make. The creations are not doll play toys, but are objects of what I think of as art. Art, my way, that is.

Sometimes the sculpting goes well and magically, a face will eventually appear in the clay. When it resembles what I had in mind , say an old Chief, or a warrior or whatever , I will place the sculpture in the oven and cure it at a particular temperature for a half hour or so. Curing in the oven sets the clay permanently.

Sometimes the sculpting goes well and other times it is simply frustrating...and try as I might , nothing comes close to what I am trying to achieve. that's when I have to walk away from it for awhile. And that was the case today-nothing was going right with the sculpting .

I put my sculpting materials away and went down the road a couple of miles and visited with my new neighbor, Teddy Udala. Teddy is a gyro pilot and member of the San Diego gyro club. He is moving up to the high desert and is busy getting his mobile home set up . Teddy is torn between working on his new home or working on building his new KB3 which he hopes to have flying by the fly-in here in September.

So we sat on his porch and in the cool shade of the afternoon and we talked the talk -gyro talk, that is ; how the KB3 is coming along , Did Bobby fly today , who is flying what, and 'we gotta get you flying again, Marion', and so on.

Short of actually flying gyros, nothing makes the day right again like talking to an old flying buddy about gyros .

Till later

Friday, August 04, 2006

On the El Mirage dry lake Bed - you never know what you might see

One day my husband, Docko, and I were driving across the lake and we saw a Volkswagon bus with a platform mounted on top. On the platform was something that looked like every picture you've ever seen of a flying saucer, or unidentified flying object (UFO).

The object on the platform appeared to be about 8 to 10 feet across and perhaps 5 to 6 feet high at it's apex. It looked exactly like two saucers, one inverted on top of the other one. It looked very interesting so we stopped about 200 feet from where the Volkswagon bus was parked.

After a few minutes the saucer shaped object began to rise vertically from the platform. When it reached about 35 feet above the lake bed it began to move in our direction. It stopped and hovered in mid air about 50 feet from where we were. All well and good so far, and interesting too.

Then the object became unstable. It dipped down on one side, recovered, dipped on the opposite side then it began to that was just too close to where we were sitting. Docko had kept the engine running so now he quickly put the van in gear and we moved away to a safer distance just as object began to descend toward the lake bed, obviously out of control.

The operators of the object were watching from their Volkswagon. When their project became unstable they deployed a ballistic parachute that was connected to the object. There was not enough altitude for the chute to open so it just trailed as the object contacted the ground. When it hit the lake bed, the thing deflated and just flattened out.

A few minutes later it seemed to come to life again and began to reinflate to it's original size and shape. The operators seemed to be in no hurry to try their experiment again. We couldn't stay longer so we went on about our business. We never learned who they were or what they were trying to do. It was just one of those interesting things you could come across most any time on the El Mirage Dry Lake.

Till later.
Marion Springer

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another day in the desert

Finally those hot hot days of 'three digit' temperatures have ended and our weather here in the high desert near the El Mirage dry lake has settled down to the high 90's. Much more user friendly.

No gyros or any other aircraft flying on the dry lake today. Maybe there will be something interesting flying out there this weekend.

Living out here in the high desert in the wide open spaces is almost total freedom and I love it. Awhile back there was a helicopter hovering just outside our perimeter fence , about 100 feet from my front porch. He was all of 50 feet AGL(above ground level). I couldn't see inside the cockpit clearly enough to see who the pilot was but figured it was a former gyro student of mine whom I knew was now flying helicopters.

About a month later there was another helicopter, this time it was hovering in our yard, 60 feet from the front porch and all of 30 feet AGL. Again, I couldn't tell who was flying it.

I learned later that both pilots were former gyro students of mine from my gyro flight instructing days just coming by to say HI. I know, I know, the regs frown on that sort of thing, but way out here in the wilds sometimes pilots do things that just isn't done in congested areas ....and I must say,I enjoy it. Maybe there is a little of the renegade left in this old retired gyro gal pilot, you think ?

Frequently gyro pilots flying from the dry lake or from Kienzle's ( now Moe's, but still called Kienzles by everyone)will circle my home and wave. I always enjoy that. It's a good feeling to see someone whom you have taught to fly doing just that and doing it well.

With the Ken Brock Freedom gyro fly-in coming up in September on the dry lake, there should be plenty of gyro flying and gyro pilots to visit with. More on the fly-in at a later date.

Till later
Marion Springer

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to my website

I'm happy to say that in a few days my gyro web site should be updated by my great web master, Matt Harding. Look for items for sale in the 'In the Hangar' page, as well as other interesting items on the site.

Recently I started writing an article to post on this site. The article is about using the 'crow hop' method of learning to lift off and to land the small gyro. I think the method is especially beneficial to the pilot who will be flying a small gyro but has received his flight training in a big heavy gyro. Being really chatty when it comes to talking about gyros, the article soon became way to long to post here so I will submit it to PRA (Popular Rotorcraft Assn.) to be printed in Rotorcraft magazine.

Speaking of PRA, I was very surprised recently to learn that I had been awarded the Ken Brock award which was awarded me (in absentia) at the recent PRA convention in Mentone, Indiana. The prestigious award is presented to the person who is considered to have best advanced rotorcraft worldwide. To say I am honored to receive this award is an understatement, indeed. My heartfelt thanks to those who considered me worthy of the award. The plaque graces the wall of my living room.

This blog/journal isn't set up for viewers to respond on it directly, but you may contact me by email. I'd love to hear what's going on with you and your gyro or maybe just your gyro-dreams for the future.

Till later,