Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Biplane soars through space and time

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Courser claims ag abandoned by Schrader

The suddenly-tight race in the fertile U.S. 5th District could hinge on Oregon family farms and rural communities slammed by pandemic and wildfire, claimed the challenger to a six-term incumbent who has severed his official ties to agriculture.

Courser braces Schrader over law and order stand

Mounting the biggest challenge ever to an entrenched incumbent, Congressional candidate Amy Ryan Courser this week drew a stark battle line between her and six-term representative Kurt Schrader over law enforcement in the U.S. Fifth District.

Lincoln County discusses waiver of fees retroactively for wildfire victims

Lincoln County government met Monday to discuss possibly waiving construction fees for victims of the Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire and may do so retroactively to Sept. 8. 

Newport K9 team discovers commercial quantity of meth

Newport Police Officer Hayden Randall and his partner, K9 Nero, were responsible for discovering a commercial quantity of methamphetamine during a routine traffic violation...

NWS issues freeze warning for North, Central Oregon Coast

National Weather Service Portland issued a freeze warning Sunday night for the North and Central Oregon Coasts for 1-10 a.m. Monday.

Redemption Thrift theft in Taft

Former Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams took to Facebook Saturday with a video that shows a man making off with charity funds from his Redemption Thrift store in Taft.

Enough with the COVID doom and gloom

I just this minute have had enough of the doom and gloom COVID narrative.

Homepage team behind Fox 12 wildfire coverage

Where do Portland TV stations get their breaking news? Often, it turns out, from Lincoln City Homepage!
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Volunteers raise spirits, hope amid wildfire ashes

A spirited volunteer cleanup effort is underway in Otis as workers sift through the rubble of destroyed homes left behind by the Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire.

Dick Anderson has lots of help funding his campaign

This past Wednesday, the Lincoln City News Guard ran a huge campaign ad for Dick Anderson and three other conservative candidates.

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Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

MYSTERY SOLVED! D.B. Cooper was my friend

He was the soldier who became a skyjacker, the skyjacker who became a priest, and the priest who lived and died in Depoe Bay. He was D.B. Cooper, the most famous fugitive on earth, and he was my friend.

Fire strikes historic Otis Cafe on Independence Day

North Lincoln Fire Rescue units swarmed the Otis Cafe shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday to combat a fully involved fire at the iconic restaurant.

Highway 101 hole prompts ODOT to call in geologists

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have called in geologists Thursday to take core samples of a hole on southbound Highway 101 in Otis.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.

Pilot Dana Andersen, who began flying as a youngster from a skinny, beachside airstrip in his hometown of Pacific City, rebuilt the 1929 Travel Air he uses to carry carry sightseers over Lincoln County. (Photo by Rick Beasley)
Pilot Dana Andersen, who began flying as a youngster from a skinny, beachside airstrip in his hometown of Pacific City, rebuilt the 1929 Travel Air he uses to carry carry sightseers over Lincoln County. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

KERNVILLE — In the skies over Depoe Bay and Lincoln City, a modern-day barnstormer in an open-cockpit biplane is giving passengers a journey through space and time seldom found at the soulless tarmacs of modern airports.

On the wings of a 91-year-old aircraft, begoggled sightseers are awed by the secret airborne wonders of the Oregon coast: wave-swept headlands remote as the back side of the moon, seabirds that join in formation and the spectacle of gray whales feeding in a shallow bay.

The real star of the aerial expedition, however, is a 1929 Travel Air B-4000 that once transported G-men at record speeds during the Prohibition era.

The sleek lines and other ideas borrowed from WW1 fighters made the 1929 Travel Air a marvel of speed and reliability for its day. (Photo by Rick Beasley)
The sleek lines and other ideas borrowed from WW1 fighters made the 1929 Travel Air a marvel of speed and reliability for its day. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

“When they said it was a 1929 airplane, I just about had heart failure — I don’t even like old cars,” chuckled Christina Grow of Beaverton after an exciting — but hardly blistering — 80-mph flyover of Cascade Head. “It was amazing, with the wind and the sound and smell of the engine. You’re really in the moment.”

Dana Andersen, a commercial pilot and certified aviation mechanic, discovered the airplane in 1999 in a hangar at Evergreen Airport in Vancouver, Wash.

“It hadn’t flown since 1939,” recalled Andersen, who began flying airplanes “as a kid” at a beachside airport in his hometown of Pacific City. “Its owner brought it back from the East Coast and had been tinkering with it for 20 years, but never got it flying.”

To pilots everywhere, the unmistakable ‘throb-and-chop’ sound of a radial engine and its six-foot prop reverberates with aviation history. Startled visitors on the boardwalk at Depoe Bay shade their eyes and crane their necks at the unusual racket.

“It cost $10,000 off the factory line at a time when you could buy a new car for $600,” Andersen said of the cloth-covered aircraft, whose wire-rigged wings “sing” in flight. “It was the state of the art in its day for luxury airplane travel.”

The aircraft bears the stamp of aviation-design legends Lloyd Stearman, Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech, who incorporated ideas from the best military planes of World War I into the Travel Air. It was nicknamed “The Wichita Fokker” for its similarities with a German fighter.

Tammy Andersen, wife and partner at Northwest Plane Rides, adjusts the seat belts for a couple of clients who were awestruck by the antique bi-plane parked at Siletz Bay State Airport. (Photo by Rick Beasley)
Tammy Andersen, wife and partner at Northwest Plane Rides, adjusts the seat belts for a couple of clients who were awestruck by the antique bi-plane parked at Siletz Bay State Airport. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

Logbooks revealed the airplane, with room for two passengers in front and a pilot in the rear cockpit, was first owned by the U.S. Commerce Dept. and was used to transport top government officials, including revenuers and F.B.I. agents.

“It even had a siren on it,” Andersen marveled. “It’s fun to think it was used to chase bootleggers.”

Andersen, 56, restored the airplane to like-new condition and has been barnstorming the Oregon coast for the last 13 years at busy tourist destinations such as Tillamook, Newport and Siletz Bay, a bucolic airfield three miles north of Depoe Bay with no tower and a single windsock to guide pilots on landings.

“It’s the perfect airport for us,” reflected Andersen, who the found runway politics too tumultuous at Tillamook and the flying weather spotty in Newport. “Every day is flyable. At Newport, the fog creeps up from the gullies and the airport shuts down.”

Powered by a 225-horsepower Lycoming engine, the Travel Air has a top speed of 130 mph but cruises at a leisurely 80 on trips to Depoe Bay, Seal Rock or Sand Lake. Dropping like an elevator on approach, the airplane lands at a gentle 52 mph.

Pilot Dana Anderson slips into the wind on approach to Siletz Bay State Airport, five miles south of Lincoln City
Pilot Dana Anderson slips into the wind on approach to Siletz Bay State Airport, five miles south of Lincoln City

“There’s no autopilot or fly-by-wire,” Andersen observed. “A plane like this is good exercise for a pilot.”

Northwest Plane Rides operates daily now until mid-September from the state airport adjacent to Salishan Golf Course. For information or reservations, call 503-701-7590 or visit the web site, nwplanerides.com.

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Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley is a simple writer who collects sniper rifles for a hobby.

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Newport K9 team discovers commercial quantity of meth

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Former Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams took to Facebook Saturday with a video that shows a man making off with charity funds from his Redemption Thrift store in Taft.

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