Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too bad being stupid isn't painful

I've often thought that if stupid people had real pain from being stupid they would do something to make the stupidity go away, you know, like take an aspirin or something.

I am severely hearing impaired and wear two hearing aids. The hearing aids help of course but there are many things that interfere with my ability to hear and understand clearly. Loud talking, fast talking, accents, background sounds and other things impair my ability to hear well. Occasionally when I inform a salesgirl that I am hard of hearing and am using hearing aids she will begin talking to me at the top of her voice. Sometimes I think they can be heard out in the parking lot. When I tell the person that she doesn't have to shout and would she please slow her speech down a bit then often she will get all cutesy in a different way. She will give me the slow speech treatment.

Last week I had to go to a UPS store to mail a package. My daughter was with me and she said to the clerk , " my mom is hard of hearing". Well, that set the stage for the 50ish redheaded gal clerk who jumped at the opportunity to have a little fun at my expense. The first words she
addressed to me were spoken at the top of her lungs and spoken very fast.

I told her that she didn't need to yell but to please speak a little slower...then she said this,
" O.................K...................I...................will ". I just lost my cool and said to her in front of a roomful of customers ( she was playing to them ), " You are being stupid!!!". That got her attention and she treated me in a more respectful manner while she finished waiting on me.

She apparently thought she was being cute while in fact she was ridiculing a customer , but as I said, she was stupid. I guess she had a need to prove her stupidity to the other customers.

Needless to say, that UPS store has been crossed off my list.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old friend, gyro pioneer, Ed Nielesky has passed on

He was a special person, soft spoken, gentle and an old gyro pilot from way back. His name was Ed Nielesky.
He loved gyros and in fact, he told me he taught the late Ken Brock to fly gyros. He said he had his gyro out and Ken's wife, Marie happened by. She stopped to talk with Ed and told him that she thought her husband would love that machine. Marie brought the two guys together and the rest is history.

Ed's love of flying wasn't limited to gyros. His son told me that when he was a kid one day he and Ed took off in an airplane before dawn. They flew all day arriving back at home base after dark. He said they refueled and his dad said to him, " let's go fly some more". That sounds like Ed, all right.

In the photo above Ed stands in front of a table displaying a tee shirt with a picture of two gyros in flight. Ed is flying the gyro in the foreground and Ken is in the background. The picture on the tee shirt was taken by Dr. Igor Bensen at a gyro fly-in on the El Mirage dry lake. I believe the photo was taken in the early 70's. Bensen had the photo put on tee shirts and they were sold in retail stores all over the country.

Ed loved the McCulloch engine and always flew the Mac on his gyro as I do and as Ken brock did. I always say the best gyro pilots fly the Mac!

The picture of Ed in front of the tee shirt was taken at the 2010 gyro fly-in. It was the last time he was able to attend the annual event that he enjoyed so much for he passed away just before the fly-in this year. I knew and loved him as a gyro buddy for many years and I will miss him.

Till next time,
Marion Springer

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New blog on my Authentic Indian doll web site

I mentioned before that I have another passion besides gyrocopters. That passion is creating original hand-made Indian dolls. The dolls ( called dolls for lack of a better word) are not toys but rather they are art dolls. The figures represent what an Indian of that time period might be doing on an average day. I make warriors, chiefs, mothers w/babies and cradleboards w/babies and others.

Recently Matt, my web master, put a blog on the doll website. I thought it would be neat to post items of interest about what I was working on in the art doll world or mention ideas I have for future art dolls and maybe even receive comments from readers about my work.

There is a link to the doll blog on the website or the blog can be accessed by going to the doll website. . The abreviation for the long name is

If you look it up I'd be interested in hearing from you.

I still am involved in gyrocopters and always will be . The annual Ken Brock Freedom gyro fly-in is coming up next month on the El Mirage dry lake. The dates are Sept. 23-25. Plan to join us for a weekend of camaraderie and gyro flying or just watching gyros fly.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birds know

It never ceases to surprise me that birds know when you will help them. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a pigeon with a string tightly wrapped around both his feet. He could hardly walk so picking him up was easy. The surprising thing is that he seemed to know that I would take the string off his feet.

He never struggled no matter how I turned him in an effort to cut the string. For a few minutes I had him flat on his back and still he was patient and didn't struggle to get loose. I finally freed his feet from the string and he flew away.

This evening just before dark I was shooing the pigeons into the pigeon house when a small sparrow landed about four feet from me. I said a few words to it, ( yeah, I talk to cats, dogs and birds), and it sat there and let me walk up to it. It looked up at me and even let me put my hand around it but before I could close my hand on it it flew about six feet away and landed. I went into the house and got the bird net and went out and simply dropped the net over the little bird.

I took it out of the net and carried it in my hand while I went looking for a small cage for the bird. During the fifteen minutes or so that it took to prepare the cage and put in food and water the little sparrow was sitting peacefully in my hand and not struggling. I think he knew that I was trying to help him. I put him in the cage and covered it with a towel. In a few days I will release him when a flock of his kind come by and hopefully he will join them .

I think it is a young bird that got separated from it's flock and with night coming on it was lost and terrified . Scared as he was, he still let me help me.

The photo above shows feeding time and some of the pigeons that live here.

Till next time,


Up-date on the little sparrow.

Next morning I checked on the sparrow. I guess daylight brought his courage back. He was flitting about the cage and rarin' to go. I reached in the cage to pick him up and the little devil bit me ! Guess he didn't remember how grateful he was the night before when I picked him up and brought him inside.

There was nothing wrong with him so no reason to keep him caged up. I took him outside and set him free. He joined a flock of his own kind and flew away with them.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Empty Chairs in the Hangar

How quiet it was in my hangar today when I went down to cover my gyro. Nothing but a half a dozen empty chairs and the gyro in there. Yesterday the hangar hosted several gyro friends , my two daughters and me. There was talking, laughing, sharing gyro stories and just a good feeling .

Yesterday my day had started at 6 AM, before I was out of bed even. I was awake and thinking of getting up but hadn't made the move yet when I heard a gyro coming our way. There was no doubt in my mind who was flying. It had to be my old gyro buddy, Dave. Dave, like me , loves the very loud un-muffled McCulloch engine on his gyro. Real gyro pilots are about the only ones who love the Mac. We like the light weight of the engine and the fact that it makes the gyro so nimble. Other folks just say it's too loud.

Sure enough, it was Dave. He he did his usual fly-by , some might call it a buzz job, but fly-by sounds more FAA approved. I went out on the porch bare footed and in my jammies and waved to him as he came by. After a couple of passes he signaled me to , " come on down", meaning come on down to the hangar where he planned to be.

I shirked my morning baby bird feeding duties and went on down to the hangar. To my surprise, Ben , a gyro friend from Arizona was there. After awhile, another gyro enthusiast came along. Ben had just had an unscheduled landing while flying Daves gyro. We stood around for awhile talking about Ben's exciting unplanned landing then we moved into the hangar to get out of the hot sun. After awhile my two daughters came down and joined us and we just talked the talk.

It wasn't anything special, just a few gyro friends and some of my family spending a couple of hours talking and laughing and sharing memories but it was nice .
After awhile, we pushed my gyro out to the run-up pad and started the engine. The gyro hadn't been flown or even started for several months but that Mac started right up and ran great. After awhile the guys had to leave and I had to get back home to take care of my responsibilities. The engine was too hot to put the rags in the ports and the carburator so I left that until today.

When I opened the hangar doors this morning to take care of the gyro I saw the empty chairs. It was a lonely feeling like the lake bed on Sunday after the fly-in when everyone has loaded up and headed home. It was a quiet and lonely place. The friends and family had gone home but the memories remain.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lookin' Out My Backdoor

This morning around 7 AM I looked out my back door and saw hundreds of sheep walking down the road that crosses our property.

They have been grazing in the area for several days. It is amazing that so many sheep are controlled in the large open countryside by one Shepherd and two sheep dogs.

They have been grazing about a mile or so north of us for several days being moved here and there until they were just outside my fence a day or so ago. My Doberman, Connie went to the fence and barked at the sheep but they paid her no mind and just kept on eating. Connie isn't used to being ignored when she barks at other creatures so she got embarassed and came back into the yard. Today she didn't even bother looking at the sheep as they marched down the road. I guess if they were not going to act frightened when she barks at them then it's no fun.

We have very little traffic out here but now and then a car or delivery truck does venture out this way. If the sheep are in the roadway, the driver slows way down but usually keeps driving while the sheep just kind of flow around the vehicle. It's wierd when you are in a car on the road and finally come to a stop because you are surrounded by slow moving sheep. It's like being stopped near the railroad tracks when a train is passing and suddenly you feel like your car is moving and you step on the brake which you are already stepping on.

I wonder about coyotes getting the sheep especially at night when they have so little protection from predators . Other night Linda heard coyotes barking and immediately she heard the sound of two shots . I would imagine the shepherd fired into the air and scared the coyotes away for all was quiet afterwards.

The shepherd has a water truck which he fills every day. When the sheep stop to drink, they all stop at the same time and drink then they all lie down and rest. After a nap they are on the move enmasse looking for food.

Living way out in the open country as we do we get to see some interesting things that you just can't see in metropolitian areas.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Saturday, June 18, 2011


It seems that some people have a need to bully others for no reason other than it probably makes the bully feel like a big shot.

When my granddaughter was in junior high some girl started bullying her. She would tell my granddaughter that , " One of these days I'm going to work you over". The bully had a gang of friends that were always with her. It got so bad that my granddaughter dreaded passing her and her followers. My granddaughters mother told her that she would have to stand up to the bully or forevermore be afraid of her. So, next time the bully girl and her gang saw my granddaughter she gave the same threat that ' one of these granddaughter stood face to face with her and said " What's wrong with right now ?". Wow! The bully girl didn't expect that. She and her gang turned away and never bothered my granddaughter again. Sometimes you just have to stand up and face the bully.

Back when we were kids my brother and I walked home from school. There were two brothers about our age who walked part way home the same direction that we did then at the junction they would go off in another direction to their home. Those two boys made every day miserable for my brother and me . They would bully us both, jab our arms, trip us, etc. The older brother was bigger than either my brother or me.

The harassing went on every single day and Billy and I dreaded the walk home from school. One day Billy had enough. I don't know how he did it but he got the boy who was about his size down and was keeping him down. Billy somehow managed to grab a small limb and he held it across the other kids neck. Big brother went to help his brother and while he was distracted I pushed him down.

Every time the bigger kid would try to get to his feet I would push him down again. I kept him off balance while Billy gave the other boy a good lesson. When finally the other boy gave up completely Billy let him get up off the ground. That was the last time those two ever bullied my brother and me . We had finally stood up to our tormentors.

Years later I had a student in the gyro. It was early morning and we were the only aircraft flying until finally a Piper Cub from out of the area landed and the pilot taxied into the median area between the runway and the taxiway. He got out and started working on his airplane engine. After awhile a beautiful red Pitts Special, also from out of the area landed . The pilot shut the engine down and left his Pitts parked squarely in the middle of the taxi way blocking it completely then he went out and started visiting with the Cub pilot.

My student and I flew the pattern, landed , and taxied back to do another pattern flight. The Pitts was blocking our way on the taxi way so I went off the pavement and out into the rough and then back onto the pavement to get around it. Naive me, I told my student that the Pitts owner probably would have moved his aricraft by the time we came back. Boy was I wrong ! His aircraft was still blocking our path so I went off the pavement and out in the rough again.

By now I realized that the aircraft owner was telling me what he thought of gyroplanes. So, when we came around the third time and the Pitts was still in the middle of the taxi way I knew I had to take action or forevermore get off the sidewalk so to speak , whenever the Pitts owner thought I should. So, I went off the pavement , passed the Pitts then came back onto the taxi way as close as I could to the Pitts. I lined up squarely in front of the airplane. I stopped and held the brakes of the gyro and although I hated to do it, I opened the throttle wide open and I sand blasted that beautiful red Pitts. But, it got the owners attention and the next time we came around the Pitts was in the median section where it properly should have been.

I don't usually mistreat aircraft . And sand blasting the Pitts was a mean thing to do but as I saw it , it was my only option for I was not going to beg the owner to move his aircraft and have him laugh at me. He knew it wasn't supposed to be parked on the taxi way . The Pitts owner never bullied me again. As I said , sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hanging out and talking the talk

Today was a good day. I didn't do much of anything but hang out with some gyro friends and talk gyros. Sometimes that's all thats needed to make a good day , just being with friends and sharing gyro stories.

Yesterday Jeff, a gyro owner and soon to be gyro pilot, called and said he and John would be up this way for the weekend. They were flying to Arizona in John's Cherokee to bring Ben, another gyro owner back with them . Dave from down the hill would be up with one of his gyros . " Let me know when you get here and I'll be down", I said. So, when I got the call I fast tracked on down to the hangar on Moe's place and there we had a good time just talking the talk.

Recently Dave and Ben were flying their gyros over the sand dunes and Dave had an engine out. There was nothing but sand dunes as far as you could see . It was a terrible place to have an engine quit, but quit it did. In a gyro if you have an engine failure in a place where you cannot afford to touch down with any forward speed, such as soft ground or plowed field , you must drop the gyro in and touch down without a forward roll and that is exactly what Dave did. He was flying low when the engine stopped so he just flared and dropped down and landed upright with no damage to his gyro. It was a good save . So, Dave's exciting dune landing was one of the things whe talked about.

I have been in gyros for many many years so I had a few gyro tales of my own to share. Like the day years ago when I saw a gyro taxiing accross the lake bed . When the fellow reached the edge of the lake he shut the gyro down and I pulled up to say hello. I didn't know the man but it was obvious that he was trying to teach himself to fly the gyro. He said that he had had a terrible time taxiing and that he could barely keep from rolling his gyro.

Speaking from years of gyro experience as a certified gyro flight instructor, I said, " Sounds like you had blade flap". " No way", he said adamantly, " I was taxiing at 10 miles and hour and those blades were turning 60 RPM's". Taxiing at that speed with the blades barely turning it was blade flap , no question about it and he was lucky he didn't roll his gyro into a ball. He was a know it all with a closed mind so I just went on my way . There's no use talking to a brick wall.

Jeff had put in an hour taxiing his gyro this morning with Pete flying overhead and Dave following along in a pickup, both keeping an eye on Jeff and ready to wave him in if the wind came up or if he seemed to be tiring. Just guys watching over a fledgling pilot in his early taxi sessions.

The wind came up and Pete did a beautiful demonstration of playing on the wind and with almost vertical take offs and landings. There is nothing like watching a light weight gyro and a guy who knows how to handle it fly in the wind. Just awsome !

So we just visited, and made plans to go to Britta's chapter 15 gyro fly-in in Arizona in a couple of weeks and so the time passed all to soon and it was time for the guys to take off in the Cherokee to take Ben back home and time for me to get back home to my duties which my daughter Donna, had so generously taken over so I could go out and play with my gyro buddies. Sometimes it's just good to hang out with the guys and talk the talk.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ever wish you could un-say something ?

An older woman with snow white hair came into the office. With her was a young man in his 30's and a boy of about 10 and a little girl about 6 years old. The white haired woman stayed in the office while the young man and the children went out to the man's airplane.

The white haired woman whom I had never seen before, talked about helping the young man work on his airplane. I asked her if he was her son. I had insulted her big time. " He is my Boyfriend ", she roared. Oh boy, I wished I hadn't asked if he was her son. But I learned from that that sometimes it's best not to ask lest your words come back to bite you.

Another time an older man with a toddler came into the office . I figured the baby was his grandson, but this time I kept my thoughts to myself and good thing I did for it turned out that the baby was his son. The man who was about 65 was married to a woman nearly 40 years younger than he was.

I was part of a group of pilots who were scheduled fly at an airshow. All airshow performers had to attend a briefing by the FAA prior to the start of the airshow. One of the performers was a woman ( I will call her Susie, not her real name ) who flew a Piper Cub in a comedy act. In her performance she was supposed to be a woman who did not know how to fly but was going to fly anyway. She would take off and fly in a haphazard manner while a car chased after her down the runway trying to get her to land. In her flying act she would turn around and fly back over the runway toward to car that was chasing her.

A the end of the FAA briefing as she was leaving the room Susie stopped at the door and turned to the group and said, " Oh, by the way, I forgot my glasses today and I can't see a thing without them". Knowing her comedy flying act her words were funny but later on she had cause to wish she hadn't said those words.

It was time for Susie to perform. The announcer asked for a volunteer to drive the chase car because her usual driver couldn't be there that day. A man from the audience volunteered and got into the car along with a man with a camera . Susie the Ace, ran to her airplane, got in and started the engine.

She taxied out and took off flying kind of wobbly as was part of the act . The chase car tore down the runway , the driver waving frantically at the pilot to land. The pilot turned the ariplane and flew back toward the car at a very low altitude...too low, in fact because her right wheel hit the car. The wheel was torn off the airplane and went flying through the air.

Susie the Ace, was able to make a one wheel landing on the grass alongside the runway with little more damage to the plane than had already been done. She was not injured but was heard to say that she needed a drink. The two fellows in the chase car were not injured but were very shaken up. I often wondered if in retrospect the pilot ever wished she had not said that she couldn't see a thing without her glasses .

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Pigeon named Hop-Along

The pigeon called Hop-Along is a survivor. About six years ago something attacked her and left her barely alive with numerous injuries including a broken wing that was hanging on by a thread of skin.
She made her way into our yard and let my son pick her up then he brought her to me.

I couldn't afford to take her to a vet but wanted to help her if,we cleaned her up as best we could and then clipped the thread of skin which was holding her wing on. The wing was broken up near the shoulder with only about an inch of bone left in place. One of her injuries was a quarter sized hole in her crop where we could see the seeds she had eaten. When she drank drink water it would run out of the hole in the crop. That she survived is amazing but survive she did. I think her will to live was strong.

In time her injuries healed but with only one wing she would never fly again. That meant she would have to be cared for for the rest of her life . Since she was ground bound a friend suggested the name Hop-Along. It fit. She responds when someone calls her name.

I tried putting her in the outside pigeon house but with only one wing she was not accepted by the other birds so she lives in a cage in my home and she is a character !

Thinking she needed company in her cage I tried putting different pigeons in with her but she rejected every one and wouldn't accept a room mate. She does like the mirror in her cage and she enjoys looking at the pigeon in the mirror looking back at her. She enjoys toys and has several kinds of bird type toys hanging from her cage. What she enjoys most are bells and the bigger and noisier the bell the better.

Let a conversation be going on in the room and she starts ringing those bells and really gets them jangling. When Linda comes into the room Hop-Along always greets her by ringing the bells.

Her next favorite toy is five plastic rings about two inches in diameter joined together like a chain. She tugs on the rings and twists them around and finally one morning I saw her standing there with the rings suspended from her neck ( see the picture at top of page ). She had managed to pull the rings loose from the fastener that held them attached to the cage. The rings fell with one ring slipping over her head. She looked like she was posing with a necklace . I had to take a picture . I'm sure it wasn't her proudest moment but it was kind of cute anyway.
Till next time.
Marion Springer