Brady and Ethan Graham – Sliwa Summer Camp 2016

In Visits by Steve Sliwa

Brady and Ethan Graham are the kids of Lisa and Jeremy Graham of Bend, OR.  They are the proprietors of Alkemy Innovations & Black Canyon Woodworks.  Lisa and I are on the Oregon Tech board together (she is the Chairman).  The whole family visited us in Arizona this past winter and after spending time with the kids we decided to put together a special edition of Sliwa Summer Camp for them.  The key features were going to be flight training for Ethan in the Motorglider, sailing lessons for Brady, and Kiteboarding lessons for both of them.

Saturday, July 9

I take the Diamond from Gorge Aviation Services to Bend, OR to pick up Brady and Ethan.  It is their first flight in small airplane.  Brady was in the back seat and loved the views both down on the ground and up toward the clouds.  I used the opportunity to do a little instruction and  Ethan pretty much served as the autopilot for most of the flight.  The lift was strong and so he did noticeably better than the autopilot (Bendix KAP 140) was able to do.

After we arrived we secured the plane, went to the hangar and made plans for the rest of the day.  We then went to Petco for some supplies for Casper and Pixie, Staples for a journal for Ethan,  and then Safeway for some snacks and treats.

At home we unpacked.  They had fun checking out some balls I gave them for contact juggling (link1, link2).  Brady seemed to have a knack for it right from the start.

We went to lunch at Everybody’s.  Brady had super hot wings (hottest every for him … he said he even felt it up his nostrils) and he also enjoyed the sweet potato fries.  Ethan had bacon, mac, & cheese and just about licked the bowl clean.  🙂

We the proceeded down to the Hood River marina to see where Brady was going to be taking the sailing lessons and then to the Hood River event site so we could see all of the Kiteboarding lessons ongoing.  Brady and Ethan remarked that the kites were a lot bigger than they expected and that they were really looking forward to the lessons.

We came back go the house and Brady practiced his contact juggling and programming his sphere BB-8 droid.  He got what he considered to be his first two real programs to run.

Ethan and I did some ground school.  We reviewed the physics and forces in turns and the philosophy of adjusting speed and spoilers/dive brakes during landing.  We also talked about testing, licenses, and currency.

Brady and Ethan unwound for a bit, did some more droid programming, and horsed around a bit.  We then took Pixie over to my brother Dave’s house to check out his Koi pond.  Brady said he was shocked at their size.   Ethan quizzed Dave about pond health techniques, ones that he might apply to their pond/reservoir.

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up some dessert (e.g., udderly chocolate ice cream) and then waited for Dave and Andrielle (my niece) to join us for a movie.  We chose Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.

Sunday, July 10

We slept in on Sunday morning and did breakfast about 9:00AM.  It included scrambled eggs, bacon, and apple turnover for Ethan and bacon and raspberries for Brady.  We picked up some special order gourmet cupcakes at Safeway on the way to the airport.  They included two with a big B on them for Brady.  This has special significance because we found out in Arizona that Brady likes cupcakes with a “B” on them.

Flying:  We spend time learning to assemble the motorglider and performing preflight.  The winds were quite strong (like 19 knots gusting to 26 knots) so it precluded and easy time taxiing, taking-off, and landing.  The soaring was decent as we climbed to 5,200′ at one point with the engine off.  We used the flight to practice turns and coordination.  We studied cloud patterns and even flew into some rain.

We had a late lunch / early dinner stoping at the Ayudalense Mexican restaurant.  Brady had his chicken fajitas.

That evening Brady picked berries while Ethan and I did ground school on aerodynamics.  I recorded Brady practicing his contact juggling.  The boys watched RIPD while I was working.  We went over to my brother’s house to see the koi pond.  My brother and Andie came over for a movie and ice cream.  We watched Enders Game.

Monday, July 11

We had the standard breakfast prior to beginning our activities.

Sailing – We dropped Brady off at Sailing Camp (link).  He reports that he had a good time but was bother that he got teamed with young Oliver he became quite frightened about capsizing.  Nonetheless, Brady was speeding around and was trying to figure out tacking.

Flying – Winds were stills strong, but there was lift.  We had an extended flight, flew over the Hood River, and worked on flight coordination.

Kiteboarding – Ethan and Brady did a joint lesson with Travis at Cascade Kiteboarding (link).  Unfortunately that meant the kite was a bit small for Ethan and too big for Brady.  In fact, at one point Brady was lifted 6 feet in the air.  He liked it.  Ethan’s experience with kites seemed to help out quite a bit.

We ordered Pizza, did some ground school, and watched the movie “This Means War!”

Nancy came home late.


Tuesday, July 12

Steve played morning pick-up full-court basketball while Brady and Ethan slept in.  Standard breakfast served with some help from Nancy.

Sailing – Nancy took Brady to sailing.  She reports he wasn’t sure it was going to be his thing.  However, he really enjoyed it.  The winds were strong and he zipped around.  This time he had Jake as a partner.  The most fun they had is that they went so fast they sunk the boat (nose dug into a wave) and they also capsized once.  Their claim to fame is that the instructors threw out 5 tennis balls and the team of Brady/Jake recovered 3 of them and the other 12 boats got the other 2.

Flying – We continued to work on turn coordination, but added stalls, slow flight, a few thermal climbs, and practice using the spoilers.  We refueled after the light.

We had left over pizza so we could have time to go to a movie.  Movie at theater: Secret Lives of Pets

Wednesday, July 13

Sailing – Had fun zipping around.  Got to sail into the main river today.  Main events were single-handing the boat, doing a few “death spins”,  and accidentally ramming other boats including one with two cute girls, by accident.

Flying – Ethan totally got how to taxi today and did an excellent job.  He made the first take-off like a pro and did quite well with his coordination up at altitude.  We practice slow flight and flares at altitude as well.  We flew about 9 stop and goes and he had a couple good patterns and did about 90% of 1 landing.  He wasn’t as good with his coordination when flying ground patterns, which is normal.  Several of the landings were dead sticks.

Kiteboarding — Ethan spent the whole time at Wells Island and was working to get up on the board.  It was tricky and he got up a couple of times.  Brady spent most of his time at the Event Site practice flying the kite.  He had fun and got lifted about 2 feet at one point.

Dinner – Was at Crazy Pepper.  Brady had his patented chicken fajitas.  We then went to Mike’s Ice Cream for waffle cones.

Thursday, July 14

Sailing – Brady continued to have fun sailing around.  Only capsized once today, but all boats capsized at least once as well.  Worked on tacking and maneuvering.  Now has two friends.

Flying – Ethan continued to work on assembly, pre-flight, taxi, take-off, air work, landing patterns, and taxing.

Kiteboarding – Ethan got up on the board several times and cruised for 10 or 15 seconds.  He is about to really get the kiteboarding.  He hope his next time he might cross the river.  Brady is doing quite well on flying the kite.

Dinner —  The boys, Nancy, and I met Lisa and Jeremy at Three Rivers Grill (link) for dinner, which is one of our favorite restaurants.  They had driven and are staying at the Columbia Gorge Hotel (link), which is quite a nice spot (waterfall, nice grounds, old fashioned style restaurant, etc.).  We went to Mike’s Ice Cream after dinner for Waffle Cones.

Movie:  Ethan and Brady watched the start of Forbidden Planet starring Robby the Robot.

Friday, Jul 15

Sailing – We dropped off Brady at Sailing Class, but they decided it was too windy.  So they did some ground school, played some games, and did a bit of towing the boats around in the water.  It was too windy to fly as well.

Kiteboarding – Turns out it was too windy for kiteboarding as well.  So those classes were canceled.

WAAM – Jeremy, Brady, and Ethan went to that WAAAM Museum (link) while Lisa and Steve got some work done.

Dinner – We then met at the Columbia Gorge Hotel and had dinner there on Jeremy and Lisa.  During conversation Jeremy (civil engineer) and Lisa (chemical engineer) were surprised to find out from Brady the gods of engineering are actually controls engineers.

Movie – That night Brady and Ethan watched Short Circuit starring Number 5.

Saturday, Jul 16

Hiking – Rendezvoused with Tabitha & Rich Colie and with Dave and Andrielle (Andie) Sliwa at the Starbuck’s to go on a hike.  We departed from Poallie Trailhead and hiked to Tamanawas Falls.  Brady and Ethan transversed the logs and scampered up rocks and cliffs.  Most impressively, they hiked behind the falls itself.

Lunch – We had lunch at Hood River Taqueria (link) on 13th street in the heights of Hood River.  Brady had his favorite fajitas.

Zip-line – We made a plan to rendezvous for zip-lining at Skamania Lodge (link).  We got there at 5:45PM and it lasted until 8:40PM with 7 events.  Unfortunately, one time a woman got stuck and it was delayed a long time getting her to the end.  Nonetheless fun was had by all.  We missed the opportunity to video it, but Lisa got the award for virtual upside down back flip down the track.  Brady went remarkably fast a number of times.  Ethan was smooth performer.  Steve and Jeremy tagged along and tried not to hold things up.

Dinner – Returned to Sliwa home for dinner.  Nancy collected up some foods including several gluten/dairy free for relaxing, but late dinner.   Steve started the movie (Lost in Space) for Brady, but he only made 30 minutes or so before honking out.

Sunday, Jul 17

We rendezvoused at Starbucks again and drove to the airport.  Once there Ethan put the plane together, performed the preflight, and did the initial engine start and warm-up.  Then Steve gave rides to Lisa, Jeremy, and Brady.  Jeremy got a chance to do some flying as there was lift during his flight and his RC skills were evident.  Brady just flat out loved it.  Since he was a little low in the seat Steve performed a couple of wing-over maneuvers to give him a better view of the ground (like up through the canopy).  He loved it.  So Steve did a negative-g maneuver for Brady and he loved that.  He might make a good pilot when he comes of age.

Then while Lisa, Jeremy, and Brady went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in The Dalles (Brady got fajitas for the 4th time) Steve and Ethan took another instruction flight.  Ethan was able to take-off and climb to altitude.  We practice some maneuvers and then Steve demoed the wing-over maneuvers he did for Brady.  Then Brady came in for a pattern and touch-and-go.  After another touch-and-go, Steve tried to demo a cross-wind landing, but the winds died just when he was on final.  Then Ethan did the last landing and taxied to the ramp.  There we got fuel and Steve let Ethan taxi back to the hangar solo.  Steve walked back and the Ethan’s folks and Brady arrived just in time to see him taxi back.

The last event before leaving had Ethan completing the assembly and check-out of the new remote-control towbot.  Steve tried it out on the Ximango (worked well) and then Brady tried it as well.  It should be a big help.

The Grahams departed for Bend after a long but fruitful week of Sliwa Summer Camp.  🙂

The complete SmugMug gallery is shown at this link.  A sampling of the gallery is shown below:

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