Postcards from Pittsburgh - July 2001

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Wings Over Pittsburgh 2001

The "Second Annual Wings Over Pittsburgh Air Show" was held on a gloriously sunny day at the Air Reserve base adjacent to Pittsburgh International Airport. Many aircraft, ancient and modern, were on static display and we also enjoyed a flying display that ended with ninety paratroopers being dropped by nine transport aircraft. It's not often you get to see a sight like that over a busy international airport!
6 July 2001

The highlight of the show was the first ever opportunity for the public to take close-up photographs of the new Mark II Super-Stealth fighter. Here it is in full cloaking mode.

Cleveland, Ohio

A very brief visit to Cleveland gave me a chance to view some of the architecture in the town centre.

Cleveland's transit system is an odd mixture of heavy rail and light rail, which share common tracks through the city centre. This requires platforms with high sections for the trains and low sections for the trams. The light rail vehicles run mostly on old tram tracks, with some new construction in the flats district and along the waterfront to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
12 July 2001

Beaver Classic Car Cruise

I went to the small town of Beaver Falls, PA to see their classic car cruise, and found acres of shining paintwork and polished chrome as beautiful vehicles lined the main street. Here's just a small selection.
14 July 2001

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

This was the nineteenth year of this annual charity event. As one of the volunteers, I helped to provide essential radio communications between race control and the safety staff located round the track. This meant I got a very close view of the action, but I was too busy to take many photographs. The whole weekend ran very smoothly with no serious accidents, although it was painful to watch a 1935 car with an original front end hit the wall four times before stopping opposite my position. The driver climbed out un-injured and explained that his throttle jammed just before the curve. No pictures of this I'm afraid as I was busy calling for a warning flag at the preceding curve, arranging a tow, and helping clear up the spilled oil before the next race.
21 and 22 July 2001

Industry of the Ohio River
No, not a geography textbook, just a local flight along the Ohio west and north of Pittsburgh to view the industrial scenery.
27 July 2001

Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit

I took a trip across the state line to Morgantown, West Virginia to investigate this intriguing transit system which I had first spotted while flying over the town last year. The tiny unmanned electric vehicles with rubber tyres have eight seats and shuttle between the town centre and various parts of the University of West Virginia campus. There are umpteen loops and bypass "tracks" at each station to allow vehicles to serve demand dynamically (You press a button to indicate your destination when you enter the platform) but unfortunately I was there during the summer quiet period and a simple end to end service was operating.
Fans of the Simpsons will remember an episode in which a shyster sells the town a totally inappropriate monorail system - I can't help wondering if this falls in the same category! On the other hand, it is cheap, clean, efficient, unaffected by traffic jams and my longest wait was less than five minutes.
31 July 2001

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