Goodbye Mighty Mo

Normally, I post my stories to the USENET newsgroup rec.aviation.homebuilt. However, I subscribe to a mailing list called "The Sea Room," dedicated to talking about life at sea in the early 19th century.

Anyway, this was posted to The Sea Room, so it's writen more for the non-aviator than the true Fly Baby fan....

Bigapple48 wrote:

On Sunday morning I had the opportunity to see USS Missouri going to sea. I was on a boat in the Swiftsure Race, returning from rounding a Canadian navy vessel anchored offshore on the Swiftsure Bank. We were experiencing some lousy weather (rain and about 25 kts., gusting 35 kts. out of the SW ) with very confused seas, about 5 miles north of Cape Flattery, when we saw the battleship emerge from the murk. She was a few miles north of us, and it was hard to see the tug. One could imagine that she was under her own power. It was exciting, you bet.
I, too, said my farewell to the Mighty Mo this weekend. In my case, it was from the cockpit of Moonraker, my open-cockpit homebuilt airplane. ( for a photo of the plane, at least)

The paper had given the approximate timing of the Mo's last voyage. I decided to meet her just after she entered Puget Sound proper. So about 4:00 last Saturday, I donned helmet, goggles, and scarf (one MUST do these things properly, y'know), fired up Moonraker's mighty Continental, and launched. I skirted under the Seattle-Tacoma Class B Airspace then turned north over Vashon Island.

As I neared the channel, I looked for the Missouri. There was a dim shadow under tow at about the right spot, but it looked too small. As I got closer, I saw it was headed the wrong way, as well. I glanced across the land towards the harbor at Bremerton, but I was low enough that much of the view was obscured.

I got to the right spot...nothing but a barge towing south. The channel itself was clear. I decided to climb a few hundred feet to get a good view of the harbor.

The nearby terrain dropped out of my line of sight to reveal a huge gray silhouette in Bremerton Harbor.

That is one HUGE ship.

I flew toward the harbor. Lots of air traffic crossing overhead, lots of helicopters down low. The water littered with tiny white specks of boats, to either side of the Mighty Mo. Tugs were fore and aft, and a little roily wake stretched out behind the battleship.

I really didn't feel comfortable with too much sightseeing... too much air traffic. But I crossed over her a couple of times. I could imagine the Continental turning into a thundering Pratt and Whitney as my yellow airplane suddenly grew dark Hellcat blue. A glance over the wing to see the Missouri fully manned, guns tracking the friendly overhead. Do those incoming Cessnas have rising suns on their wings? Break right and climb!

A quick wing-waggle to the watchers below, and I head for home...

Ron Wanttaja

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