Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ahhhh, flying is best in the fall of the year

I’m just crazy about leaves changing color, the first crisp temperatures after summer, wood smoke from chimneys (yeah, I know, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens). Pardon me for getting all sappy on you but I love the fall of the year, and especially flying in haze-free skies when you can see clear from here to there.

Fly-ins are fun in the fall. Normally I’m all over them but with my travel schedule this year I had to attend through the eyes of friends. Here, with all his comments and a few notes from me in blue, is my friend, Stan’s, outing to Camden SC and the Vintage Aircraft Association fly-in, held on October 6-9, 2011.

This fly-in was put on by the VAA 3 (Vintage Aircraft Association) in Camden, SC. We had beautiful weather except for some gusty winds out of the east on our return trip home. When we left on Friday, we were in a hurry to get there due to the lack of sunlight left. We took off at 1400 and had until about 1900 before we would turn into a pumpkin. Light Sport rules do not allow us to fly at night, which is what I currently fly under with no medical. So our direct flight route to our first refueling spot (Shelby, NC) took us right over Mt Mitchell, NC which normally I/we avoid due to the dangerous turbulence. On Friday the winds were very calm, we were at 7500' clearing the ridge by 900', so we flew direct to Shelby which took 1.6 hours and 6 gallons of fuel. We refueled quickly, in 20 minutes we were back in the air and flew another 1.6 hours to Camden, SC arriving with an hour to spare and set our campsite up and eat barbecue prior to darkness.

Fall in the TN mountains prior to crossing into NC Crossing Mt. Mitchell Shelby's new terminal

[left to right, above: Fall in the Mountains crossing from TN to NC; Crossing Mount Mitchell, highest point in NC and also highest point east of the Mississippi; The new terminal at Shelby NC]

One side note, I entered the USAF 30 years ago on this day October 7, 1981. So I have completed my 10 years of inactive reserve and no longer can be least under the current rules. We'd be in pretty bad shape if the government needed me anyhow.

Sunset at Woodward Airport

[Sunset at Woodward Field]

Sunrise in the campgroundCub sunrise Dawn Patrol Flyby-1

[Pictures above: Sunrise in the campground; Dawn Patrol Fly-by.]

Woodward Field at Camden SC trained a lot of American and British pilots during the years 1941-1944. Bob Morgan, aircraft commander of the Memphis Belle did his primary training here. For more information on the Southern Aviation School, go to:

Ed's Flying Bee L-5 Pilot's telling stories Snoopy's Ercoupe Stearman

Airplane pictures! Gotta put in some airplane pictures! Run your cursor over the pictures to get a description or click to enlarge:

They were really impressed with how much we packed in the little J3 Cub. We got the Best of Show award for that reason I believe and that we attended the banquet and flew the farthest, another award. Saturday is when all the other airplanes came in for the day. We had 2 Champs, a Taylorcraft, a Citabria, and a Cessna camp out with us the first night.

Waiting for my date Where we had the VAA 3 Banquet Best of Show

[Kathy waiting for her date and Stan (also called Griz) in front of the historical society building – the old Kershaw County courthouse - where the VAA banquet was held. They won Best in Show!]

Packed and ready to return

[Packed and ready to go!]

It was cool in the morning and the next night we were the only ones left camping. Did not really realize how cold it was until we left. After starting and taxing to the run-up area I was surprised to see the oil temperature only slightly above 60F, we want it normally above 90F for run up and takeoff. So it must have been cold, but we didn't notice it as we slept warm. It really doesn't get my attention until I see frost or ice.

The flight back we were rewarded with a tailwind component seeing 80 knots avg. on the ground-speed. When I turned to divert over Gaffney, SC to show Kathy the Peach Water Tower off of I-85 we saw over 93 knots on the ground-speed. We then landed in some gusty winds at our friends airport (29NC) for lunch. After recovering from a really bad headache we took off downhill with a tailwind (yuck) and flew over to Shelby for fuel for the last time.

Horsetrack north of the Camden Airport The Peach at Gaffney, SCOld railroad bridge in SC

Approaching 29NC Cubs waiting for their pilots Saying goodbye to Jerry

[Horse track just north of Woodward Field – there are a lot of horsey things at Camden; The Peach at Gaffney SC – a landmark on I-85; an old railroad bridge in SC. This is what Cubs are best at: Sightseeing. Jerry’s home strip at 29N; Cubs waiting for pilots and So Long ‘til next time.]

We then flew over to Hendersonville, NC and had about an hour to look at their museum there (Very Nice, plan on coming back). Looking at buying a new motorcycle there also, if I get it it will be a radical one, only drawback is I may look big on it. I'm still shrinking with age so maybe I'll grow into it. LOL

Kathy's new VAA jacket we won as a door prize Inside the NC Museum Just 2 kids having too much fun

[Kathy showing off her new jacket – a VAA door prize – at Hendersonville NC; Inside the WNC Air Museum; and a couple of kids just having fun!]


Here’s a shameless plug for the Museum – Come on in!

As always we were pushing sunset and had a bouncy takeoff from the grass strip there and gusty winds again which didn't go away until we got to 6500'. We had a little time left so I showed Kathy a landing on the grass field in Chucky, TN before landing back at our home airport. Nothing is easy, even after a long day, another crosswind landing. Kathy thinks all my landings are nice, but she doesn't realize how much I have to work back there to keep it straight and right side up.

Griz & Cubby

God's artwork

Stan titles this one “God’s Artwork” – a fitting end to a wonderful trip.

Thanks, Griz.