Drat and double-drat! No sooner than I had promised not to refer to the weather any more, because it was so boring, along comes a couple of weeks of distinctly non-typical May weather, with high winds and heavy rain. I'll restrict myself to saying that we really appreciated the downpours after so many months of dry conditions. By a happy coincidence, Rich Czarniecki had just installed a rain gutter over the Young Eagles Nest entry-way, in time to catch the last of the heavy showers which previously would have inundated the area.. The amount of water emerging from the downspout was truly impressive – too bad it all had to go to waste.
In addition to Rich's work, the week saw the usual worker-bees busily engaged, Ryan remodeling his instrument panel, Chuck Stiles manufacturing parts in preparation for the move of another T-hangar from Montgomery Field to our ramp. We have plenty of prospective tenants eager to get their airplanes under cover.
This Saturday, being general membership meeting day, as usual, we had a number of “classic” airplanes arriving to have their tax-exempt status verified. Among them were J-3 Cub, Citabria, Navion, and a very nice Twin Comanche belonging to local resident Colin Smith. It's hard to believe this airplane is nearly fifty years old!
The meeting, under the direction of President Joe Russo, started with a brief review from our program chairmen (only two of whom were present); Safety chairman Pete Grootendorst didn't have any safety items to report, and Mark Albert, YE coordinator, gave an update on last week's event, with 13 kids flown. He thanked Joe Gursky for filling in while he (Mark) was on vacation. Speaker for the month was Kathy Felker, a CFI from Palomar, who presented a talk on the GPS system. In addition to describing the way it found a position and altitude via the satellite array, she went on to show how to use the GPS in both VFR and IFR situations. Using the Garmin GPS display, she outlined how it should be used both en route and final approach. It seems as though it's a very complex procedure, compared with the simplicity of the old-fashioned VOR/ILS system, and certainly requires a great deal of study and practice before venturing into a real IFR situation. The amount of data presented is quite overwhelming to an old fuddy-duddy like me, who earned his ticket back in the dark ages.
A rainy start to Saturday meant delay in the flying part of our regular Young Eagles program, however master of ceremonies Joe Gursky (in the absence of Mark Albert) , to fill in the waiting time, gave a professional orientation lecture to the assembled young folks; although up to fifteen Army/Navy Academy students had been anticipated, only six showed up, however, nine “civilians” arrived, with their parents, to make up the numbers. Ed Watson, as usual, demonstrated the features of a typical airplane (in the form of the Serendipity Flyers Cessna 170), and afterwards entertained the group with stories from his Air Force and civilian background.
Meanwhile, Vince Flynn and Pete Groootendorst prepared their respective airplanes for the flying portion of the program, soon to be joined by a new YE pilot volunteer from Palomar Airport – Matthew Jerjencic (and you thought Czarniecki was difficult to pronounce!) in his Cessna 172. Later, when the clouds lifted somewhat, Ron Shipley arrived in his Aircoupe, to complete the pilot group. So, with a small number of YE's, and plenty of pilots, and with weather improving, the flying was quickly taken care of. Matthew flew some extra flights, so that his “back-seaters” could all have some stick time – very generous of him. He also gave his YE's some good grounding in how an airplane flies – the importance of CG location and its effects on handling, for instance. Maybe we can persuade him to give a presentation on the topic to aspiring pilots on a future YE's day.
First, a correction and an apology: a usually reliable source tells me that I completely botched up my story about Clint Martin (not Markham) and Rudy Davila and their two Variezes – not a shared one as I had implied. Sorry about this, you guys, but as I told my informant, what I don't know for sure, I just make up. Anyhow, I believe there will be an article with the true facts in the next edition of the Chapter newsletter.
Having missed my reporting task for last weekend while my wife and I were enjoying the fleshpots of Kansas City and Omaha, I returned in time to take part in the (delayed) monthly breakfast fly-out, this time to Torrance, a busy general aviation airport under the Los Angeles Class B airspace; consequently, all the pilots took advantage of the flight following system, to avoid embarrassing intrusions into controlled airspace and unexpected encounters with other aircraft. Works very well. Some of us took an off-shore route, others went inland, everyone arriving in good order. In spite of DOOF's order for “wheels up” at 8:00 am, as usual, the first departure was delayed by consumption of coffee and donuts until around 9:15 with last arrivals at TOA at 10:45. DOOF ( on his portable bicycle) led us to the nearby restaurant, where, although we were a little late for breakfast, they served an excellent selection of sandwiches and other light fare. Five airplanes made the trip: Rich (DOOF) Czarniecki with Francisco Munoz, Mark Albert with Chris Puntis, Joe Russo with Kevin Roche, and Jim Wright and me solo. Weather perfect all the way.