Barely recovered from this month’s regular Young Eagles event, our team of volunteer pilots and ground crew were once again called upon to deal with a large group of Navy Midshipman cadets for the culmination of their week’s intensive aviation training program. Unlike our typical Young Eagles, who are generally unfamiliar with aviation, these young men and women were far along in their knowledge, studying for the private pilot exam; they each had copies of the necessary text-books with them, exactly as their civilian equivalents preparing for the test would have used. It had been requested that each cadet would receive some “stick time”, however as it turned out, this was not a good week for that, as many of our regular pilots were absent, either at Oshkosh or on summer trips elsewhere. We had Jonathon Robbins (Luscombe), Ron Shipley (Aiecoupe), Ryan (Glasair) – all single passenger, Pete Grootendorst (Traveler) and Duane Shockey (Cessna 170). Not many seats to give “stick time” to all, so we had to compromise with some cadets sitting in the back seats. Even so, with over thirty cadets to fly, it was going to take some time, which it did. Duane Shockey was the hero of the day, flying three at a time for six flights – and no lunch! He finished up at about 3:15. Not far behind was Ron Shipley, who also flew six times, one cadet at a time in his two-seater; of course, they were the lucky ones to enjoy “stick time”. A marathon effort on both their parts. And a “thank you” to all the other participating pilots for donating their time and gas.
While the others flew, most of the remaining cadets were heads down on their books in hangar 1, cramming, I suppose for their up-coming test. I don’t know where they go from here in the program – perhaps to flight training for eventual Navy service. Others had fun with the flight simulators.
Naturally, with this unexpectedly large crowd of diners, lunch was a bit of a zoo; we had to dig in to some of our emergency supplies to keep everyone happy. Bob Johnson, Jerry Boughner and Bob Osborne managed to stay on top of everything – good job, guys. One advantage of the large crowd of cadets was that we had plenty of help for the clean-up after lunch – albeit somewhat inexperienced.
While we were busy with the cadets, Joe Russo and his helpers were enjoying the 85-90 degree weather by laying down concrete in the Fly-Baby hangar; it’s surprising how little coverage you get from concrete one bag at a time. So far, it looks good, and a vast improvement over the dirt floor. Lots of bags to go, however.
I didn’t get to see many of the fly-in airplanes, although I did notice a lone Bucker parked on the ramp – where were all his buddies this weekend? Also a nice Cessna 120 and a very clean J-3. I think many of our regular attendees were at Oshkosh.
Until next time, keep the clean side up!
What a transformation! When I left Brown Field on Tuesday, the hangars surrounding Hangar 3 were still a motley collection of bare corrugated iron, bits and pieces of various colors from previously dismantled hangars, plus a very few in decent shape. On arriving on Thursday, what did I find – all these hangars painted in a lovely shade of DMV beige! I could hardly pick mine out from the others. On Wednesday, Ryan and Chuck Stiles had spent an exhausting day, power-washing and masking off all the hangars, preparatory to applying the paint; how all this was done in one day I can’t imagine. The end result was a vast improvement over the previous appearance. A great job!
Although I had some difficulty in identifying my own hangar, it seems there is a plan to attach numbers to all the hangars – great idea, long overdue. I’ll write my number down on a piece of paper to avoid future confusion.
Also in the week Chuck Stiles completed the installation of the six high-tech LED security lights around Hangar 3 – where does this guy get all his energy?
Not a great deal of activity in the week, however Saturday certainly made up for that, with a very busy Young Eagles day; Mark Albert, YE coordinator, recently returned from a vacation in the UK, had anticipated a goodly number of kids to attend, but the final numbers were many more than he had expected – thirty-four regular Eagles, plus four adults who requested flights. So, with parents and plenty of “rug rats” (too young to fly) underfoot, there was no shortage of commotion around Hangar 1 and the Eagles Nest. With so many kids, it was decided to break the numbers into two groups, one at the safety briefing, alternating with the second receiving education on airplane features from Ed Watson. Mark and Ellie Kok-Vermeulan conducted the briefing, which covered not only safety, but also the story of how the YE program started, and its objectives and benefits.