Well, March certainly came in like a lion, rain and wind on Saturday after a wild and wet Friday, leaving up-ended parts of our yet-to-be-assembled donated T-hangar, although miraculously without damage to three aiplanes parked on our ramp without benefit of tie-downs. How they didn't blow away no one will ever know. Something to be taken care of before the next storm.
In spite of the conditions, intrepid pilots Joe Pribilo (Luscombe) and Jerry Boughner (Bonanza) made their flights to Brown Field; other than that, aviation activity was at a minimum, possibly because of the 10-15 knot direct crosswind. Fortunately Jerry arrived safely, transporting the ingredients for lunch (he is in charge for the month), to serve a small turn-out of 25 or so members with a warm meal of beans and franks, with salad and corn.
Major activity for the week was the initial work on the frame for the replacement hangar for my ancient wooden monstrosity; Ryan and Bob Soderquist worked furiously on the metal cutting and welding, so that by Saturday the ceiling trusses, sides and back frames were completed and ready for assembly after rust-proof painting (which will be my small contribution). If all goes as planned, the metal hangar will be erected surrounding my wooden one, (it's two feet larger) and on completion, the existing one will be pulled out and mercifully destroyed. So, my airplane will never be exposed to the elements. After a few weeks of absence looking after his ailing wife, Chuck Stiles, master hangar designer, showed up to advise on the construction, particularly with reference to the door, for which he recommends a bi-fold arrangement similar to those on adjacent hangars.
While this work was going on in Hangar 3, John Knolla pulled out the Cassutt which he contemplates buying, and between showers made a thorough inspection of the wing interior, which had shown signs of having been repaired at some time in its life. No word yet on the results. If it looks suspect, John plans on installing a replacement wing if he can find one.
Meanwhile, bad news from the County: the Board of Supervisors has approved the ordinace requiring flight schools and instructors to verify the security investigation of any foreign student taking flight instruction, a duplication of what's already being done by the FAA and Transportation Security Agency. Bureaucracy at work again.
Until next time, fly safe!
The highlight of this Saturday was the mass fly-out by Chapter 14 members, sponsored by DOOF Rich Czarniecki (I know how to spell that now without looking it up); the destination was Hemet, for a typical high calorie breakfast at Bambi's cafe, where the food and service is the best. Leaving from Brown Field were Rich in his immaculate Grumman Traveler, Joe Russo in his somewhat less perfect Traveler, Mark Albert in the Cessna 170, Ryan in the Glasair, Chris in his Sonex, Gary Adalian in his Acrosport and your reporter in his RV-3. Other Chapter members from elsewhere were three Buckers from Gillespie and early arrival Joe Pribilo in his Luscombe. Quite a turnout! Including passengers, around 15 made the trip on a perfect flying day. Arriving at Hemet, we found that it was apparently RV benefit day there, with numerous versions of the RV series (including an RV-12) in attendance. Fortunately they were about to depart for their various home bases, leaving a few tables open for our group. Other than the RV's, there were a number of interesting airplanes there, including a Thatcher CX-4, the first one we had seen. (Thatcher is a four letter word in the UK, in some quarters). A neat airplane, it was agreed. A couple of DC-3's were apparently being restored; I wonder what the plan for these veterans is?
Returning to Brown Field, we caught the remaining 25 or so members finishing up the lunch providedby Pete Couchman – who knew that a Canadian would know how to fix chili con carne? Apparently a successful effort – thanks, Pete. Unfortunately we fly-out members were already stuffed with an excess of breakfast, however we expect to deal with the left-overs in the week to come. Looking forward to that.
Arriving at our facility for lunch were a couple of “old time” airplanes and - both in exceptional condition. They were a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser in its original factory paint scheme, and a Bellanca Cruisemaster, a rarely seen type these days. The last of the tri-tails, I'm told. Good to see these classics still flying.
Some local flying saw Devin Acklin in his retractible rocket Long-EZ and Bob Johnson giving demo rides in the Champ to two visitors from Oregon.
Earlier in the week, Ron Shipley turned up to install safety wires to our flourescent lights to prevent accidental departure from their fixtures – a recommended practice. Ryan chopped off one end of the old Thundergull hangar (the airplane has been sold, along with the engine). This will provide more space for opening his bi-fold hangar door. The future of the remainder of the hangar is to be determined. He also outlined the plan for replacing my ugly wooden hangar with a more presentable sheet-metal version, similar to the others more recently constructed.