Playing Follow the Leader
A windy weekend put a cramp in my tailwheel training, but luckily I was able to swerve, squeel, and screech in another hour before I had to give both Brian and the poor Stearman a rest.
Fortunately for both of us, a little bit of wind is no problem for Brian. So, Sunday morning we jumped out of bed bright and early to take to the skies where we followed Matthew and Amy Sawhill's "Green Lantern" in the Red Baron. Together, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Mason City airport with a few of our friends from North Field.
The weather looks like it's going to be another perfect weekend for flying. We're considering stopping through the Sioux Falls airshow one day this weekend as well as one of the fly-in breakfasts in the area. Regardless of where we'll end up, I guarantee we'll be in the air!
Brian congratulating Dan for his Stearman solo
It turned into another beautiful break from the office this weekend with nice weather, friends, and plenty of excitement. For starters, Dan Sokolowski soled in his & Diane's new Stearman. After getting plenty of grease under his & Brian's fingernails (which Brian said is a sign of a Stearman pilot) from repacking the tailwheel bearings on Sunday, he flew it home to Crete NE. Hopefully in the next couple weekends, Diane will be able to wrestle the stick from Dan long enough to get checked out in their new plane, too.
The dirty side of Stearmans
While that is plenty of good news, it was a bountiful weekend. Matthew and Amy Sawhill are the new owners of an RV-4 project. With airplane parts overflowing their basement and garage now, I'm sure they will work long hours this winter in time to have their new plane flying in 2010. I imagine Matthew will log plenty of hours and will have no problem keeping his newly acquired instrument rating current in their new plane.
4 SuperCubs, 1 RV7, 1 L4, 1 150 = Beautiful
To celebrate, a few friends gathered at the hangar Saturday for a BBQ. Sunday was just as fun of day with many friends enjoying a casual Sunday drive/flight and stopping by the hangar for a visit. Going back to work on Monday isn't much fun, but at least we're heading back with many new memories... and oil stains.
Sam Graves Hangar
This weekend was awesome. We started off the morning bright and early in the 450 Stearman on a direct route to Tarkio, Missouri, where Congressman Sam Graves hosted an exhilirating airshow and uber-cool townhall.
It took us a little longer than expected to get to K57 due to being blocked by a wall of fog, where we landed briefly at Clarinda until the ceiling lifted, but fortunately we didn't miss a thing. After breaking through to K57, we parked next to a Stinson tri-motor and enjoyed a walking tour of a variety of vintage airplanes that would do Blakesburg proud. Everything from Mustangs to Cubs, from TBMs to Cessnas, and even a Super Stearman (600+ HP)... which made us shiver in awe at how that would compare to the Stearmans we know and love. Although, I'd have to admit that the highlight of our walking tour wasn't an airplane. It was a WW2 vet who had flown everything from Stearmans and T6s to B25s in the war. His stories brought tears to the eyes of both of us.
The announcer on the loud speaker interrupted our tour, and we headed over to Sam's new hangar where he hosted a town hall of - get this - the leaders of every major aviation acronym in the U.S. (Poberezny-EAA, Fuller-AOPA, Brown-CAF, Bolen-NBAA, Bunce-GAMA) and even a fellow Iowa aviator - U.S. Rep Leonard Boswell. Having all that experience and clout in one hangar was pretty darn impressive. And, when they each spoke - I realized that they earned their titles... they are very impressive men.
Moving along to the airshow, Sam must really have some good connections because the military rained an awesome display of firepower, including the B2 Stealth Bomber (yeah, it's OK to be jealous!). There were also several other acts, making the airshow a total aerial experience that attracted the locals in droves - of whom I was very impressed as I didn't have to once run toward anyone to exclaim "please don't climb on the fabric airplane!"
Another personal highlight of the day was when Mike Vallero (Greg's son) won the P-51 ride raffle drawing (now I'm jealous!). I think it's safe to say that next year Sam can count on us to attend his annual shindig.
After all that excitement, we climbed back into the Red Baron and headed over to Nash Field for a potluck, which of course we forgot to bring anything. Lucky for us, that crowd is as generous as they are fun to hang around, and we left very content in both our stomachs and spirits.
As if ALL that wasn't enough, we wrapped up a perfect day sharing a beer (or two) with Matthew Sawhill back at the Ames airport while pretending to be professional photographers on his Cessna 140. Whew!
Our plane next to the petite Tarkio tower
It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's the B2 Stealth Bomber!
The bugs were big!
Leaving Nash Field after giving them a quick aerial 'thanks'
Annabelle (a bird dog) loves Pratt & Whitney
The Fourth of July may have been soggy, but the weekend was still a winner. The weather cleared off in time to watch the Ames fireworks from the perfect view-point. And, our friends, Dan and Diane Sokolowski, drove up for the weekend to build some time in their gorgeous, new Navy Stearman (check the TaleDragger page for a picture). Good friends, a new plane, and hours of flying... in a nutshell, it was a perfect weekend.
Several party-goers watching Red Baron rides
On Saturday, we - along with the Branding Iron in Nevada - co-hosted a BBQ Hangar Party for Boomer (aka Brandon Zimmerman) and Kathy Dubanksy and 20 of their friends. Boomer and Kathy were the winning bidders of the first BBQ Hangar Party at this year's Taste of Ames auction to benefit the Special Olympics.
After a windy day, the evening turned into perfect weather, where a few party-goers took a ride in the new Red Baron Stearman. And, everyone enjoyed the unbelievably tasty pulled pork buffet, courtesy of the Branding Iron. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. num num...