Sun ‘N Fun 2010 Wednesday!

It was another windy start on Wednesday and it never really let up, gusting to 28 mph from 070.  It sure put a damper on arriving Champs, Chiefs, Luscombes … well, you get the idea – any of the low & slow varieties hardly had a chance of making it in on Wednesday.  I haven’t heard any official numbers but attendance had to be on the light side. The Entry Gate – just to make you feel like you’re here! You really can do Sun ‘N Fun in two good days since it just doesn’t cover as much ground as Oshkosh.  Of course, planes are coming and going all the time so the adventure is seeing who’s there now that wasn’t there yesterday. Pete and Jeanne Reed’s green & cream Stearman is first in this Stearman  line up (thanks for identifying the owners, Susan) We carried our brand spanking new, light weight, folding camp stools and parked ourselves by the flight line just watching the amazing assortment of planes landing and taking off.  We should have had big numbers to hold up and score how they did fighting the wind! Rides in a New Standard bi-plane on aux grass strip As you might guess, RV’s were conspicuously in abundance. RV8 in the company of many more RVs! I found this Mullicoupe parked in the IAC area. I had to jump in this picture of the Mullicoupe, a Jim Younkin & Bud Dake design Here’s something you never see – a Callair or this sign!  This one was on the cover of Flying Magazine in 1950! Callair 4 place – yes it really does say “Please Touch”! The west end of 090 aux grass was the perfect spot to hang out and watch. S2C forward slipping on short final to the grass! I was so happy to finally meet aviation writer, Sparky Barnes Sargent, who I just happened to bump into in Vintage Aircraft. And what a great backdrop for my picture with Sparky Barnes Sargent – Jack Hill’s gorgeous Waco! This may be my last post from Lakeland – I seem to have come down with a bad cold or maybe the flu… just going to wait till tomorrow and see how it goes.  Glad I got to be here, either way!...

Sun ‘N Fun 2010 Blog, Opening day, Tuesday!

It was a great opening day at Sun ‘N Fun, Lakeland, Florida, although I’m sure the strong winds presented some problems for lighter aircraft.  Since we landed at Kissimmee yesterday and drove over today, I didn’t check the official weather today but can tell you the winds were awful.  Probably gusting to 22 – 25 mph which may not be too much for a tricycle gear aircraft or the warbirds but for most of the vintage taildraggers it’s just too much.  Winds aside, we’re finally here and having a great time.  Here are a few pics of our first big day! So walking through the gate we ran into our friends Dean & Scott. Dean & Scott Spencer with Dean’s  new LSA Aero Trek  Light Sport Aircraft Great place to meet friends… Welcome to the Vintage Aircraft Club I loved meeting this little lady and hope to get to know her better! Kate Macario with her Cessna 195 Should I tell you about the DIRTY feet you get walking endlessly around Sun ‘N Fun?! (lucky for you, no picture!) BT13 starting the row of T6s Interesting, fun people everywhere you look. Happy group of guys with Piper PA18 Super Cub with tundra tires And all kinds of exhibits and airplanes you can check out up close and personal. Here I am drooling over a Cub Crafters on floats! And if you’re from anywhere but Florida, you’ll love wondering around the grounds taking in views like these. A glimpse of what you see from LSA display to flight line! Sad shot of the airshow opening ceremony….. A not too great shot of the airshow kick-off! If you happen to love Aeroncas like I do, then join the Fearless Aeronca Aviators list…. Three of the guys from the Fearless Aeronca Aviators List having a great time! These guys landed in horrific winds at Lakeland and managed to taxi and tie them down with no problems.  They tell me 4 other aircraft, none of which were taildraggers, weren’t quite so lucky landing at Sun ‘N Fun. Here’s a better shot of the 3 Aeroncas And I’m learning that all the good ones aren’t necessarily taildraggers!! Judy with the Comanche guys, Dave Maddox & Wayne McCullough...

Donna Guerin  (Alabama)

Donna Guerin (Alabama)

Donna Guerin is based at her home and has a 2200′ grass strip in her front yard.  It’s about 10 nm from Huntsville, Alabama’s Moontown Airport (3M5). I got my Private in May of 2007 after flying right seat for 6 months with my husband – no reason for him to have all the fun!  Since then I have gotten high performance and tailwheel endorsements.   Bought my little jewel (a 1940 J5A) in Sept of 2008 and have logged over 100 hours in her.   We have a 2,200′ grass strip in our front yard.  Talk about blessed!  I really enjoy flying the Cub and get her out as often as the weather allows. We just finished restoration of another 1940 J5A that was given to my husband by his Dad before he passed in 2004.  It is the red and  white J5 in the picture....

August 13, 14 & 15 2010 Lady Taildraggers Summer Fly-in

1st Ever Lady Taildraggers Fly-in Friday, Sat. & Sun. August 13, 14 & 15, 2010 Rain Date following weekend Moraine Airpark (I73), Dayton, Ohio Ladies Love Taildraggers’ Judy Birchler and Susan Theodorelos, Waco owner and lady taildragger, are happy to announce the first ever Lady Taildraggers fly-in!  Mark your calendars… schedule some vacation time……  gather your friends……. and head for Ohio this summer. For all the details click here: Fly-in Info Fly-in location “Moraine Airpark”, Dayton, OH Susan has VERY generously volunteered to host the gathering  and says, ” We have a biiiiiig hangar on the west end of the field with lots of green grass out in front of our hangar that we can all tie down right opposite the hangar. We’ve got a BIG party grill for BBQ’ing — we can fly-out to breakfast at any number of close locales for breakfast on Saturday.” Camping on field If there is any interest at all — I can make arrangements for us to fly up to the Waco Museum in Troy for lunch or something like that if it strikes anyone’s fancy — or heck, we can just sit around under wings and catch up on the summer!!  We had 9 airplanes in our hangar one weekend — plus there are a few extra hangars not being used at the moment, so we would have some room if a t-storm should pop up along the way. There are plenty of hotels nearby — or if you like — bring your tent and pitch it alongside your baby. We have a bathroom in our hangar (no shower, unfortunately — I’m certainly going to have to remedy THAT!) but we can make arrangements for that. Fly in to Moraine Airpark!! For anyone that would like a rental car, we can make arrangements with a local car rental place to have cars on the field when you arrive. So let us know what you think! If you plan on attending … post a comment here and we can all figure out some details. You can also visit our FORUM and click on “Let’s Have a Fly-in!!!” where everyone can chat about the big event.  Susan has already warned all the “guys” at the airport – THEY will be in charge of cooking the food while WE fly!! We all can do a little of this – just like Susan in her Waco!! We certainly know there are lots of people living a long way away that won’t be able to make it — but hey — gather the ladies where you are — Susan says she has enough geeky computer friends she can even set up a web cam or something! from Judy…. and from Susan… …….plan now to attend the Ladies Love Taildraggers Fly-in!!...

Best Friends, Janice & Andrea’s First Solos (Kansas)

Actually, these cute little girls aren’t our “1st Solo – Best Friends” (Janice & Andrea) but I get the feeling they sure could have been! Best friends and 16 years old when they each soloed several years ago, Janice Griggs and Andrea Hattan-Stang of Goddard, Kansas had the good fortune to learn to fly in the Griggs family’s 1937 Aeronca “K”.  Janice’s father, Jerry Griggs, instructed both girls, soloing his daughter one day and her friend, Andrea the next. Janice is now 21 and in Oregon studying aquarium sciences.  Her shirttail still hangs on her wall while she is away at college.  Andrea comes from a family of pilots and has about 50 hours.  Her brother is a pilot, her dad a pilot, her mom a pilot (in a Luscombe), her granddad a pilot and her grandmother a pilot.  Her new husband is a crew chief on Army helicopters and Andrea would like to finish her rating when he returns from Iraq while he learns to fly too. Jerry Griggs’ “K”, registration NC18869, was converted from the original 36 HP 2 cylinder Aeronca E-113 engine to a 65 HP Lycoming O-145 in 1970. Kansas – Texas, it doesn’t matter – aviation really is a very small world.  Jerry Griggs, from Kansas, who owns this ’37 Aeronca, located his aviation mentor, Lori Adams, from Texas, on this website.  He started in aviation working for Lori Adams in 1967 at her flight school in Texas and is who he credits with inspiring his love of aviation.  See Lori Adams – Texas ! Here is a future lady tailwheel pilot, Jerry’s granddaughter and Janice’s niece.  She is now five years old and perhaps in eleven more years she can solo his 1937 Aeronca.  By the way, her name is Jazelle Aeronica Morris and Jerry swears he had NOTHING to do with naming that baby.  She is the daughter of his oldest daughter who helped him varnish the wing’s woodwork prior to covering in 1985.  The misspelling of Aeronca = Aeronica is intentional to make it sound more feminine.  Her sister is Joslyn Piper Morris.  He had NOTHING to do with naming her either!...

Final Approach – Alaska Style

Final Approach, Alaska Style! This picture was sent by Alaskan Tern tailwheel pilot, Vickie Domke, with this note, “Here’s a pix of our grass strip”. One look at this picture and I had to send her a note back, “Vickie – you’ve got to be kidding me – is that really your runway I’m looking at between the trees??  Holy Cow – you don’t see any like that in Indiana!” Then Vickie’s reply, “Gosh, Judy, you make me feel like I am a Real Pilot.  The runway is 1000’ long with another maybe 300’ over-run.  The end of the over-run is a cut-bank down into the river.  The Tern easily lands in half of the runway.  I have to watch for moose, woodchucks and porcupines as well as wind changes during final.  It is a relatively nice runway only 14 minutes from home, our cabin is off to the left side out of sight.” Well, what else can I say?  “Yes – you bet you’re a REAL pilot, Vickie”. For Vickie’s Profile visit: https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/vickie-domke-alaska/...

The Infamous Ground Loop!

While airport hopping yesterday, Boyd and I struck up a conversation with a really nice guy flying a Cessna 180.  He said he’s been flying over 50 years, many of them in the 180, and in all that time had never been involved in any kind of incident or accident – until the day before!  He wasn’t the pilot and was just flying along with an old friend in his taildragger when things got a little “ugly” on takeoff.  A lax takeoff quickly got out of hand and resulted in a pretty messy ground loop.  Anyway, his story was a good reminder to me that no matter how long you’ve been flying, you can’t get too comfortable or too relaxed when you’re in a taildragger. So what exactly is a ground loop?  If you are flying a taildragger, no doubt you know and, hopefully, are focused on every landing to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.  If you are considering flying a taildragger, you NEED  to know; a ground loop, simply put, is when the front end of your airplane switches places with the back end. T-6/SNJ in a ground loop During take-off, and especially during landing, taildraggers are directionally unstable – stability is the function of the pilot.  Any swerving movement on the ground has the tendency to tighten and, if not corrected by the pilot, can result in a ground loop. In a crosswind, a taildragger will tend to weather-vane into the wind increasing the possibility of a ground loop.  This must be counteracted by the pilot by keeping the tail firmly planted on the ground, applying the appropriate amount of opposite rudder and keeping the wing that is into the wind down. This video is stuffed full of actual video shots of taildraggers experiencing ground loops.  It also shows some unbelievably uncontrolled tricycle aircraft moments before touching down and how miraculously forgiving a tricycle gear aircraft can be.  And lastly, it offers some basic and necessary simple instruction on how to land a tailwheel aircraft correctly. These few paragraphs from Dodgen Aircraft Training are a reminder to even seasoned tailwheel pilots and a must read for student and low time tailwheel pilots: The ground loop is probably the most feared occurrence that pilots think can happen in a tailwheel aircraft. It is also what most frequently causes damage to tailwheel aircraft. A ground loop is something that need never happen in a tailwheel pilot’s career as long as they understand the limitations of their aircraft, their ability based on their piloting experience, and how to properly avoid letting the aircraft get into this condition. The ground loop is when the tail of the aircraft loses directional stability and rotates about the horizontal axis of the aircraft. This leads the tail to want to spin around the nose of the aircraft as it is disturbed from a straight line. When this happens, the momentum will carry aircraft partway or potentially all the way around until the tail of the aircraft is headed in the direction that the aircraft nose was originally aimed if no correction is made. In many cases, the momentum will cause a wing to dip and may cause a wing strike on the outside of the ground loop, leading to a cart wheeling effect in which the other wing will be caused to strike as well. As the ground-loop happens, directional control is lost and the aircraft will frequently travel off the runway surface and be subjected to the potential hazards that exist off the runway such as lights, ditches, or unimproved surfaces. There can be no doubt that this can cause damage that may range from minor to very severe and is something that no pilot would choose to do. To avoid ground looping an aircraft the pilot will need to be able to maintain proper rudder control at all times, even through what most tricycle gear pilots will consider a moderate or slow taxi. Tailwheel aircraft have the ability to ground loop to some extent at virtually any speed of travel above stopped, the speed simply controls how much momentum will be available when the aircraft ground loops. This momentum will determine how far or bad the ground loop will become if it is encountered. It is for this reason that the pilot should taxi slowly, perform landings that will allow for appropriate stopping and get themselves to a controllable taxi speed as soon as possible when landing....

To Misty – From Dennis

The Happy Little Champ was chomping at the bit to get up and do some sunny, blue sky, late afternoon flying today so we gave in and took her for a spin.  Well, not the spin part – at least not today.  You just never know what you’re going to see up there.  Today it was this very hopeful message…..for Misty! We’re rooting for you Dennis!...

Gail Schipper  (Colorado)

Gail Schipper (Colorado)

Gail Schipper flies a Bucker Jungmann and is based at Longmont, Colorado (KLMO).  She writes, “There seems to be a terrible gap in your pilot map. WHAT! Not one in Colorado? I’m here to help you with that deficit.” I wanted to fly since I was a kid and my uncle took my dad flying–my sister and I got to tag along in the back seat of the C182. It was the 1970s and everything was about space flight. My uncle flew some parabolas so we could experience zero gs. It was fabulous. I tried to get my license in high school but became convinced that I both couldn’t afford it and that I wasn’t gifted enough to figure out how to control an airplane. I had no female pilot role models and just couldn’t see that there was a place for me in that world. After graduate school I met a woman who was just about to get her license and thought I should give it another try. At the party given for her completion of her private license I met a glider instructor, who later became my husband. I got my power license the day before our wedding, a wedding conducted in two Mooneys flying formation over NYC. We have owned a 7AC Champ, two C170s and are now proud owners of a Bücker Jungmann. I fly some basic aerobatics and have competed in two local competitions–one of which I somehow won in the Primary category. The next goals are to continue working on Sportsmann-level aerobatic figures and begin to learn to do some sky-writing–just for fun. Smoke on! ——————————————————– Gail also sent us a few of her videos! Here’s a link to my latest video. My husband and I do lots of videos for fun. This one is from last weekend’s flights in honor of the 100th anniversary of women pilots: Here’s a quick cutie taking my friend Natalie around the patch to “Where are the simple joys of maidenhood” from Camelot: The summer I first learned to fly upside down was highly documented by my long-suffering husband.  This one is rather long but if you hang in until the end you get to hear me swear:...

Hella Comat  (Canada)

Hella Comat (Canada)

“Hello, my friend Lorrie Penner sent me your website, suggesting maybe you might want some international members.  I fly a Pitts Special at Waterloo-Wellington Airport (Identifier YKF)  in Ontario, Canada.” I bought my 1984 Pitts Special S1T in 2005 from her previous owner in Florida.  Waterloo Wellington Airport in Ontario is a great airport as we have an aerobatic box right over the runways, on the opposite side of the circuit. The controllers are amazing as they juggle air cadets, student pilots, IFR traffic, a helicopter school, and the airlines, as well as aerobatics! My instructor is Gerry Younger, a many time Canadian National Aerobatic Champion and an incredible teacher. In the past two years, I’ve started flying aerobatic competitions again, competing at the Intermediate level. It’s an awesome sport and I’ve met so many wonderful people; pretty well all of them are taildragger pilots! I’ve joined an new International Aerobatic Club chapter based in Buffalo. We are having our first contest June 4 – 6 in Olean, NY. I just love flying the Pitts, and am always amazed when I land it successfully! Even practicing circuits is an adrenalin rush. In the past 2 summers, I’ve flown it as far as Union City, Tennessee, Farmville, Virginia and Salem, Illinois. There’s only a 20 gallon gas tank so a 4.5 hour trip gets broken up into 3 legs. But that’s a good thing, because even though it’s fast with the 200 hp AEIO 360 and a constant speed prop, it’s pretty uncomfortable and drafty, and requires you to keep your hands on the stick at all times – no relaxing or map refolding. But I’m definitely not complaining. I love my Pitts! Photos and permission provided by Hella Comat....

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