Originally published June 1997
Rosamond Skypark was a-hoppin' on 17 May 1997, just like we said it would be. One Fly-In participant knew nothing about it beforehand--he had been at the Kern County Library in Rosamond and noticed that there was far more activity over at the Skypark than he'd seen in a long time. He came over to see what was going on and stayed for the party!
Of course, the Fly-In itself started long before 17 May. Ron Applegate was the primary coordinator who ramrodded the whole effort. He was ably assisted by Chapter 1000's own mistress of the culinary arts Glenna Wagner who planned the most important part of the Fly-In: the food! Doug Triplat coordinated Chapter 49's participation by planning the Pancake Breakfast.
The field was wonderfully prepared by the new FBO owner Olaf Landsgaard who generously donated use of the former Aronson's hangar. Numerous folks showed up promptly at 1600 the night before to assist with the setup, including Quentin Toyloy and Terry Pierce.
Meanwhile, in North Edwards, Charlie Wagner, Glenna Wagner, Bill Grahn, Mike Pelletier, and Russ Erb prepared yet another Chapter 1000 project for its first flight. Norm Howell, our chapter Flight Advisor, was not consulted, since a) he was in France on a TPS boondoggle at the time, and b) the objective of this test was to ensure that the project did NOT get off the ground. The project in question was our new Chapter 1000 Booth, whose construction was detailed in the last newsletter. The pieces-parts of the booth were loaded onto a purpose-built A-frame transportation and storage structure which had been loaded in the back of Charlie's pickup. It looked as though it should have a political campaign ad written on the side.
Russ drove on ahead to the Skypark to raise the flag pole such that Old Glory could hang limp in the dead calm of the next day (great weather for flying, not all that great for flag flapping). The flag pole was constructed of parts Russ had recently purchased for the purpose of erecting a fence in his back yard.
Charlie set out for the first non-flight of the booth, successfully transporting it to the Skypark. Mike Pelletier flew safety chase and submitted a detailed report on the flying qualities of the booth. By the time the booth arrived, most of the other set-up was complete, so many of the Chapter 49 members present were ooh-ing and aah-ing as the booth was removed from the truck and quickly assembled. What they beheld was the most Over-Designed, Over-Engineered, and Best Booth in all of EAA (We wouldn't have it any other way--look at it closely at the next Fly-In and see the great job Charlie Wagner did designing it.)
On Saturday morning the first of the crew arrived at 0700 for the final preparations. The Spot Landing Contest line was carefully laid out by stretching white duct tape across the runway. Dave Burdette led the team judging the contest. The Project Police reviewed the scoring and watched the videotape evidence over and over (especially the funny parts) and finally agreed on the winner. However, due to the tangled morass that is the Project Police hierarchy and a bureaucratic SNAFU, the results of the contest are still CLASSIFIED, to be released at an appropriate future date.
The morning started out with aircraft arriving from everywhere, including Hanford, Camarillo, Redlands, Sierra Skypark, Tehachapi, and more. Members from EAA Chapter 376 (Fresno, CA) were seen flaunting their chapter T-shirts and taunting the Project Police to inspect their aircraft. (We did--they were deemed at least airworthy and suitable for the Project Police to be seen in. If they'd offered us rides we probably would have been forced to admit that they were quite excellent, but they didn't, so we don't have to...) No Chapter 1 members were seen, since apparently their idea of a Poker Run only involves airports with overlapping patterns. That's okay, Jan--we'll still be back to raid your place next year. Doug Triplat of Chapter 49 was the parking meister, cruising the ramp with his way-cool headset and radio.
I tried to break away from the Young Eagles Flight Rally to get some breakfast from Chapter 49, but the line was stretched clear across the apron. It must have been good, but you'll have to read their newsletter to find out. Also helping on the ground with the Young Eagles were Dave McAllister, Chris Barrett, Michelle Holtzman, and Patricia Liefeld. We flew 49 of the planned 25 Young Eagles, and got all of the paperwork done in spite of a major meltdown in the printing system caused by not properly FCF'ing the computer after a change of operating system. 49 Young Eagles--a coincidence? Maybe, but a lot less work than flying 1000! Read the Young Eagles report for more info.
The whole atmosphere was a wonderful blend of confusion and excitement, with too much going on to be able to take it all in. Joyce Mills and Don Alderson led some wonderful formation fly-bys of T-34s. A lesson in contrast was seen as Lyle Trusty screamed over the runway on a high-speed pass in his T-18, followed by an ultralight going so slow it looked like it should fall out of the air. The local 99s even squeezed in a meeting during the Fly-In.
Shortly before 1100 the grill arrived and Chris Barrett did his antithesis of Frankenstein's monster impression (Umm...Fire Good!!!) Soon Chris and Ron Applegate were cooking up a storm of Polish Sausages, Project Police Burgers, and some wonderful Tri-Tip. Chuck Firth was able to make it to the Fly-In and stood next to the grill with spatula in hand giving Chris pointers on how to cook. Of course, Chris wisely ignored him, and Chuck almost had us convinced he was doing something. Ron had planned for 116 meals, and after the smoke cleared the Tri-Tip had disappeared like dry ice in an autoclave, the Polish Sausages were gone, and maybe 12 burgers were left. Because of the perfect planning, the post-Fly-In leftover cookout was canceled.
Flying continued into the afternoon. Scott Liefeld twisted my arm into taking an open-cockpit ride in his Pietenpol (it didn't take much twisting). Jon Sharp showed up with Steve Erickson in Steve's biplane. They would have flown the Storch but they couldn't leave until Saturday morning and wanted to get there before everything was over. (Steve showed the Storch at last month's Chapter 49 meeting. This ain't no replica, folks--it's the real thing. My first impression--that thing is HUGE! I thought a Bearhawk would be big...and the Storch only seats two!)
About 1330 we'd had about all the fun we could stand in one day, and the area was rapidly and methodically dismantled and cleaned up. What a great party! If you were there and I missed your name--sorry about that. Come to the June meeting and publicly dis me in front of everyone. It wouldn't be the first time.
Mark your calendars for next May--we'll be having the Seventh Annual Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In!
Contents of The Leading Edge and these web pages are the viewpoints of the authors. No claim is made and no liability is assumed, expressed or implied as to the technical accuracy or safety of the material presented. The viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of Chapter 1000 or the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Revised -- 20 December 1997