Nov 18, by Jeff Goin
Somewhere out over western Kansas angry air swirled around a low
pressure area spewing thunderstorms southwestward. I'd just finished
flying the Boeing around this mess—an easy task 38,000, but not at 0
feet. Tim and I would face it in the Enterprise with now way out. Making
matters worse was was that our target was parallel to the rather wide
line of torment. It was shaping up to be a non-flying trip.
No matter, I'm always one to make the best of things and there are
some gorgeous areas down here. Winter's late arrival meant that fall
colors were getting to full splendor. On Thursday we made it to
Chattanooga, TN. Abbreviated because I can never remember how many
letters are doubled in that state. Kind of like mmiissiiissiisppppi. Who
came up with these spellings anyway?
The mountains here are beautiful, especially with the colored green.
Not quite the same grandeur as as out west, but striking in their own
way. Wish I could have flown it. Alas, the rain kept falling so we opted
for other activities, including a run to Lookout Mountain.
Visiting the war memorial was sad. Amidst inspiring beauty were all
these monuments to fallen soldiers on both sides of various
revolutionary and civil war battles. I can imagine these people who
probably would have enjoyed each other's company, killing each other
instead. In war, it's mostly survival at that level. I'm fortunate to
have entered time and space with such relative peace and the ability to
pursue my passion. If only the rest of the planet were so lucky. Most
are, of course, but that's a whole other article.
It rained on and off that first day but I got a lot of work done on
various projects and we put the northern winter further to our rear.
Tim is a trooper, manning the helm for most of our miles. He's smooth
on the controls and good at energy management—planning for minimum
brakes and maximum mileage. You know, if you're coming to a traffic
light, coast for god's sake. He's spoiling me now—when I ride with
others I find myself letting off an imaginary gas pedal.
Boy did I get a lot done. A major project is underway and this was
needed. Maybe it was better the weather didn't cooperate so much.
I tried to get together with a couple Bad Apples, helo rescue pilot
Brewster and airline fixer John Coulter. Unfortunately schedules didn't
allow that, either, so talking on the phone was as close as I got. Bruce
is quite the character. He was one of the first pilots I met in this
sport and helped show me a good time.
Southern hospitality was has, though, as we met up with Atlanta's
southern PPG guard, Brad and Chip. Brad used the words "sod farm" and
"launch site" in the same sentence. Oooh, that sounded tasty. Plus, Chip
thought he could scrounge up an aluminum welder for a redrive repair.
Boy did he--we went a shop where Mr. weld wielded his magic wand with
obvious skill. Blazing and grinding with a well-rehearsed precision, he
first built up then drilled through and ground down the cracked mount.
It's probably now better than new.
These guys were true gentlemen. Chip has been flying for some time
and new pilot Brad is apparently a natural. Problem is, the wind was
blowing 20 to 25 mph so we ventured to the nearby airport where chip has
worked out an arrangement. I'm an optimist and put my motor in the back
of Brad's truck.
The motor made a nice place to hang my wing bag on. That's all it
would do. My rule is that if I cannot kite while basically
staying in one place, it's too windy. Well let me tell you, there was no
staying in one place—horizontally or vertically. It was fun, however, to
try for extra airtime. It wasn't hard to succeed
We knew this was a skiing mission while walking out to the field. I
love playing in strong and this session didn't let us down as the pics
Row One: 1,2) Cotton. As you'd expect, there's lots
of cotton down. Interesting stuff—I can see why they make clothing out
of it. Stretch a piece out then twist and it's incredibly strong. 3)
Color aplenty from atop Lookout Mountain. 4, 5) Gusty is like a box of
chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get but we got plenty of
lifted. Kiting shots by Brad Powell. 6) Tim enjoying our flight
replacement activity at Rock City.
Row Two: 1,2) Tim at the helm. Some of the Enterprise
views including were worth the trip. 3) You can see why this real estate
was so important in war.
Row Three: 1-3) This fellow and his welder were well
acquainted. He made quick work of this cracked Top 80 redrive mount. 4)
Jeff, Chip and Brad at the Wales Welding. 3) Tim standing near one of
the cannons presumably used during the civil war.
The Enterprise is now ensconced at it's winter home #1, Orlando, FL.
After a month or two it will head down to Ft. Meyers. I'm looking
forward to visiting numerous haunts including one soarable ridge. Pilots
have opened up some new places and I'll enjoy joining them.
Before putting my motor away I figured I should at least run her to
lube to excercise the works and spread some oil around. She started
after 3 pulls and purred nicely. I'm sure that was in expectation of
flying instead of being placed back inside. Sorry dear, next time.