Mar 31, 2008 "It's Not Winter Here"
Better late than never.
Yes, I do occasionally have to work, and yes, it
does occasionally cut into my fun flying. Such was the case at Pine
Island. After slaving over hot throttles for three days (in a row!), I
got to visit briefly with family in Naples then finally make it to the Pine Island Fly-In.
55 pilots or so enjoyed beautiful weather for the four day event with
stragglers remaining (including me) as I write this Monday morning.
Others showed up just to kibitz without flying. More pictures to come,
especially since I'm flying again this morning.
Thanks to airport owner Wayne for having us and Paul for putting on
the event. What a great host. He comes with a beautiful wife and
supporter, Jenny, too.
The Saturday night meal that I missed was, apparently, quite the
ordeal. Hungry masses gathered for goat, chicken and other goodies.
Neighbor/farmer and all-around interesting character Chris provided the
goat and helped with preparation.
In contrast to my New Year's visit, the weather was perfect. Sunny,
warm, and not too windy. The other cool thing is that, by flying only a
few miles in any direction, you get to water and its perfectly smooth.
On one cross country, just after crossing the shoreline, it got smooth
and Paul keyed his mic. "OK, now that's smoothed out, will the flight
attendant please bring me some coffee."
I got nearly the full island experience after crossing small bits of
water for dry (or nearly dry) little spits of land. It was great
exploring other islands and seeing all the wildlife. On Sunday, I poured
over two tankfuls through my Blackhawk, whose 172 has been a reliable
trooper since we replaced the carburetor at Eric's place. The exhaust
has been a pain but it seems like I may have that licked, too. You'd
never know a belt sander could be so versatile. More on in Chapter 12
Do those preflights! Just before launching on another long flight I
took a #5 allen to check my exhaust bolts and figured I'd check the prop
bolts, too. Good thing--they were all loose. Three of them were sticking
out a good inch and the others were loose. I'm extremely lucky not to
have lost the prop on my previous flight. Yes, the over water. Did I
mention the sharks?
Aquatic wildlife obviously thrives in this area and, given the
crystal clear water, we have an incredible vantage point. I saw two
Manatees, one dolphin, many stingrays, and three mammoth, hungry sharks.
OK, mammoth may be relative. Upon our return, Paul said they were
probably about 7 feet long. That surprised me, I half expected to see a
conning tower on those things. It doesn't matter, though, seven feet of
muscled flesh driving a sharp-toothed jaw is still nothing I want to
mess with. In water I become the bottom of the food chain.
The flights were gorgeous and we flew all day Sunday. Others, who
were there for the entire event, flew both mornings and evenings on most
of the days, too. It was a great time.
Since I arrived on Sunday, these
pictures don't do justice to the crowd that showed up. But we sure had a
great time. Paul took me on an Island tour that included doing touch and
goes on a 5 square yard sand bar.