The Endless Foot Drag, Grass PPG
May 23, 2008 Ft. Smith, Arkansas fly-in May 232-25, 2008 |
Getting Here |
2008 May 23, Fri 22:45 It was obvious in the
Walmart parking lot there was no hurry--I wouldn't be flying anytime
soon. So i bought my stuff and headed towards the field.
When you come around the corner and see this place, it's surprising.
There look to be miles of the prettiest sod you could even want to set
sole to. The you drive up on it and realize there's more. It's amazing.
We've got sod on both sides--you can launch from either side with no
It's like old home week all over. There are a large number of people
here and it's great to see everyone. I've also seen a some new equipment
that I've not seen before including the weight shift Miniplane. Looking
forward to trying some of it.
There was nobody flying as I pulled in but it turns out a bunch did
fly this morning real early in a smooth breeze. Of all the flying there
was only one broken machine that I know of. A pilot fell over sideways
and broke a quarter panel. No big deal in the greater scheme of things.
The wind was steady enough to kite up the Enterprise. That's always
fun. This time I tried pushing off, flying up then landing back on the
top. It worked several times.
Paul Lundquist, whose been doing free-flight towing for years, hand
towed me for a while. At one point a gust came through so strong it
pulled me nearly straight overhead and he had to let go. The resultant backwards landing gave me a good run and grass slide.
Later on a bunch of engaged in kite wars. What a hoot! That was more
fun than the flying and Pat Sullivan turned out to be an animal. Besides
being good, he has incredible endurance. He may still be out there for
all I know.
The wind let up, in our minds anyway, enough to go flying for the
last 30 minutes of daylight. It wasn't much, but it was enough.
Thanks to Britton for putting this on. His field is amazing and my
hat's off to the landowner who lets us use. Life a just that much better
as a result.
Row One: 1) "Cowboy" has his ear
cleaned by "Chicken," a that behaves well beyond its brain size. 2)
Check and Dawn pretend acting as if they like each other. 3) Kiting wars
were epic. Pat Sullivan and I go at it in what became a photo finish. He
was the kiting endurance champion, though. Don't mess with Pat.
Row Two: 1) Chatting and Kiting.
Row Three: 1-3) Kiting. 4) The Miniplane with weight shift. I shouldn't
have flown this machine. It cost me big time—I bought it.
Row Four: 1) That's a lot of laminations! Tennessee props has more
layers than Tennessee has double letters. 2) The universal language of
flight that's used when flight isn't possible. 3) The strobe to end all
strobes keep this vintage Fly Products unit visible to the mars rovers.
4) Pat cacooned Ivan in a nylon but Ivan managed to "keep it up."
2008 May 26 Mon 07:31
Now that I have a good internet connection...
On my way home now after what turned out to be one of my favorite
gatherings. Endless foot drag describes it well but there was so much
a group of us went to the mountains for soaring. Even while parawaiting
on conditions to cooperate, it was a beautiful place to be. The valley
and mountains in the distant made a great backdrop for talking with a
lot of fascinating people. Flying people rock.
The group that populates that soaring site is a great example of
cooperation and fun. The hang glider guys and paraglider guys
(jellyfish) tease each other but get along quite well. The banter itself
was fun. Some hang glider guys built the site and Britton encourages
respect of the fact. As it should be.
A quick summary since I'm on the road. The weather was far from great
but allowed flying every day, morning and evening, for those willing to
take on the sometimes blasting wind. Several periods, including Sunday
morning and evening, were magical.
I don't know what the registration will show but I'll bet there were
well over 100 people and probably 80 pilots although not all flew.
It became obvious why this is a PPG only event. The location is an
ginormous sod farm—you almost need a full tank to cover the whole thing.
But that grass represents income to its owner and wheel impressions
render it un-harvestable. As it was he accepted the likely loss of grass
on both sides of the road. What a place to fly, though. We could launch
and land right at our vehicles on either side, without restrictions.
To the sod farm owner: THANK YOU! Humans like you make this planet a
far more enjoyable rock to play on.
Check and Britton did instructor/ratings clinics and I believe there
were 4 new instructors USPPA certified.
The event was probably bigger than what Britton had in mind. I'm told
there were well over double the number of pilots as last year.
Apparently, word got out. I'm glad I could make it and thanks to Britton
and others who helped make it a rousing good time.