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Copyright 2014
Jeff Goin



Parents, Pine & Gunshots

2015-01-01 Heading home from a great time when this happened.

I woke up to gunshots. But first, the backstory.


A 5-day Enterprise trip started off with Naples, FL for a visit with family. It's always good to see Mom & Dad and I count myself lucky to not only have them, but to have them "all there." We talked for hours in the space of a couple days, solved many world problems, learned a bit more from each other and generally enjoyed life. I'm lucky to have these opportunities.

Next up was Paul Czarnecki's Christmas/New Year's Fly In.

Pine Island @ PlanetPPG

Wow is this place improved! Tons of debris has been vanquished making it much neater and increasing accommodation space. Paul, Donny, and company have spent LOTS of time here and it shows.

My first day was educational for me. There are some things I do with people I know that should not be done around people I don't. In this case, it was inflating behind someone who was laid out just in front of me with the intent to power up just enough to walk around them, kiting, then launch. If the wing comes up crooked, I abort, which I did. It's a fun challenge but the person in front of wasn't familiar with it, had never seen it, and thought I was just going to run over his wing. Not surprisingly, he was upset. Fair enough. After having words with the pilot I realized that no, that was not appropriate. Later on we talked, I apologized and we had a good time afterwards. File that away. Don't "do a Dell." Lesson learned.

It was flyable every day but the best weather came and went before I got there. This was the first time I was there for the banquet which was held at a nearby restaurant. Good food, great people, and a great time.

Evenings were topped off by long chats around the fire, lots of food and chatting about nearly everything under the stars.

The place is gorgeous, has few trees, fewer ant hills and more space to land. There are still humps on the south third or so but one thing at a time. It has enormous potential to be a really cool place for all kinds of aviation.

I met and talked with Paul's partner in the airport, Jerry, and what a gem he is. Same with his wife. We have friends there and I really hope the airport succeeds in the way they envision. It's already dramatically improved. I'm looking forward to flying the Bonanza down there. They're talking about paving it but, even now it would be fine.

As you would expect, it's bumpy down low with wind over about 8 mph but it takes about 10 mph to make me not want to fly low.

A higher operational pace makes following noise and pattern rules more important. This is their home. I even got yelled at for flying low across the runway. Although I looked before crossing, it's not the procedure and, with such varied air traffic it's necessary to follow the procedures, especially during events.

On Wed (12/31) it was windy enough to keep most pilots on the ground. It wasn't dangerous, it just wasn't as much fun and most pilots had their fill. A lot of kiting and kibitzing was had that day.

Torque Testing

One pilot was adjusting his Spider, a South African machine based on Parajet's Zenith. The pilot was having issues with Torque and had made some fixes, namely straightening out a swing-arm. I offered to try it out and took it up for a quickie.

Overall the frame and harness was reasonably comfortable but it did have a good bit of torque twisting during launch. It was made worse by me having to do a right on launch. At altitude I went to full throttle and nearly twisted around.

After landing a bunch of us brainstormed ideas on how to improve the situation and came up with the solution: pivot the engine counter-clockwise on the frame so as to move the thrust line. The pivoting wasn't my idea but it should work nicely. It was the strangest thing -- this engine was mounted with only TWO bolts. The pilot had reinforced it on his own but it came with only two bolts to hold the Simonini on.

It's easy to dismiss a machine but I've found that frequently these sorts of problems can be fixed with minimal effort. It's a pain in the process and must be done carefully, but the results can be beneficial. Test flying is best done with some wind in smooth conditions. That way, if it doesn't feel right, an abort is easy. No wind launches on twisty machines can leave a pilot with no out -- you're moving so fast that an abort means a fall.

Dinner, Movie, and Moving On

Given that the weather wasn't supposed to be that great on Jan 1 I figured I would head home to bring in the new year with Tim. It was a 2.5 hour drive so I should make it home in time. After watching Tim Gaskin's Bloopers 2, having some of Paul & Donna's delicious dinner, I said my farewells and headed out. Given that it was only 8:40pm, I should be home in plenty of time.

I headed north. About 40 minutes into my drive I got sleepy and stopped for a short nap. I can commonly get 10 minutes of shut-eye and press on nicely. So I pulled into a Walmart and went back to lay down. That's a beautiful thing about motorhome travel: home is never more than a few feet away.

Off to sleep. Now it gets interesting.


So there I was, sleeping. Soundly. After the first couple gun shots I realized I was in the Enterprise. After a couple more, sleep fog cleared and I remembered this was a Walmart parking lot; I did not want to remain here so I put my rehearsed plan into action.

The plan is simple: get the gun, keep it out of view, take the drivers seat, start up and get moving, preferably towards the nearest exit.

After about 20 yards or so it dawned on me that it was midnight on new year's eve. New year's eve. You know, with fireworks? Yup, those weren't gun shots, they were fire crackers. Oh brother. I guess it wasn't a 10 minute nap, either!

It also meant there would be no getting home before midnight.

Oh well, at least I was wide awake for driving.


What a great trip. What great people. Here's looking forward to the next event!

1. Mom has crammed an entire workshop into this condo-closet.

2. The three of us just before dinner at a restaurant on the Gulf coast. Nice place. Naples, FL.



1. The morning of the first day (for me) started off foggy but, when it cleared, the scenery was "wow."

2. Plenty of room for RV's AND flying things.

3. The Spiderworx paramotor that we were brainstorming.

Remember, If there's air there, it should be flown in!