Family Affair

2015-11-03 Flanders Field

Tim & I live on an airport with immense amounts of aviation coolness around. The last few days have been particularly memorable starting with having a well known aviation enthusiast, Steve Alcorn, show up in a Piper Cub.

He was here to see my new neighbor Andy who was gone which turned out to be fortuitous for me.

"You wanna go up?" Steve asked.

Steve Alcorn really enjoying Florida's warmth in a J-2 Piper Cub

Minutes later he was talking me through takeoff, basic handling, a stall series, and landing. Every airplane has it's quarks and we do well to listen, learn and treat it with respect. The Cub may be easy to fly but, as the saying goes, it'll just kill you slowly. What a blast, though, flying around with the door open like that. Of course I'm REALLY used to flying around in the open given that the hang glider trike is little more than a flying lawn chair and the paramotor isn't even that.

Tim is taking a full flying lesson in one of these Friday, weather permitting, after I get a tailwheel "re-acquaintance."

This evening was another slice of flying life.

First, Tim tells me "hey, there's a taildragger in the yard." Sure enough, we go out and see this gorgeously restored Aeronca Champ. Turns out it belongs to Jill of Jill & Rob Locke. Rob makes a living flying Stearman rides at Fantasy of Flight, Winter Haven, and at various air shows around the country. What's even more interesting is that the Stearman he's flying was a restoration done by him and his father, a fact that he's rightfully quite proud of. Jill and Rob did the restoration of the Champ. Cool couple. But there's more.

Steve Korta hand propping Jill's Champ. Tim and Debra are at left watching. There is no electrical system in many of these airplanes so this is the only way to start them. A few milliseconds later it was purring nicely. This is why I don't get so bent out of shape about hand propping paramotors. After all, these are coming after you if they go to power.
Steve has his own classic, a 1946 Fairchild, that he and his wife, Debra, fly from here.


Jill and Rob taxiing out together, Rob's dad's house is in the background.

Bob Locke, Rob's dad, lives here. He's a long time aviation buff with many interesting stories to tell and a penchant for building. I've always said that "welders own the world" since they can build just about anything and welding is one of Bob's forte's. Gas welding is his specialty, the method that was used when these airplanes were being built originally. Below I snapped some pictures as he works on the gear for his latest project. I hope to be this capable at 70+ years old!

Getting the right flame for Acetylene welding.


Working on the Command Aire's landing gear. I marvel at how much work it takes to do even seemingly simple operations. Doing it right requires patience!


Bob still flies his beautiful Command Aire creation as he works to restore another one.



2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!