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
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
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.