Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Critter's Lodge Fly-In 2013

Well, the weather didn't look good. It was storming when I got up Friday morning. I drove to the hangar watching massive cloud-to-ground lightening bolts striking all around me. I got to the hangar minutes before it started raining so hard on the tin roof I couldn't hear anything else! Still, on radar it looked as if it it would pass. Vic had called Wendell to make sure the event was still on and it was. Wendell said the runway would be fine.

I loaded the plane and watched as the storms passed. They were headed East, which is the same direction I was heading, so I waited a couple of hours before launching.

I fired up the plane and headed for runway 35. I was soon in the air, turning right crosswind and departing the pattern to the East. It was a little hazy, but smooth.

I made a quick stop for fuel in Cameron, then jumped back in the plane. I noticed the wind was picking up a little and straight from the East. It wasn't enough to worry me, but it was great for Critter's. Their runway is 06-24.

I was listening on 122.9 and soon heard a plane call Critter's Lodge. He was trying to find it and soon annouced he was on left base, then final. Then he said he wasn't on final, he was looking at the wrong red barn! A Helio was flying with him and said he would stay back and let the Cessna get in. Soon they were both on the ground. About 30 minutes later I arrived. I was coming directly from the West, so I was looking right down the runway. I entered on upwind and crossed mid-field. Wendell cleared me to land and soon I was back-taxiing. He told me to pick any spot on the left side of the runway. Soon I was setting up the tent and getting ready to settle in.

My friend Kevin arrived soon after in a Wichhawk and Bo was soon there in his 140. It wouldn't be long before we had three campsites filled with friends. Dave Jose showed up in his 140, Travis in his Luscombe 8A, Pete in his Kitfox, Ric in his Dakota, Vic White in his 140 and Ed Cooper in his 140.

We had a great time, with great food, beer, friends, etc! If you're around me at a fly-in long enough you'll probably hear me say, "There's no place I'd rather be." This is the truth. When sitting under the stars drinking beer and solving the world's problems (wish we could remember the solutions in the morning!), there really is no better place to be. I've become close with these guys and I'm truly at peace at these events.

Friday evening storms came. The smart guys ran for their tents. Me, Bo, Travis and Ed ran for cover under my wing. We got to drink quite a bit longer before we had to go in! There was one terrible act of violence though... it was not good for the Cessna reputation. Travis is a Luscombe pilot, and Bo's Cessna wing attacked him. It was brutal. Travis was walking back from a restroom trip when Bo's wing popped him right in the nose! Not nice at all. Travis was knocked down and his nose bled through the night. He doesn't hold a grudge though!

It rained very hard for a few hours, with a lot of thunder and lightening, but it was kind of fun riding out the storm in a tent. When it quit I stepped out to find a sky full of stars. What a night.

The next morning would be beautiful, as was the rest of the day.

A huge thank you to Wendell. This guy is amazing. He was so generous and all of the people helping him were so nice. The ladies cooking the great meals for us were the sweetest! I can't wait until next year. We need an even bigger turnout.

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Jack "Under the Stars" Fleetwood

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