Part 1- The Trip DownPart 2- FAST ClinicPart 3- The Fly-InPart 4- Leeward and Northward
We had a great experience at Sun 'N Fun, but now it was time to head for home,
IF the weather would let us through.
Our first stop north was at the Leeward Air Ranch, a community built around their own private airport. Each home is dwarfed by the hangar that sits next to it. Folks were holding lawn parties to watch all of the warbirds fly in for a special lunch gathering.
The P-51 Geraldine was one of the many guests to arrive. Totally I'm guessing there were over 40 warbirds at the event.
Geraldine kicks up dust and dead grass on the parched landing field. In the background a CJ-5 taxies past an SNJ owned by Bill Norris, a resident of the Air Ranch.
A Grumman Goose rolls in, passing a house with its own conning tower.
Gatherings like this one are great for the camaraderie they instill, but also for the access to the field and the other planes. Huge air shows have their charms, but I'll go for
the small fly-ins anytime.
Dave Schmitz, Bruce Olson, and Leo Kurtz gathered around Bruce's cockpit GPS to look at the weather before we headed out for the Florida Panhandle.
The huge line of storms that were battering folks from Mississippi to Maine caused us much consternation, and we decided to put down in beautiful Destin, Florida for the night, and see what the morning might bring.
Heading due west past Pensacola and almost to Mobile, we finally caught site of our nemesis and slipped under the dragon's tail, into clear weather on the other side. It was to be clear sailing from here on out for the most part.
We flew on past the Ozarks and into southern Iowa as a beautiful sunset gave us a great show in the light haze of this fine Spring day.
Heading for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the darkness revealed something I had never seen before-- the white-hot fire light of the exhaust stack of a T-6.
The next morning we had some work to do, or I should say the three who knew what they were doing had some work to do. Ignorance of aviation mechanics has its upside! Dave's engine was leaking oil and they had to make sure it wasn't something serious.
After the engine was completely cleaned, Dave fired it up, and Bruce watched with a keen eye for any signs of serious trouble. Fortunately none was observed, but we took precautions and tailed Dave back to his home base of Spooner, Wisconsin.
Dave's wife Ellen kindly snapped a picture of our crew, happy to be home, but also happy to have shared this remarkable trip together.
Finally back where she started, Bruce and I gave his plane a good cleaning before closing the hangar door on a great aeroadventure.
Part 1- The Trip DownPart 2- FAST ClinicPart 3- The Fly-InPart 4- Leeward and Northward