#324 & #325 … Dick’s Soccer Fields

The View was Great

( Pilot’s eye View )
Mike Bennett said he would be at Dick’s at 6:30… I arrived and unloaded at 5:30 so I could launch before the sun. It was 57 degrees and the wind was steady from the SSW at 5mph.

I set up and launched with only one issue. …….

Last week Mike Savino commented on my Facebook ….Check Lists …Check Lists… Check Lists… Well…. Today, the little thing I missed was the trimmers. I’d left them open after kiting in high wind on Wed. The buggy got up fairly quickly but the climb was terrible. I closed them and did a couple of laps for altitude. The plan was to traverse the new neighborhoods high and then descend to 150 feet and circle the old tower at Stapleton. If all went well I would get a trophy shot of my shadow on the tower, unfortunately there were three or four police cars spotlighting an apartment building directly between me and the tower. I could probably have pulled it off because I doubt they could have heard the 4 stroke from 1000 feet but…No good would come from getting their attention, so I decided to abort on the side of discretion and save it for another day. On the way back after crossing the highway I explored the southern field from 150 feet. Lots of trees but plenty of room to work with.
When I got back over the field Mike was setting up and Paul Dillon pulled in shortly after I landed. By the time I went up for the second flight Paul M., Dan K. and a couple of new guys were there. Shortly after Paul launched a Gov. type showed up looking for a fight. Apparently we had crossed into the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. I don’t think any of us was ever more than 600 feet inside the fence but from his perspective it could have looked like we were much deeper into his turf. After pleading ignorance, begging forgiveness and promising to brief the “new guys”, he cooled down and and left.

( Photo Mike Bennett )

I set up on the entrance road to avoid the low clinging weeds and launched behind Dan and had a great flight.

( Photo Mike Bennett )
It was good to see so many of the Denver Flock in one place. I had to leave to get to work but the gang hung around and worked with the new guys (Tom & Branden) on ground handling.

( Photo Mike Bennett )

Return to Cozmel…40 Years Later

It’s always a good day when you can get in a

two tank dive before lunch.

The last time I was in Cozmel it was twenty two years ago and I was on my honeymoon. It was a Mexican Resort in it’s prime. Megatels, boasting five swimming pools and four restaurants were going up at the rate of two or three a year. It was all good, everything was clean and new and everybody was enjoying a measure of prosperity.

We Don’t Need No Stinking C card !

I was a man on a mission, and justifiably left my bride in the hotel with a raging case of Monezuma’s Revenge to dive on a freshly sunken airliner 200 yards off the beach. Even though I hadn’t logged a dive in more than a decade there was no trouble renting a dive rig from an independent business man, sitting in the shade of a palapa hut on the beach. I remember some moron had painted the name “Enola Gay” under the pilot’s window by scrubbing the marine scum that was beginning to cover the fuselage with a green patina. The entire area had been declared a marine sanctuary and this desecration was just low class graffiti.

In 1969, I was 13, we had just landed a man on the moon and Lloyd Bridges was on TV every afternoon after school. The entire tourist industry of the island consisted of: 3 dive shops and 2 one story hotels. We would spend the morning spear fishing and cook our catch for lunch. No worries about rising sea temps or damaging the coral. I was immortal and so was everything else.

Oh but how times have changed…The reef is 90 percent dead and there is a MacDonalds where Aqua Safari used to be. I wonder what it will be like when I’m 73?


#322 & #323 Dicks Soccer Fields

It has been a long wet spell
So… I was raring to go and up at 4:30 on the second bell. When I got to the field the wind wasn’t noticeable but as soon as I put up the refurbished windsock i could tell there was a strong southerly aloft. This isn’t technically a new site because I’ve flown Dick’s before but this time I’m on the south end instead of the north end of the complex and it is much better. The surface is sand with short and sparse weeds and even though it rained last night the sand was plenty solid enough to walk and fly from. Mike Bennett showed 15 minutes after me and set up closer to the parking area and I’ll do the same next time I’m here.

The first launch was a surprise. I popped up quicker than expected and started to float down but with a little brake I got climbing and started to circle the field while Mike got ready to launch. About 5 minutes into the flight at 1000 feet, I thought, “Did I open the fuel lines?” I had spent longer than normal warming it up and I taxied out to the launch site…AND…I’d been flying for at least 5 minutes. There was no reason to expect that it would still be running but it was and I knew I’d made a big mistake without even looking. When I got twisted around enough to get to the fuel I opened the vent and before I could open the flow valve the motor died.

Now What? I had some altitude, I could try to open the fuel line and restart. I had my doubts though because couldn’t prime the carb. I would’ve had to unbuckle and hang halfway out of the seat to blow into the vent hose, one bump and I’d be swimming. I was in a good place to get back to the LZ and if I fooled around and wasn’t able to restart the motor, it would have been a long push back to where I could re-launch. So…prudence being the better part of valor, I choose to go in “dead stick”. The rest of the story was a non event. I turned downwind, got in position and did a gentle S-turn to bleed off altitude. The landing was smooth but it would have been better if I had taken a wrap to get a little more brake input. It seems like there is a point in the flare where I cannot muscle any more brake. It might be fixable by shortening the brakes.

The second flight was great! Nothing to report.

(Old Stapleton Airport Tower)


(Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena)