The drive from Woodward to Conway was 450 miles. I checked into another Indian operated Motel. The area looked a little sketchy and I was worried about the rig. Fortunately I was able to back the truck right up to my door and there was a super market just across the street for dinner. I’d selected this hotel because it was just a few blocks from the municipal airport.
The next morning I was out and rolling an hour before first light. I planned to launch as soon as I could see my boots on the pegs. Following the GPS, I arrived at the airport in 8 minutes … but … it wasn’t there! Instead it was a pile of rubble and muddy pits. I got on the internet and found that there was a brand new airport a few miles out of town. Back on the road.
The Dennis Cantrell Field is a gorgeous new airport. When I arrived there was nobody around. I unloaded the rig and waited. I was beginning to think that there wasn’t going to be anyone to ask permission so I started the motor to warm it up. That woke em up. A fellow came out of the formerly locked terminal and he quickly gave me a thumbs up.
I rolled around to the back of the terminal and laid out the Eden III. Perhaps it was the smooth tarmac that allowed the lines to be sucked into the prop. Maybe I missed something during lay out. Whatever it was, the Eden III was out of the game with all the B and C mains on the left side damaged. I was bummed but smiled at my spectator and said… “Time for Plan B” but I also said as I was laying out the Apco, if that happens again, my trip is over. This launch was flawless. I flew around the area for about an hour and landed on the apron behind the terminal. This was the first time I had flown the Apco since Albuquerque. I found it hard to reach the tip steering toggles and the brakes felt stiffer than I remembered. It should have been a very comfortable flight but it just didn’t feel right. When I landed there were a couple of new guys watching and I don’t think they had ever seen a PPG, they might not have even seen a PPC. We chatted for awhile and the first guy I talk to told me that he really enjoyed watching and said I was welcome back any time. I don’t know who he was but I’m beginning to think he was the airport manager. Thanks Conway!
The Boys from Katy Texas
That evening I drove north bypassing Allen Texas where my little sister lives. I was hoping to share a meal with her and the kids but she was leaving town and I so….I would have to catch her on the way back.
I Texas City Dyke
Flight time 1:04
max.alt. 1300 msl
Steady breeze starting at 6 and building to 10 by 10:00am
I hung at the ceiling of 1200 and explored the area. there were several large sand quarries. The highlight was the state trooper gun range and fleet park where they had a large commercial airliner as lawn sculpture. Go Figure?
Drove up to Palm Bay and spent a day with Rex. We flew the “compound” the first night. It’s the location of the coming Palm Bay fly-in. While there, I met Don Jordan who is probably the oldest American foot launch pilot. He trained Mike Bennett 5 years ago and he faltered me by mentioning the Gathering and this blog. I think he is winding down but even though he’s not at the top of his game his piloting skills are pure grace. Don, it was a pleasure!