Category Archives: States

Petit Jean Mountain RV Gathering – PART 2

Here is part 2 about our trip to Petiti Jean Mountain, AR for the annual RV Gathering. Ever seen airplanes popping balloons? CHECK IT OUT!

 

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Vans RV Gathering at Petit Jean Airport (KMPJ) Arkansas – PART 1 – NSA Pine Bluff Fly Over

Video of our trip to Petit Jean Mountain for the annual Vans Aircraft RV Flyin.  Please hit that “SUBSCRIBE” button in Youtube!

Great Day Fishing on the White River in North Arkansas!

Great day fly fishing for rainbow trout on the White River near Cotter, Arkansas starting at the Rim Shoals access.

Filmed with the GoPro Fusion 360…

 

Copiah County Fly-in 2016

Beautiful Saturday to Fly…   Just a short post to show the video we made while at the Copiah County, MS Fly-In a few weeks ago.  We had a GREAT turn out with some really nice planes!  Good food, FAA Wings credit, cheap gas, and I found someone to buy my old magnetos… perfect day!

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Oshkosh 2013, Recap

Overall… our trip to Oshkosh & Airventure 2013 went very well.  The weather could NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!  Morning temps in the 50’s and mid afternoon highs in the 70’s made it really easy to sleep in the tent.  We had very little rain and only one big gust of wind…  No tents were harmed in the making of this adventure!

Attendance… seemed on par with last year and was confirmed this week by EAA.  Over 10,000 planes made it to Oshkosh for the week.  RV’s were well represented in homebuilt camping as you can see by the panoramic photo below… this was taken from the wing of our RV9A (click for larger view).

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Show Changes and Cool Stuff… I think were, for the most part, good.  I liked the new airshow format, the $2 water everywhere, the new food vendors with a much larger variety and TWO night airshows.  The biggest thing missing this year was ALL military aircraft.  We had no C-17’s or A-10’s on static display or the usual daily flybys from F-18 Hornets or F-22 Raptors.  Thank goodness there is one person alive that can afford to privately own and operate a Harrier Jump Jet so that we can get our fill of noise on the flightline every afternoon!

Flying Car and a Jet Man…  One of the neatest things we saw was the Terrafugia Transition (flying car) do its thing in public for the first time.  It rolled out on its own power, unfolded the wings and took off to do a nice aerial display… then it landed, folded up its wings and drove off… pretty cool!  The “Jet Man”, Yves Rossy, was interesting enough, but watching something 6,000 feet over your head that didn’t even make much noise left a lot to be desired.  One of the “sleeper” displays of the week was the SubSonex single person V-tailed jet by Sonex Aircraft.  I’m not sure how you would insure it, but with a $10,000 deposit you could reserve a production slot on this $125,000+ single seater to be delivered next year.

Shower House RANT… It wouldn’t be the EAA if we didn’t have something to complain about now would it?  When you go to take a shower at home you expect to leave the bathroom cleaner than when you came in… not necessarily so if you shower at homebuilt camping.  Try putting on fresh clothes with water ankle deep in dirty bath water… wet cloths & shoes, ain’t no fun!    I know it costs money, but HBC could really benefit from a permanent structure like they now have on the North 40 with flush toilets and private bath stalls.  I know we didn’t spend as much money on our homebuilt planes as the Bonanza Bums & Station Airheads that camp the North 40, but we are part of the reason over a half a million people show up every July. (OK, lots of my friends drive Bonanza’s and 206’s… just laugh, OK)

20130728_112144IA, New State… On the trip up to Oshkosh, we made a fuel stop in Dubuque, IA (KDBQ) and parked next to a familiar P-51 Mustang and our friend from home, Dan Fordice.  Dan offered us lunch with the T-6 group that had been training there all week as he fired up “Charlotte’s Chariot” to beat the weather into KOSH.  After a quick bite and some fuel we managed to get out in front of the long line of T-6’s as they formed up and headed north.  After looking at my log when we returned, I realized that Iowa was a new state for our “land in all states adventure” – number 17 – a long way from all 49, but we are getting there!

Next Year?… you bet, we plan to be there.  Where else can you spend a week in a tent with 10’s of thousands of propheads like ourselves that traveled across this beautiful country of ours to the aviation Mecca, OSHKOSH!

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The Big BS Theory

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By Beth Hardy Duff

I think the highlight of my day today was when Paul began to explain how the bumble bee was responsible for the invention of Velcro! And that it was NASA that did the study! This all stemmed from a story on the radio (live radio, I might add – during the Trading Post segment. The Trading Post which died away everywhere else at least 30 years ago is alive and well in Arkansas). We don’t miss it when we’re here. Anyhow…when one guy explained to the other that the bumble bee was actually covered with hair. Not just his legs, but his “rear end” – as the polite Arkansan stated on the radio. I looked at Paul and said,”Ah, the unknown virtues of the hairy butted bumble bee”. If you know Paul, this is all it took as the blossoming and weaving of the story of the discovery and invention of Velcro by NASA using the bumble bee grew to enormous proportions. I looked over at my husband of 31 years to declare “bulls**t magnifique” and he could hardly contain his laughter. I told him he got an A+ for effort as it has been a long while since he had taken the time and effort to create the total bs explanation! This is one reason life has been so interesting for 31 years and absolutely why I will go to Oshkosh, WI for s 7th time and spend an entire week sleeping on the ground in a tent beside our airplane for a week. It’s because after that long, we still sincerely enjoy each others’ company and enjoy the same things in life in the same manner. I truly would wish this part of my life on everyone I know! It’s been a wild and wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend!!

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Sunset Cruise / Oshkosh via Arkansas

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Our original plan… was to start our Oshkosh trip on Friday afternoon by heading to the camper in Arkansas for a couple of days, but the weather forecast for for Friday didn’t look very good. With this front coming in it could have delayed us several days, so we decided to get out in front of the weather and get to Arkansas Thursday night.

You wanna do what?… My phone call to Beth on the way home from work Thursday was interesting. “I think we can be packed and on the way to the airport in an hour” I said… I detected a hint of skepticism in her voice… “So you want to pack and leave tonight?” “Yep”, I said, “If we hurry, we can be on the ground by 9:00 pm in Flippin”. Beth has never been one to back down from a challenge, so by the time I got home she was ready and all I had to do was throw 10 days worth of t-shirts and tighty-whitys in my stuff sack and we were on our way!

Perfect Flight – See photo above… this was a great sunset flight. We touched down at KFLP at about 9:05, cranked “Jane” and headed to the camper to get the AC turned on. Sure enough, as forecast, the weather moved into north Arkansas about 9 am and by the time we would have left Friday it was a real mess, see photo below…

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Fixed the Hooter Valve… Since we were a late arrival in Flippin, we decided to go to the airport and put the plane in a hangar before the weather came through Friday. After this was done, we took Jane back to the repair shop to have her defective “hooter valve” replaced… Long story, but she now runs much quieter!

As we drove by Dally’s fly shop, we saw our buddy Ron’s truck and stopped by to visit. After an hour of catching up and buying a few flys and tying supplies we had a plan to fish in the am. So, our plan now is to visit the Norfork in the morning to fish and head to Oshkosh on Sunday, the weather looks great there and we can’t wait!

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Plan B… No, Make it Plan C

Plan A… Yesterday we had signed up for the civilian fly-in at the Columbus Air Force Base.  We had our standard government paperwork filed to land at CAFB and we were excited about spending the day around the jets on base and spending some time in the simulators. The weather was looking good until we arrived at the Raymond Airport to depart… heavy fog.  We waited as long as we could for it to clear, but no luck and our time ran out.  In order to land at CAFB, we had a designated slot time for arrivals and if we were not “wheels up” by 0715 from Raymond, we would not make the slot.  At this point we threw up our hands and drove to Starbucks for coffee and a muffin and to come up with Plan B.

Plan B…  One of the things you learn as a pilot is to always have an alternate plan.  Our Plan B, was to go to the fly-in and camp out down at Pineville, LA (2L0) and check out the planes and eat lunch.  We have been to Pineville for their monthly breakfast several times, but not to the fall fly-in.  I started looking at the weather south of here only to see that it was still socked in near Pineville.  1/2 mile visability and 200 foot ceilings still  plagued south Louisiana, so we decided to rub on the plane for a while until the weather broke at our destination.  2 hours later and a call to the automated weather system at Alexandria confirmed the poor computer reports… It’s still low IFR.  Now we are getting stir crazy and ready to go somewhere.

Plan C…  We had been invited to fly to Starkville with some friends to watch Mississippi State play Tennessee, but had decided that flying home after an 8:00 game was not for me.   But, this is the south and 90% of the fun of college football is the pre-game campus environment.  So, Plan C turned out to be flying to Starkville, MS (KSTF), eat lunch at our old favorite place, Oby’s, and walk campus before the game.  This was perfect, after a great lunch, we spent some time shopping in the book store, visiting the Student Union, watching other college games on various TV’s and tailgating with friends.  After walking miles and covering the beautiful MSU campus we flew home to just in time to catch our Bulldogs on ESPN.

#HAILSTATE…  After waking up at 0500, this had been a long day… We were tired, but wide awake in front of the TV until 2330 when our beloved MSU Bulldogs defeated The Tennessee Volunteers 41 to 31.  Our now 15th ranked Bulldogs are 6 & 0 for the first time in many years and should be 7 & 0 when they roll into Tuscaloosa on the 27th of October to play the #1 ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama – GO DAWGS!

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ROAD TRIP WEEKEND! (Well, SKY TRIP, really)

By Beth Hardy Duff

HUMAN MAILING TUBE.. After having returned from a wonderful trip to Washington, DC on Tuesday, we were chomping at the bit to get in Caddie and go somewhere – ANYWHERE!  Caddie came into existence for a number of reasons, one of which being my (our) dislike of traveling via commercial airlines.  Human Mailing Tube, as it is lovingly referred to by the aviation community, is far from my favorite means of transportation – right on up there with bareback bronco riding – in summer – with hemorrhoids!  Anyhow, I digress, once again, our experience with the commercial airline wasn’t exactly grand, but I can’t really blame them this time (much).  It was weather related – ugly weather.  We had already boarded the plane in DC headed to Atlanta and even pushed back from the gate at which point the captain came on the intercom and stated, “Bad news, folks, we’re going back to the gate.  Atlanta has closed due to bad weather and they are not accepting any incoming flights.  We expect the delay to be about an hour.”  The transmission ended with the abrupt click of his microphone.  Now we know the REAL reason the cockpit crew stays behind locked doors!  He did tell people that they could disembark and go get something to eat, that they had about an hour.  It seemed the minute everyone left that wanted to leave, he then came back on and announced, “Well, it might not be quite an hour, looks like the weather is clearing up and Atlanta will open shortly.”  Thankfully, Paul & I didn’t fall for theget off the plane if you want to trick and stayed put.  Think this was a dirty trick to cure an overbooking problem?  Hmmm…Surely enough, not 35 minutes later, we were cleared to once again leave the gate.  A few calls were made for “missing passengers” for those who had decided to disembark, then we pushed back from the gate.  I can’t imagine who we left and how ticked they were when the passengers (former passengers) returned from standing in a very long line at McDonald’s for a delicious McRib to find their plane had “left home without them”.  Heh heh, it’s funny if it doesn’t happen to you.

LONGING FOR LULU’S… Friday afternoon, Paul began making some calls to see if we could scrounge up some friends to make a “Lulu Run” down to Gulf Shores, AL on Saturday.  This is one of our “most fa-vor-ri-tist things” in the world to do.  Getting a bunch of pilots and (normal people too) together and all flying down to KJKA (Jack Edwards) in Gulf Shores, hopping in their courtesy car (which is always a very nice vehicle) and heading off to Lulu’s for lunch and non-alcoholic beverages – BUUURRPP!!  The weather was going to be beautiful and we were about to DIE to go somewhere!  Call after call came up empty, one of our friends even told us that they had made a Lulu run while we were gone to DC and that they just couldn’t go again right then.  WHAT? I can’t BELIEVE they went without us!  Well, I can, actually.  We’ve been gone a lot lately.  Anyhow, Saturday morning rolled around and we did scrounge up a couple of takers, but by time to depart, we were once again down to 3 of us, Paul, myself, and Mike Dalton.  It would have been fun to fly our own plane, but it just didn’t make sense to take two separate planes when Mike’s Bonanza E-33 could easily carry the 3 of us — in a cushy ride I might add, and our plane could only take the two of us.  So, a deal was struck between Mike and Paul and we headed southeast for Lulu’s in Gulf Shores.  Nice trip down, and in about an hour, we were getting out of Mike’s plane when he recognized the Baron belonging to Bob, a friend of his.  Next thing we knew, Mike was on the phone with his friend, Bob, and we changed our Lulu plans to meet up with Bob and his fiancee at Shipp’s Harbor Grill in Orange Beach.

WHAT A RIDE!… Now KJKA is known to have pretty snazzy courtesy cars as Paul and I had found out in the past when we were handed the keys to a very new, bright and shiny yellow Camaro!  We were expecting something pretty great this time as well, when we were handed the keys to the courtesy vehicle.  Paul and I went to get the car while Mike was finishing up some business inside.  While we were indeed happy to have a courtesy car at our disposal for about an hour, we were a little disappointed that this was not the usual “status quo” courtesy car we had come to expect from Jack Edwards.  Although it was parked right next to a bright, shiny red Corvette, that’s as close as it came to being “snazzy”.   A bright white van decorated with the words, “Shrimp Basket”, “Mikee’s – A Place for Seafood” and “the Steamer” proudly awaited us!  The look on Mike’s face was priceless as he walked out of the FBO and saw us waiting for him in the van.  Immediately, he yanked out his phone & snapped a picture of “Driver Paul” in the Van, while not even trying to conceal his fits of laughter.  Regardless, we found our way to the Harbor Grill and enjoyed a fantastic meal while making new friends to boot on our day trip to the LA Riviera.  Paul and Mike had the grouper sandwich, (I think) and Angel, Bob’s fiancee  convinced me that if I really loved a wedge salad, that this was the best one to be found anywhere in the US.  I have to admit I wholeheartedly agree and that this might also be the LARGEST one also, as I boxed up half of it.  You gotta admit, that was some “well traveled lettuce” that accompanied me on the flight back home that day.

WELL, WHAT DO WE DO NOW?… The next day was Sunday.  Paul and I got up and went to church as usual, got back home and noticed once again, it was a perfect 10 out of 10 day.  “Well, where do we fly today?” was the question.  The real question was, “Why didn’t we start giving this a little more thought earlier in the week?”  We thought and thought, surfed the web, dug through the logbook and did nearly everything we could think of to come up with a good idea on where to go.  Didn’t want to go too far, that just gets into too much expense.  Couldn’t just sit on the ground on a beautiful day like today.  We had already finished painting the deck (that only took 3 weeks) and so, we were due a reward!  We were already hungry so wherever we decided to go, had to have food within reach.  Well, after a great deal of thought, we decided to go back over to Monroe, LA.  We had taken 4AE, our former, shared ownership Cessna 172 there to have the transponder repaired at their radio shop and while there, had eaten at the restaurant inside the airport terminal.  It was good food and decently priced, so we decided we would just do that again.  Deal?  Deal!   Hmmm…note to self, things change, call next time before you go.

MONROE BOUND… So we took off from Raymond in our plane, since it was just the two of us this time and headed on over to Monroe for food, since by this time it was about 1:00pm and we were about ready to eat the seats out of the 9A.  Paul took off and then handed the controls over to me.  He’s been doing this a lot lately and I’ve been loving it!  In fact, so has Paul.  It gives him a chance to look around and enjoy the ride, while still keeping an eye on me and allowing me to have a little fun too.  I’m still not proficient at taking off or landing, but that will come with practice and more practice.  For now, I can definitely get us there  while being pointed in the right direction and staying at the right altitude while following a route and that makes me very happy.

FIVE GUYS… Landing at Monroe, we taxied to our appointed spot and parked.  As we were getting out we were assisted by 5, yep, count em’ 5, linemen – obviously a slow day at the airport and a tad bit of curiosity.  I can truly say we NEVER get tired of questions and compliments on our airplane. “WOW, nice plane, is that a 7A?”  “No, it’s a 9A”  “Cool, did you build it yourself?” Paul’s reply is always, “Yep, WE built it OURSELVES.”  “Cool, how long did it take you?”  Our reply in unison is, “3 years and 3000 hours.”  By that time, it has usually sunk into someone’s head that Paul meant me and not some invisible “man” standing in front of me, that I am the other half of this project.  “Oh, YOU helped him build this plane?”  To which, Paul usually replies, “Yes, she shot all the rivets in it – 18,000 of them.”  Now, to tell you the truth, I have not counted (well recently anyhow) the exact number of rivets in our airplane.  Back when we were building, I could have given you an exact count of how many were in the piece that we worked on that day.  Not that I wanted to count them, but it’s just one of those things.  ANYHOW, after all the oohing and aahing is said and done, Paul asked, “So, the restaurant over at the terminal, is it still open?”  To which, the reply was, “No sir, they aren’t open on Sunday.  In fact, the restaurant you’re talking about is gone.  The lady that owned it, died and it closed and was replaced by a more or less snack shop.”  Paul’s reply was, “Oh….well, do you have a courtesy car?” and Thank Goodness, the reply was , “Yes sir, we sure do.”  This was another nice courtesy car, not a Camaro or Mercedes and certainly not a Jeep Wagoneer with the blown out back window, but a very decent blue Ford Edge SUV.  The deal was, you could take it for two hours (hmm…very VERY nice), but after two hours, its $10 for every 30 minutes over that.  Fair enough, 2 hours is ample time to go somewhere and eat.  We were lucky enough to find one of our favorite restaurants still alive and doing quite well in Monroe and that was Copeland’s.  It was in the Pecanland Mall and virtually no distance from the airport – I think it was 3 miles, but don’t quote me on that one.  Fantastic food once again and great service.  Paul had the Shrimp Ducky and I had the Apple Almond Bleu salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette.  At 510 calories, it’s probably the lowest caloric content of anything on their menu and absolutely divine!

The flight back home was fun as always, Paul let me fly again and we arrived safely back home at KJVW after another fun filled day of experiencing the $100 Hamburger.  Only now the $100 part doesn’t include fuel!  Ah well, that’s why we do make sacrifices to continue with our guilty pleasure of “flying for food”.  You give up here and you give up there and then you get to enjoy for a while.  Not so very different from anything else in life, really, is it?

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Washington DC, not what I thought!

Slow to Post…  Since returning from Oshkosh, things have been a little hectic and not allowed time for much writing.  It has been fun to run into friends and family that have asked what we were going to write about next.  It is cool to know that folks DO read this stuff – THANKS!

Washington DC… Our most recent trip was one for work and unfortunately did not involve our airplane, but was very interesting anyway.  The company I work for, Delta Industries, is active in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) and I was able to make a national meeting this past week in Washington, DC.  Beth nor I had never been to DC, so we decided to go up a day early and try to see some sites.  Little did we know that one extra day was not going to allow us to see much more of this VERY interesting city.

You Can Feel the History…  Final approach into Reagan National Airport put us right over the Pentagon and my immediate thoughts went to the tragedy of 9/11.  Then, I saw the Arlington National Cemetery just beyond the Pentagon and my thoughts turned to those who have died for my freedom.  At that point, I knew this was going to be a special, thought provoking, trip.  I don’t think there is anywhere else in this country that you can go stand in one place and be surrounded by so much history and walk the paths of some of the most brilliant (and not so) makers of that history.

Need a Plan…  After settling in at our hotel just south of town, I purchased a three day pass for the shuttle to downtown.  Most of my meetings for the first two days were in the afternoon and at night so we could get up early and shuttle in for some sightseeing. This afternoon was open though, so we decided to get to it and head in for as long as we could and at least look around and come up with a plan for the next two mornings.  The shuttle dropped us off north of the Capitol building at Union Station.  We started our walk to the south to see the Capitol and then to the west along the National Mall area.  The first thing we noticed was how spread out this place is!  It is a long way from the Capitol to the White House and there is a lot of stuff to see in between.  We continued our walk to the Washington monument and then north to the White House.  This brought us close to the Old Post Office which was the last place we could catch the shuttle back to the hotel at 8:30pm.  Wow, what a walk!  We did get an idea of where things were and what we wanted to see the next morning.

The Best Stuff is FREE…  Early the next morning we were back on the shuttle, headed into town – first stop – the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  We figured we could cover it in a half day and see something else later that day – WRONG, this place was huge and we ended up spending the entire day there!  Besides being an aviation nut, I have always been a space program nut, it was all here and we could have spent two days going through it in detail.  Most all of the displays were the real thing when possible, not just models or mock-ups.  The highlight of the day was seeing the ORIGINAL Wright Flyer that Orville and Wilbur managed to get in the air over a hundred years ago.   The really great thing about the Smithsonian Museums and the government buildings was that there was no charge for admission.

Ruby Slippers, First Lady Dresses & the Constitution…   The next morning we were back at it again, this time at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  If only we could have learned about history in school by visiting these places (I guess the smart kids did).  Beth wanted to see the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz along with the dresses worn by the First Ladies collection.  Not the most interesting things to me, BUT, there were tons of cars, electrical motors, steam engines, guns, trains and other cool stuff invented by Americans on display.  I think the highlight of this museum was seeing the original US flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner during the war of 1812. After spending the morning soaking up history at the museum, we walked over to the National Archives building which houses The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights.  I was amazed that you could put your eyes 6 inches away from these historic documents – this was a goose bump moment!  The room was darkly lit to preserve the documents and no cameras were allowed, but this experience will live with us forever.

007 & Spies Like Us…  When we were done at the archives building, we had a few more hours before we had to catch the shuttle so we decided to stay in the area and visit the International Spy Museum.  This museum did charge 20 bucks each to visit, but it was also well worth it.  We only had 2.5 hours to spend and needed 3 times that!  Their massive collection of spy devices, memorabilia and video presentations was impressive and interesting to a kid that grew up during the “cold war era”, and like most museums, you finish the tour at the gift shop.   This was not your average gift shop though, they had all kinds of knock-off spy devices and more T-shirts than Disney World.

Slide Show – Photos were taken with Samsung S3 Phone…

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More Time Here… While, the rest of the trip for me was spent in meetings, Beth was able to take a tour of President Lincoln’s cottage with the ladies one day and then it was time to fly home.  While some BAD weather got in the way of us getting home on time, we did make it home safely and longing to return to DC.  I would love to spend 5 or 6 days just visiting the museums downtown along with the monuments and the Arlington National Cemetery.  Looks like I need to familiarize myself with the Washington area ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) and fly Caddie up to Manassas, VA… I guess we’ll have to put that on the list!

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