Hi folks, remember me? This could be the longest stretch of bad weather
we've had to endure for our chapter fly-ins. I hope that you are all well
and have had the opportunity to get some flying in. The last two months
have been the busiest and I'm literally counting the days before school
gets out (6/28!).
I was fortunate to do some flying in the last several weeks and had an
interesting occurrence. Imagine going to your throttle to reduce power
and having the handle/cablecome right out in your hand!! It happened to
me on engine startup a few weeks ago (luckily) at the pumps at Dutchess
County. Could you imagine what that would be like in the pattern or anywhere
else in the air? Makes life interesting!
Speaking of interesting, our next fly-in, a one day only event for us,
is on Sat. June 25th at Lock Haven, Pa. on the final day of the Sentimental
Journey. This is a week long event with many exhibits, vendors, seminars,
the Piper Museum, some unbelievable aircraft, good food, and folks like
us. I remember this fly-in from its start many years ago and can attest
to its healthy growth!
We'll meet at noon at a location to be determined. Check with the transportation
tent/office for the exact location. David Adams and his
wife were at the fly-in last year in their super-duper motor resort and
we held our meeting under its awning. I'm not sure if they'll be at this
year's fly-in. Another way to find the location is to call Steve Sevits
on his cell phone(s) at 518-339-8907 or 518-248-7919 or me on mine at
914-522-3341 after 11:00 am.
Lock Haven isn't just around the corner for most of us. Do check the weather
carefully, as the mountains of Pennsylvania provide for some interesting
weather. Let's hope for a "tourist brochure day". There will
be no go/no go message for this fly-in. If the weather is VFR and you're
o.k. with flying to LHV, we'd love to see you! I guarantee it's worth
the trip. I do know that several members will already be there. I was
hoping to fly out after school on Fri. the 24th. Alas, we have our senior
graduation that evening so it has to be Saturday or nothing for me.
Our July fly-in is usually a "beach party". This year is no
exception. We will attempt a fly-in at Montauk, N.Y. (MTP) on Sat. July
9th with the 10th the rain date. Montauk is a good, but busy, uncontrolled
field at the eastern tip of Long Island; CTAF is 122.7. There is no fuel
available so plan accordingly. Of course there is a landing fee. It was
$15 last year, but I'll ask Hellen if we can get a break and let you know
Hellen provides a van shuttle from the parking ramp to the east end of
the runway. A short walk over the dunes and you're on the beach. You can
arrange a pick up time to return or call her on your cell or hand held
radio if you have one. Of course you can also walk to or from the beach
along the taxiway if you would like the exercise. There are toilet facilities
and hot showers at the office alond with soft drink vending machines.
While most of us usually bring our food & drink for the beach, there
is a pretty good restaurant across the street from the airport. A short
cab ride will take you into the village for a chance to relieve you of
some of your hard earned cash.
We haven't had a successful fly-in at MTP in many years due to weather.
In the past, we've had between 2 & 24 planes show up. Let's hope for
August 27th with the 28th as the rain date will round out the summer with
our "annual bash" at Zene & Marcia Garnsey's strip on the
Hudson River. Usually this is a huge success. The last couple of years
has been a bust because of weather. This usually attracts the largest
crowd of the year. We bring food for barbequing, drinks, and any other
morsels. The Garnseys provide, literally, their home. We have a great
time swimming in the river, looking at all our aircraft, hangar flying,
eating, planning our year's events, and (sometimes) having chapter elections.
More on this as the time gets closer.
This year's Short Wing Piper Club convention is being held in Vancouver,
Washington July 18 -21. Gloria and I are going out there and making a
vacation in the Portland area. It looks like another great event. I think
David Adams, Rico Cannone, Phil Jacobus, and possibly, Bev Jewett are
planning to attend. These conventions are like a big family gathering
and we look forward to them. Next year's convention is being hosted by
the St. Lawrence seaway chapter in Kingston, Ontario in June. We will
assist as best we can. I hope many of us will be able to attend. It's
just a few hours up to Kingston. Barring any international "events",
crossing the border is not a big deal. I know from now, that I probably
will not be able to attend because it falls during the end of the school
year. We'll see what happens. They had to do it at that time to keep the
costs down before the busy summer tourist season and rising prices.
I'll report on the Washington convention on our return from the west coast.
I'm sure the Columbia River Chapter will put on a fantastic conventio.
Our chapter will donate some door prizes of an aviation nature as well
as the usual fuel $$ prize. It had been $50 in the past. I think it should
increase to $75. As I'm sure you have all realized, Avgas has hit figures
that years ago were being paid by our flying friends "across the
pond". I'll talk to Gary Collins about this. If you have anything
you'd like to donate, please get it to me by July 9th or e-mail me.
Time For A Change
By Steve Sevits
The poem "High Flight", by John Gillespie Magee, is one of the
most inspiring portrayals of flight ever to cross my consciousness. Yet
I never fully grasped the meaning of those words until I was privileged
to join that rare group of individuals who have experienced mastery of
the art of flight.
As years at first, then decades passed, flying served to introduce me
to a great number of marvelous, talented and interesting people and allowed
me to see the world from a perspective denied most people. I wasn't there
at the beginning of the era of powered flight, but was privileged to be
in attendance at the beginning of the Second Century of Flight at Kitty
Hawk on Dec. 17th, 2003. I can claim to have flown both in aviation's
1st & 2nd centuries.
The bright, energetic and tolerant man who taught me to fly was wise beyond
his yearsand some of his words from so long ago have echoed in my ears
ever since. Surely intended as spur of the moment advice, my mentor had
no idea his words would serve to shape my attitude towards aviation so
totally, but also serve as watchwords in many of my non-flying endeavors
as well. For his wisdom I thank him wherever he may be. What he said was:
" If it becomes an agonizing decision, the answer is automaticaly
Not meant to stifle innovation or reasonable challenges, my instructor's
words were intended to draw a clear line of demarcation between reasonable
actions and unnecessarily foolish risks, which unfortunately kill pilots.
I knew a pilot who always cautioned me against scud running down valleys,
because of the hazard of unseen powerlines. He died when he hit powerlines
when scud running down a valley.
Having learned on my own Colt and later flown myown Tri-Pacer, even such
an ordinary student as I couldn't help but learn a few things over the
span of more than 3 decades. There are old pilots and bold pilots but
there are no old, bo;d pilots. I must have learned enough of the right
lessons to survive to the point where thick glasses, grey thatch, and
an expanding waistline have eclipsed those photographs of the youthful
image I portrayed as a fledgling pilot so long ago.
One valuable lesson learned early on was that no self-respecting young
lady wearing a skirt could enter or exita Tri-Pacer and maintain a shred
of dignity. More recently I realized that I too was having difficulty
getting into and out of the plane, which has beeen my magic carpet for
what is now decades. I realized the difficulty encountered was more than
could be reasonably accounted for by the mere presence of arthritic joints
and passage of years.
Of recent, the experince of flight has lost some of its magic and sparkle.
When "Character" (that's been the Tri-Pacer's name ever since
she was new in 1957) was due to come home from the annual, I sought the
aid of a friend to come along as a safety pilot. Another long timefriend
flew us from Columbia County, N.Y. up to Granville, N.Y. which is on the
N.Y. VT. Border. Granville is a challenging little airport with a cemetary
at each end of the runway and a hill strategically placed so as to constantly
generate turbulent crosswinds. The trip to Granville simply as a passenger
was tiring. While everyone else went to lunch, I had torest. Eventually
my friend and I flew home to Hudson; I flew the entire 50 minute trip
home without incident from takeoff oto perfect landing, but it was far
more tiring than it should have been.
For some time I have been tiring too quickly and easily. I have known
there was something wrong and it was finallynecessary to admit it to myself.
The time had come to turn to serious medical intervention for my progressively
deteriating condition, which as it turns out, is not reversible. The words
of my primary flight instructor ring in my ears: " If it becomes
an agonizing decision, the answer is automatically no!" My flyiong
days are ended. It was better that I make the decision myself .
Someone whose name escapes my memory once said something about "going
out at the top of your game".I've never considered myself a pilot
of particularly outstanding abilities yet neither have I ever had an accident
or violation and there is just no sense tempting fate.
Upon landing at Hudson I had the good fortune to encounter Doug Stewart,
National Flight Instructor of The Year, whom I am privileged to know.
He affirmed that I had to be totally honest with myself and fif the time
had cometo stop flying, I would know it only by addressing the circumstances
honestly and acting accordingly. Making the right decisions, that's the
responsibility of the pilot in command.
Since I came to the decision to cease flying, weveral well meaning people
have offered their sympathies by saying "this must be a great loss
to you. I prefer to view the glass as half full rather than empty.
I've had 34 more years of flying than most people; I feel fortunate for
those years, the people and the experiences. My glass is more than half
full and it always will be. I won't have the thrill of flying "Character"
when she turns 50 in June of 2007, but we have spent over 33 years together
and that will have to be enough.
There's a saying " a man deserves a good woman, a child of which
to be proud, and a good dog". I've had all that and a couple of good
airplanes too, so I'm still ahead of most earthbound mortals and have
Writing and teaching ground school are still within my abilities and will
occupy my efforts while I am able. I reflect fondly on the words of John
Gillespie Magee, for now I have a keener insight into their real meaning.
( We hope that staying an active member of the Northeast Chapter of the
SWPC and keeping a visible profile will also occupy Steve's time. Steve,
Joyce, and David have been among the dozen or so that can only be describedas
the "usual supects" that are always there. I am sure that they
will remain so. We wish the Sevits family all the best and will be there
for them as they have been there for us - Andy)
By John GillespieMagee
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared
and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager
craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delerious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights
with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untresspassed sanctity
of space, put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
In December 1941, Pilot Officer John G. Magee, a 19 year old American,
serving with the Royal canadian Air Force in England, was killed when
his Spitfire collided with another aircraft inside a cloud. Several moths
before his death, he composed his immortal sonnet "High Flight",
a copy of which he fortunately mailed to his parents in the U.S.A.
We hope to see you in Lock Haven on Sat. June 25th. Remember there will
be no go/ no go on the phone line that morning. If not, perhaps at Montauk,
N.Y. on July 9th. For that one, do check the 1-877- SWPCNE4 line after
7:30 am for the go/no go. Safe flying to you all. - Andy