Short Wing Piper Club
Greetings fellow Northeast Chapter members. A lot has transpired since I last wrote to you. I'll go backwards in time. We were very fortunate to have yet another great fly-in at Garnsey's over the Labor Day weekend turnout of 40 plus folks in 20 plus airplanes along with good weather made this a great experience for all. Those in attendance were:
Since all were caught up in the spirit of the day looking at some very attractive aircraft and renewing acquaintances, not to mention eating, some folks may have not signed in so I am sorry for any omissions.
Among the attentions getters were Ray & Dale's very shiny Luscombe. This draws a crowd wherever Ray sets down. For the early arrivals, there was a real nice PT-19 Cornell that drew much attention. Ray Gould's award winning PA 11 was a welcomed sight ( so was Ray!). New member Bud Hickey's PA22/20 is also quite attractive. I met Bud at the Convention this summer. He was spending time in Montreal, flew down to our fly-in, and joined our chapter. Welcome Bud; great to have you!
Once again a huge thanks go out to Marcia and Zene Garnsey for there continued hospitality. They literally open their home to us. Food was in abundance and a good time was had by all. The weather was a bit breezy and a welcomed cool to the air was probably the reason there were no swimmers this year. We held our meeting and elections. The slate of officers remains the same. President - Andy Seligson, V.P. - Hank Van Valkenburg, Secr. - Martin Gleason, Treas.- Margaret Archambault, Newsletter Editor - Rico Cannone. Our calendar for the remainder of the year was set as follows:
Oct. 17 (rain date 18th)- Cooperstown, NY
Nov. 21(rain date 22nd)- Groton, Conn. tour of Submarine Museum and lunch.
Dec. 13 (Sunday) alt. Dec. 20 ( Sunday) Holiday Brunch Fly-in, Columbia Co., NY
The fly-in to Cooperstown will be a joint meeting with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter. Cooperstown is a real old fashion country field with a good grass runway, great folks , some good planes to look at, and a little coffee shop. Fuel is available and transportation will be arranged to town for those who might want to eat in one of the numerous restaurants, tour the Baseball Hall of Fame, or the Farmer's Museum. Steve Sevits has offered his services as a tour guide. Steve is quite familiar with the museum and should have much to offer.
On Sat. Nov. 22nd we will fly to Groton, Conn. and have a tour of the Submarine Museum at New London with lunch to follow in a restaurant this highly recommended by Steve. The Chapter will arrange transportation ( probably rent a van like we did in Scranton).
Our annual holiday fly-in to Meadowgreens at Columbia Co. Airport in Hudson, NY will be a Sunday affair to take part in their buffet brunch. As always, we will try to arrange with our good friend Mark Furman from the Albany FSDO for some kind of FAA presentation. This always a popular event and there will be a drawing for a holiday prize. As always we encourage you to bring a friend along. Remember you don't have to fly or own a Short Wing Piper to be a member of our group. The camaraderie and newsletter are well worth the dues.
We discussed the setting up of our Chapter's Website. Once again Steve Sevits came through with a person who is going to do this for a reasonable rate. It should be up and running soon. We'll let you know a.s.a.p.
Oh yeah, since Steve came a bit late (after the elections) we all greeted him with "congratulations Mr. Pres." , you should have seen the look on his face ( Joyce's too)!!!
The Jewetts have moved farther west and now live in a suburb of Toronto, Guelph, Ont. This makes the trip to work for Sue and Bev a lot better. It makes the trip to our fly-ins a lot further. We hope to see them whenever they can make it. Bev is an Air Canada Captain and Susan is an Air Canada flight attendant. I'm glad the strike is settled and their lives can get back to normal. Daughter Victoria has embarked on flying lessons; we'll keep you posted.
Margaret reported that our chapter is in sound financial health and we have made a $250. donation to the S.W.P.C. scholarship fund. We voted for this donation some time ago. We discussed the nomination of a person or persons in our area that would be eligible for such a scholarship. If any of you know of a college student enrolled in an aviation program, please let us know a.s.a.p. Any parent that has put a child thru college will tell you, every bit helps!!
A couple of weeks before Garnsey's fly-in, we held a joint fly-in with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter at Alexandria Field in Pittstown, NY hosted by Hank and Jacqueline Van Valkenburg who live across the road from the field. Those in attendance were:
The Ohio Chapter was host to this summer's National Convention in Middletown, Ohio. Gloria and I attended and had a great time. The Northeast Chapter was well represented with Hank and Jacqueline Van Valkenburg, Rico Cannone, Marty Gleason, Mike Hirsch, Margaret and Mike Archambault, Jim Ozias, Dave Adams, Rich Capece, Steve, Joyce and David Sevits, Phil Jacobus and Theresa Filkins. If I left anybody out I'm sorry. I'm getting older.
The seminars were of particular interest. The "Are You Legal?" seminar, given by Jerry Eichenberger was excellent. Not only should one be legal by the letter of the law, but also keep up with the technology that impacts on safety. A Tri-Pacer did not have shoulder harnesses installed when new. These harnesses have been around now for quite some time and do help save lives and reduce injury ( saved me 3 times). God forbid you should get into a situation that involves injury and the case comes before a jury, and you didn't have them??? Your engine is over T.B.O. but is stronger than Sampson and has great compression. After all it's an O-320 and bullet proof! The engine goes and your case comes before jury. You weren't using the plane for commercial purposes so you didn't have to major it by the letter of the law. The lawyer says, " but the manufacturer specifically states that the engine has a life of 200 hours." ??? Little things like that tend to make one think.
The Alaskan Bush flying presentation given by "fishin Joe Wesolowski" was very interesting and entertaining as was the Mountain Flying seminar by Doug Stewart. Garmin put on a pretty good seminar on GPS. I have the little GPS 90 PILOT and am very happy with it.
There were some great examples of our Short Wing Pipers at Hook Field. Many of us were quite interested in the Rosen Sun Visors that were installed in a neat Clipper. They are not specifically for Short Wing Piper; they're meant for the C-172 but with the use of 2 clamps they fit right on the "V" brace and work just fine. I'm putting them in my Tri-Pacer when the restoration is complete and Hank has installed them in his Pacer. Speaking of his Pacer, he took 2nd place and Mike Hirsch took 3rd in the Pacer division. Our newest member, Bud Hickey took 1st prize for the PA-22/20. Way to go guys!! The speakers were okay, the food was fine, of course the people are our greatest asset and the only negative was the transportation between the hotels and the airport ( this was worked out towards the end).
Weather prevented the group fly-in to the Air Force Museum in Dayton. Bus transportation was provided and all who attended were duly impressed. I flew as a passenger with Hank and Jacqueline in their Pacer in the Poker Run. The weather was right up our alley 2500' and 5 miles in haze.
Next year's Convention will be in Denver, Colorado, the following year in Lakeland, Florida with possibly Alaska to follow that. We all had a great time. Hats off to the Ohio Chapter for yet another great Convention. Each one has its own personality and offers its own "thing". The best part is seeing old friends and making new ones. We look forward to Denver.
Just about everyone who flew into Garnsey's was so impressed by the condition of the grass runway. It should be good because Zene leases it out to sod farmer. Not all grass runways are like Zene's or basin Harbor's. Some are rough, have a decided slope, and can be quite ratty. Of course they can be short and have obstructions at each end. Some of the time, parts of the runway can be spongy (too soft). Since I'm having my Tri-Pacer restored, I have had the tremendous good fortune to be able to fly fellow chapter member Gary Corwin's Tri-Pacer. Gary hangers his newly restored plane at Mahopac Airport in Mahopac, NY. It's an 1800' grass runway, slopes up to the north, the south end is quite soft (500'), and has trees at both ends. The majority of the runway is very good. There are also hills and rising terrain to the north which provide some fine down drafts when the wind is blowing from the north- northwest. Mahopac is one of those great country airports to hang out at and fly from. There are some great folks based here. It's a private strip on the N.Y. sectional but has welcomed anyone brave or foolish enough to fly in. I say brave because most pilots would certainly pass this place up when seen from the air, from the ground, and most never have flown into such a short strip or from grass. It just isn't included in most training of the past 25 years or so. I've written about this subject before.
I say foolish, because since it is private one should find out all they can about it before attempting to operate in and out of this strip. It's not listed in the A.F.D. or A.O.P.A. 's Airport Guide. The way to do this is to call the owner/operator of the private airport. You will be able to find out all pertinent information plus get permission to fly in. By not doing these things beforehand, one is foolish. They are most foolish when trying to operate into or out of such a strip with NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE!!!
My beef here is with the lack of knowledge in soft field technique! What I have witnessed these past 2 months is downright disgusting . The first fellow entered the traffic pattern to land to the south, never made a call on the C.T.A.F. 122.9, probably felt that there was hardly and wind (it was from the north), didn't realize that the grass was wet with dew, and the runway slopes down to the south. The Archer touched down more than 1/2 way down the runway and went of into the trees and brush at the south end. There were not injuries, minor damage, and the next week it was (repaired enough) flown out to its Danbury, Conn. base. The pilot was a private pilot with an instructor on board!
Case 2 involved a Gruman Tiger that was flown in by a private pilot from Bridgeport, Conn. After all the airport gang looked the plane over and commented on the great performance of the Tiger, the pilot , a friend ( a big guy), and his son departed to the north into a gusty N.W. wind. This should have been a no brainer. The wind was at least 15 kts. That certainly would justify a north departure. We all held our breath as the Tiger just got airborne and clipped a few small branches on its way out. The pilot never held the nose wheel off or used the recommended flaps for a soft field departure! When they returned , the passengers were..... well you know the story.
Case 3 involved a C-172 departing to the north with 3 adults in a no-wind situation. After eating up 3/4 of the runway, the pilot chopped the power and stood on his brakes, stopping 3' from the end of the runway. He turned around and departed to the south, barely clearing the trees. No flaps or holding off the nosewheel.
Soft field technique is something that every private pilot candidate is taught. Unfortunately it is hardly ever taught on a real soft field due to insurance policies. Imagine, there are more non-paved runways in this country and the spin kills more pilots. Go figure!! Anyhow, the idea behind a soft field landing is to keep the weight of the plane off its main gear as long as possible. Dumping the flaps and braking should be done only when the proper time comes. On grass runways you run the risk of big and little chuck holes, soft spots, and on rougher strips- gravel and rocks.
On takeoff you want to transfer the weight of the aircraft from the wheels to the wings as soon as is practical ( and safe ). You also want the plane to accelerate as quickly as possible. In a tri-cycle gear airplane, this involves holding the nosewheel off as the takeoff run begins. Individual aircraft have different recommendations on the use of flaps. Some ( Cessnas ) say to use the flaps from the start of the run; others (Tri-Pacers ) suggest they be added as airspeed is increasing. Whatever technique is employed, the use of flaps and holding a nosewheel off could be the difference of flying and dying! If you are not comfortable with operating from a grass strip, the best investment you could make , is to find an instructor that is both current in your aircraft make and model and operating from a grass strip. If that strip is a short one, be sure that the instructor is comfortable with that as well.
What is short to one pilot is a piece of Bakalava to another.
Remember that it is better to land uphill and take off downhill when the wind conditions allow. As far as landing , it is better to make a good regular landing than a terrible soft field landing. Have a healthy respect for the plane you fly as well as the environment you fly it in. Next time you fly over that little grass strip that has an R on the sectional and a half dozen planes parked, remember that it doesn't take superhuman capabilities to fly in and out of it. It just takes getting proficient at something that you probably were never taught to deal with. A lot of those little strips offer some great cameraderie and hidden treasures in the dilapidated old hangars.
Oh yeah, Forgot one more thing before I jump off the soap box. It's a good thing to consult weight and balance and density altitude before trying to operate into and out of a short grass strip. About 15 years ago a C-182 flew into Mahopac on a hot summer Sunday morning. After the usual talk of how great a plane it is and what a great load hauler the Skylane is ( it really is ), the pilot loaded 3 more adults plus all the gear for a day at the beach and took off to the north. There was no wind and those folks never ever got to a beach again, you know what I mean? Be careful out there, stay current, and stay safe. I hope to see you in Cooperstown on Oct. 17th. Safe flying to you all!!