Well, as predicted, the rains arrived on Friday in no uncertain manner, with the usual lake forming behind Chuck Stiles' hangar, however this time the lake overflowed, with a river flowing behind some of the other hangars – too much for our feeble attempts at sealing off the base of the hangars, so, once again, a drying out period is required, although with more rain predicted for this week, it may take a while. Fortunately, the roof of the Eagles Nest, which had been leaking badly, had been repaired the day before the rain by a team led by Rich Czarniecki – successfully, as no water penetrated this time. Also on Thursday, Ed Watson undertook to paint the steps and platform leading to the toilets and library (not the same place), so a worthwhile day for the volunteer crew. Thanks to all involved in these efforts.
A couple of blimps arrived the day before the rain, to moor at the east end of the airport, but no chance to fly on Friday, as it was strictly IFR that day and I don't believe they are IFR capable. On Saturday, however, with the weather clearing, they went about their business – where, I don't know.
Saturday was, of course Young Eagles day, and although things were somewhat soggy at ground level, and there were a couple of stray showers around, generally we had beautiful cumulus-filled skies, a great flying day. A reasonable number of kids showed up, including a group of nine who were, I believe, celebrating a birthday. Initially, we had only a couple of pilots to take care of the flights, although as the morning progressed, others arrived, so no problem in getting everyone airborne. Pete Grootendorst and Ryan were first on hand, then later Duane Shockey in his Cessna 170, Ron Shipley in his Aircoupe and Gil Rud in his Husky (which is shown on the front cover of the December newsletter). Eventually, fifteen kids and two “Senior Eagles” were flown. As usual, master of ceremonies Mark Albert, with his team of Ed Watson and Ellie Kok-Vermeulan dealt with the ground indoctrination, while Richard West provided instruction in chess to interested kids.
The crowd of chapter members, YE's and parents were treated to lunch courtesy of Chuck Stiles and Bob Johnson, who served up beer brats (adults only) and hot dogs plus chili beans and other stuff. I didn't try the dogs, but the brats were really good. Probably forty five or more happy diners.
I'll close with a reminder (probably duplicated elsewhere) that it's re-up time for membership dues, also sign-up for the Awards dinner at the Casa Machado restaurant on 11 January. Sign-up sheet is on the notice board in Hangar 1 and for those who wish you can sign up on the chapter web site www.eaa14.org.
This week was once again dominated by a frenzy of hangar construction: Ryan installing the doors on his 27-foot hangar, with the roof completed just in time to move his Sparrowhawk in before the rains arrived earlier in the week, and Chuck Stiles extending the front of one of his hangars by three or four feet. The hangar in which he houses his Fisher 505 was once more inundated with water – it's hard to keep that out with our topography, quite a lake forms behind this hangar. On the bright side, our rainfall amount exceeds the average for this time of year – much needed to alleviate our current drought. More rain forecast to come later this week, so work needed to seal off the leaks.
One of the few fly-ins at our Saturday gathering was a lone Bucker, which performed a solo break to landing – a far cry from the formations of four or five who used to make a dramatic appearance on a regular basis; where have all the others gone? This one left again after a very abbreviated visit. An interesting visitor from Palomar airport was a Mustang II built and piloted by Martin McNab – for various reasons it was many years in construction, however the end result was very worthwhile. It sports an Superior O-360 engine and complete glass panel, and the (so far) unpainted finish showed a very high standard of workmanship. The cruise performance is in the 175 knot range – a real speedster.
Thursday's Thanksgiving Day meant a shorter “work” week at Chapter 14; on Tuesday, Ryan continued his sheeting work on his new hangar, and started on the door frames; Jimmy Kennedy assisted with some electrical hook-up; I continued my search for a solution to my shimmy problem by very carefully balancing the wheels and tires with chunks of lead. The result of a taxi test: no improvement. Drat! - and I was so sure this would be the fix!
No get-together on Thursday, of course.
Saturday brought a few fly-ins: a couple of Buckers and the Helio from Gillespie (why don't the pilots ever show up at our hangar?), the RV-12 from Ramona, and two Huskies, one belonging to our own Gil Rud, ex-Blue Angels lead. Some of our regulars were absent – among them Joe Pribilo and Jerry Boughner – perhaps weighed down by a surfeit of turkey.