The week started out with our traditional “June gloom” - overcast skies and some drizzle, however it had brightened up by Friday, which was a beautiful sunny day – only to followed by a really horrible wet Saturday morning, unfortunately our monthly Young Eagles day. YE coordinator Mark Albert had warned us that we could expect a large number of prospects, fifty or so Sea Scouts plus a number of civilians. As it turned out, only about forty Sea Scouts showed up, however the numbers were augmented by a group of ten FAA-sponsored ACE students – that's their Aviation Career Education organization. Because of the poor weather conditions (500 overcast), none of our off-field pilots were able to join us initially, although, with a slow improvement to IFR minimums, new volunteer Jamie Baxter made it in from MYF in his Grumman, and with our SDM-based pilots, at least we could get the flights going when the weather improved.
So, while we were waiting for this, the YE's were entertained (and, hopefully, educated) by a number of demonstrations set up by Chapter members; these were “hands on” affairs: Jim McKinnon with a riveting set-up, Rich C zarniecki with his ever-popular “build-a-box” training session, Gene Hubbard with his strength of materials demo, Francisco Munoz teaching some navigation at our flight simulators, and my favorite, Ed Watson with his ingenious wind-tunnel showing the effects of airflow over a miniature wing section. Mark had arranged for the kids to be split up into groups which rotated through the sessions, so everyone had a shot at each event.
By around 10:30, the cloud base started lifting: 700, 800, and finally 1000 feet, enabling some very local flights to begin. As usual, the conditions were better to the east, so that's were most of the flying took place. We had had some early arrivals at our ramp – Rich Sattro in his '39 Taylorcraft, Marty Jansen in a C-172; they had time constraints which meant they had to leave before the flying began. However, we had seven pilots to take up the slack: Pete Grootendorst, Jonathan Robbins, Ted Krohne, Ron Shipley, Chris Constantinedes, Jamie Baxter, and, later, Matt Jernejcic. The ACE group had their own pilot, who had rented a Cherokee 6 from First Flight. With the weather improving, we managed to get air time for nearly everyone – only a few civilians had to be turned away with the promise to fly them another time. We had 39 YE's recorded as flown, however the ACE students didn't get on the official list, so add another ten to that count. A busy day for the volunteer pilots.
After the late flying start, it was nearly 12:30 by the time everyone had sat down to lunch - and what a lunch it was! The Sea Cadets (and their parents) had brought their own lunch supplies, and with what our lovely cooks, Sheena Albert and Janeth Grootendorst had prepared , it was a memorable lunch indeed! Janeth took care of the Young Eagles, while Sheena had prepared a splendid array of dishes especially for the YE pilots and staff – all free! Her meatloaf was outstanding, as were the deserts. The YE parents had brought in so many cookies that even I, a confirmed cookie monster, couldn't keep up; plenty left for next week. We must have had nearly a hundred diners this day, not enough tables to go around. All in all, in spite of the weather, it was a great event.
A reminder, this month's breakfast fly-out destination on the 24th is Brackett (or La Verne, for you purists); situated in the pastoral San Gabriel Valley, it offers a fine restaurant with views of the mountains and the main runways with much flying activity. June gloom should be over by then.
See you there.
A return arrival this week to our ramp was the R-44 helicopter belonging to our member Rick Andersen; a couple of years ago he was giving rides to Young Eagles in it – quite a thrill for them, I'm sure. We hope he can continue to do this volunteer service, because we really need pilots for this weekend's YE rally, where up to 50 Sea Cadets are anticipated, plus no doubt other pop-ups.
After the first flight of Mark Albert's RV-3 which was terminated early by reason of a fuel odor, he has removed the wing tank, which was the source of the leak, and is now pondering how to seal the tank again. To keep him busy, he also is dealing with some loose nuts in the elevators. On the plus side, he has received his radio back from the manufacturers, so that was one step forward.
On Saturday, Gene Hubbard and Mark dug out the broken black-top which had been damaged by one of the TNT video crews a couple of months ago; they refilled the hole with a first layer of cold-patch, although some more will be required to fill it completely. It's surprising how much material (and effort) is needed to fill a seemingly small hole.
More maintenance work being done by Ron Shipley, who has continued to install motion-sensor lights around our premises – a good way to deter any potential predators. Thanks, Ron for taking care of this. I like the idea of the motion sensors – saves on our electric bills and helps environmentally.
The flight simulators in the Eagles Nest were busy on Saturday: Gary List coaching Tristan Werner at our large IFR rated simulator; Tristan, a Chapter 14 ex-Young Eagle, is currently enrolled at Embry-Riddle aviation college in North Dakota, where he is training to becoming an airline pilot. Also at one of the other simulators were Rich Czarniecki and Francisco Munoz, checking out Rich's proposed flight demonstration he is planning to teach to the Young Eagles on the coming weekend. Doesn't look too easy to me, however it will be an interesting experiment.
Gary Adalian had an alarming experience on Saturday when performing some aerobatic maneuvers in his Acrobat; the top of his control stick came apart in his hand, fortunately leaving a shortened stick with which he was able to maintain control, although the connection to the press-to-talk switch was broken; he dialed in 7600 on his transponder and made a no-radio uneventful landing back at SDM. Could have been a lot worse.
Ryan's advertising of his Quickie remains found a buyer in short order; the lucky new owner showed up on Saturday with an enormous enclosed trailer, already containing a Benson gyrocopter, and found space in it to load up the dismantled Quickie. I'm told it's on its way to Kingman, Arizona, where it's going to be an intimidating restoration project for someone.
Gary List was in charge of lunch for the day – he provided the ever-popular meat and veggie lasagna to thirty or more members. No complaints.
The June fly-out is to be to Brackett airport; if the June gloom clears out, the restaurant provides a magnificent view of the San Gabriel mountains and frequently some interesting flying activity.