Wednesday, April 21

Ground School

Gene drove to Shelbyville on Friday, April 9th for ground school and recurrent training. Spring has matured since his last visit, 3 weeks prior and the countryside is lush and green. He says there is no place to compare with this area in spring beauty.

Thank goodness for Dan Gable and Lewis Drake, for in spite of all precautions, including hawk and owl "scare-crows," there are still bird's nests to eradicate from around the plane. Others gathering flying that perfect afternoon were, Dan Allen, Blake Butler, Rick Owens, Bill Bronson, David Gorrell, Brian Owenby, Tony DeSantis, Davis DeSantis and Joe Roberts. The views from the place are spectacular. Some folks get to practice take-off and landings (all came out with equal number from what I am told), some got air work and others got a nice ride.

The flight ended around 7PM just as the sun was setting. Everyone adjourns to George's cabin in the landing meadow by the pond (sometimes affectionally known as "the double-wide") for dinner , drinks and comradarie. Alas, the BBQ joint of choice has closed for the evening (huh? Friday night??) So Wendy's got an unexpected large order that night, enjoyed by all. Bob Gross joins the group also.

Classroom instruction began in earnest on Saturday morning with the first session aimed at first-timers but others sitting in. Tom Taff has joined the group. While the bulk of the group was studying hard, Dan and Lewis were doing maintenance on the plane. Some guys just love getting dirty! The morning ended with a sandwich lunch on the picnic tables in the shady backyard of the terminal and then it was back to class. The spectacular day was calling and so this session adjourned early in favor of hitting the skies again. This time, George Dennis, Bob Gross, Tony DeSantis, Gene Christian, David DeSantis, Joe Roberts and Lewis were on board.

Many folks had already adjourned to the cabin for libations when late in the evening, with the day so clear, the sun so bright and low and George at the wheel, the Flagship did a fly-by for the benefit of those on the ground. Rumor has it he "beat up the crowd pretty good." Word has it someone caught the moment on video. Later, everyone enjoyed a low country boil prepared by Charlie Ingram, the goodness of which was only surpassed by the quality of the fellowship. Thanks, Charlie, for a real feast!

Sunday morning there was more ground school while some intrepid mechanics continued to tinker with maintenance. We hear that Dan and Lewis were buying 4 gallons of Marvel Mystery Oil at Wal Mart when the clerk in the auto section inquired what could they possibly do with that much of the good stuff. Dan deadpanned, "My Pinto's been smoking a bit and I heard this would fix it. I figured if a little is good, then a lot is better." or something to that effect. The clerk's jaw dropped to his navel! That afternoon the newbies, Tony, Davis, Bill went up for inital air work and had a chance to explore the DC3 stall characteristics. As night falls, Gene decided he needed to become night current and took the left seat while the others rotated through the co-pilot position. Great sport was had by all in dealing with the landing gear and flap controls while trying to read the check list by flashlight. Ask Bill Bronson about wearing his sunglasses at night. You will have to ask them how much fun they had!

When George called a halt due to the arrival of pizza and beer, only Tony's landings remained and those were accomplished Monday morning before he and David hopped in their Cirrus to make an appointment for an Angel Flight in Florida later that day.

Some dedicated souls stayed through Monday for maintenance chores and aircraft clean up before heading for home on Tuesday. A well attended school with a lot of good progress.

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