Sunday June 12, 2011
A little delayed start this morning, but beautiful flying conditions all the way up from Eufaula to Auburn, AL. Cruise Speed as high as 80mph, we are moving now, NNNAAATTT!!!
Alabama is not what we expected and in discussion with Hans, we were not really sure what to expect. Some huge farms along the way, and the parking lot across the botton of Runway 18 is certainly large enough to land if you can't make your climb out in the hot humid air. What we consider a Walmart Super Center up north, appears to be larger cornerstone down here. Everything is just bigger, larger super sized and so is the friendliness, outgoing fun attitude of the folks. That certainly goes for Pell City our second stop for the day and final one also.
After arriving, we were offered the courtesy car to get some lunch, a few miles from the airport and arriving back there about an hour later and nothing too soon as some black clouds building rapidly. A quick check on the radar certainly cancelled the flying idea, so lets go and tie down the bird for a few hours and catch some rest.
Grabbing the rope kit from the back and taking a look down the runway, I am telling Hans that it is certainly coming. Not a black wall like at home but a white one...
Now this storm cleared a few miles in a few minutes, barely enough time to get three ropes onto the plane and it hits with a ferocity that is just not what one is used to coming from the Cariboo. Pummeling rains, gusting winds to about 30 kts and Hans and me jump into the plane to add some weight. Not that we had any intention to cross the apron without scuba gear. In the mist a red truck apears and barrels in, stops just beside the windward wing to break the force of the wind a bit. Meanwhile sitting inside Hans and me get pretty wide eyed wondering if we gonna get rolled down the apron, ropes, airplane and all. As fast as it starts it comes to an end. Puddles about 4" deep everywhere and as the sun comes out the steam feels like the Silvertip Sauna after someone added too much water. We instantly drench the rest of our clothing, this time from the inside out, of what didn't get wet while we tried to secure the plane. WOW! Glad to be on the ground! This is not something the little Zenair would handle too well in the air. Just too light! Pictures of sun and fun come to mind. Thanks to Emery Wheat for his quick thinking and placing the truck in front ...it made the difference!
As the climatic conditions once again normalize, we follow (taxi) Emery down to an empty shade hangar. Go ahead, put it in here for now! ...followed by a "Not sure, wat yu awl want to do, but we'll have a potluck dinner at FOUUR at the Hangar on the end" Now I can't write this in the southern drawl that he speaks, but we love the sound of it. The drawl and the potluck. The rest of the afternoon is spent with the local folks here at KPLR wandering around hangars, peeking in on some planes, projects and than back to the hangar. Okay, potluck southern style, supersize too, 20 or so folks mingling, talking planes, politics, and the usual topics of American life. Not much different from the socials at home, and a lot of fun and some good laughs. Of course there is the usual grilling of past aerial mistakes and some stories that seem to get better each time they are being told, or at least the presentation is.
Part of the crew is Terry Capps, rolling around in his wheelchair and an avid flier and builder of Breezes. He is on number 3 now and a total inspiration to us! He modified the Breeze so he can use the rudder by hand and by talking to him you really get the sense of the passion for aviation he carries in his chest. Smoke Kit on the Breezie...? Now that tells me that someone is out there having fun. He also flies a modified Jabiru 250... there aint nothing slowing this man down. Good on you!!!
What a great afternoon! We could not have hit it any better, had one planned it this way. Crossing people's life by chance... in "Sweet Home Alabama"