April 26, 2008
"Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of... fog?" Once again, the last Saturday of April has provided great weather for Massey, Maryland. We got a lot of calls asking if the Chili Fest was on because where "they" were you couldn't get out.
How long will our luck hold? I don't know but I have the sunburn to show for it. Enough other airports were "up" to allow over 100 visitors to fly in. I didn't count how many gallons of chili were consumed (and there were very many) but
I understand we also cooked 400 hot dogs (& they were tasty too!) plus all sorts of deserts. That tells me we had a lot of hungry guests. Many of our drive-in friends brought food to share & they enjoyed looking at the planes. There was
a lot of activity and the high ground off the side of the runway provided a good spot to spectate.
The winds were (unusually) out of the east all day but light until mid afternoon when it was ripping.
Fortunately, no one got into trouble on the way out.
One highlight enjoyed by many people (including myself) was helicopter rides provided by AREA utilities, Inc. of North East, MD, electrical contractors and friends of the Major (Bob Bean). Without wanting to insult my fixed wing friends,
I have to say I really enjoyed the ride; we got low, low over the water of the Sassafras and the ride was smooth even with the high winds & turbulence late in the afternoon. The ride cost $40 per person which is a real bargain for 20 minutes
in a Bell Jet Ranger - quite a few took advantage. Thank you, Paul Granger Sr. for bringing your plane and crew to Massey, you made it special! The magnificent condition of the "bird" speaks volumes for the type of contractor which is AREA Utilities, Inc.
If you have need of helicopter service or commercial electric call Paul at 410-620-1700.
John Williamson got the DC-3 in shape after high winds a month ago made it want to fly. The stanchions supporting the landing gear bent but didn't break, however it required a lot of work to straighten them. Not least of which involved changing the tires (which no longer held air).
Fortunately Jim Sypherd & John had procured two "new" tires in Florida last year but some twenty years of sitting had rusted everything together on our DC-3's wheels. Thanks to the Delaware Air National Guard up in New Castle for their
assistance in changing the tires but John & Jim wrestled long & hard with dismantling the wheels. John improvised an oversize puller and applied much heat. John installed the pitot tubes and Emily Williamson made another propeller cover to
replace one of the pair she had made that went missing. The ailerons, rudder & elevators are now on & painted in the appropriate "olive drab".
This is a preview of what the whole DC-3 will look like when painted. We are very grateful to Tony Markl and Jon Goldenbaum (Ceconite Corp.) for their help with fabric and paint.
Jim Sypherd picked up a USAF mobile control tower (AN/MRN-20?) at New Garden Airport with his roll-back truck and set it up on the mound west of the runway. Thank you to Bruce Roberts for donating it.
Tony Markl brought one of his Scottish Highland calves in the back of his pick-up truck to show to our visitors. He is rightly proud of his small herd of this relatively rare breed which look unlike any cow I've seen. They have a thick coat of
very long, fluffy, reddish hair and shorter legs. I'm guessing, they are what is now often called a "heritage breed" dating back many hundreds of years. To read more about Tony & Pat's Highland Cattle at "Our Domain Farm" see the:
Dover Post article of 11/14/07
A pair of sky divers demonstrated their skill parachuting in for perfect spot-on landings in the strong wind.
Look in the photo section for a couple of interesting first time visitors this year: Bob Cook brought his Yak-52TW in a beautiful camouflage paint scheme, the Forest Hill Management Co Inc. brought their magnificent 1966 Dehavilland DHC-2 Beaver
(for photos of this plane before it's transformation and on floats click here. Stan Sweikar of Dameron, MD (south of St. Mary's) brought his gorgeous (I'm running out of adjectives) Cessna 195.
I know we had at least 100 fly-ins total, I lost count at 92 and I probably missed 10 to 20. Great turn-out of RV's: 9, 4 Pitts, 4 Aeroncas, 4 Beech Bonanza, 3 Cessna 140's, 5 Cubs, 2 Taylorcraft, 2 Ercoupes, 2 Citabria, 2 Kit Fox, total of 12: Rans,
Quicksilver, Kolb, Sky Arrow, etc., 1 each: Aircamper, Aircam, Aeros Velocity II, Republic Seabee, Maule, Mooney M-20E & M-10 Cadet, Swift, Grumman American, Varga, T-6, Navion, Starduster, Kis-Cruiser, Sea Wing (amphibian) & many other Piper & Cessna.
Last, but certainly not least, the windmill was erected last week and is spinning away!
This is Jim Sypherd's latest quest and it's been a long hard pull (ask him, he'll tell you).
We still need the wooden tank to finish it but we do love it. We think it adds the rural charm of a farm and lends a unique point of interest to the airport. We also like the paint scheme (the fan blades are painted red with yellow tips) - it sure
looks fine with the sun shining on it. I hope it's not too gaudy for our Amish friends (thanks to Willie Byerly for his help) but we couldn't resist. I had a sign company put "MASSEY" on both sides of the tail vane and yes, you can read it from the road - success.
If we stare at it too long, you can give us a "dope slap".
Next time you visit, the brand new "Pilot Lounge" building should be finished! This fine new facility opens up all sorts of possibilities - see Jim Douglass for details. By next year, the Corsair may be together and mounted permanently.
Thanks for coming and Safe Flying.