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Old 04-15-2020, 05:39 PM
DeltaRomeo DeltaRomeo is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Highland Village, TX
Posts: 4,170
Default The Restorative Power of Flight

[ed. From the 4/16/2020 edition of (#5,063) v/r,dr]
I went out to the airport Wednesday morning with the best of RV intentions. But having passed a few motionless flags on the way, and seeing 00000KT on the phone when I looked, that plan went out the window. The RV isn't buttoned back up, but the Cub is, and it has been a few weeks since it has been off the surface.

The stock ponds were mirrors and dew covered bright green fields fighting for spring sunlight exploded in the morning light out to the horizon. Almost fluorescent. What you don't realize about 52F is that five minutes to the NW in a Cub at 100' AGL over farmland, you could pretty easily convince yourself it was 1946. No houses, just creeks and farmland. A little inattention and the ball is out again - stick and rudder skills matter with this one. The joys of simple, uncomplicated flight with no radio - there's only one knob (baro) and one switch (mag). You don't really need the baro. The checklist is short.

After .6 of restorative therapy, I taxied up to the hangar and began planning the morning's original task of putting back on access covers, fairings, cowlings and wheel pants on the amazing RV-6. An RV is the polar opposite of a Cub. It so beautifully masters fast and high and acro and technology, and rewards well practiced skill sets. I miss going fast, and need to get that thing put back together this week, but 00000KT demands Cub if you have access to one, and plodding along at 40mph in ground effect a foot or so above the growing wheat touches the soul in a way that few things can. If you've never done this you'll just have to trust me. A Cub-shaped shadow on a field of blurred, wet green in red-shifted morning light can set things right in your head. Email and accounting software are easier to face with recent memories like these.

Fourteen deer and three turkeys in the memo line.

But even the new plan didn't go as expected. I sat on the couch jotting down a few thoughts for this piece here, with the clicking and ticking of the 65 h.p. engine cooling down in front of me, and my train of thought kept getting distracted by all the RV activity. It turns out RVators like 00000KT too. There's Allen in his -14 taking off. Now Danny in his -8, and Ross in his -6. And Matt (-6), and John (-8), and Kay (-8A), and Randy (-8) and James (-4) and Rod (-8). They too saw the windsock, and changed their plans to take advantage of the CAVU with their own RV version of social distancing. I'd guess they didn't see the turkeys.

What a Blessing it is to get to enjoy these. High and fast in the amazing RV, and low and slow in a worn, tattered, dusty, dripping J-3 that reminds me of both simpler times and why I'm also attracted to this different type of flying. These two aircraft, and their wildly different flight envelopes, realign my mental gyros like nothing else. Blessed and Grateful are the words that keep coming to the front.

I'll get the RV in the air here in a few days, but I'm glad the plan changed on the fly. Formation practice is calling me and that is all RV. But lazily exploring a creek for fish and beavers from a hundred feet will be up front here again before too long. Anyone standing outside around N. TX Wednesday would understand. Aviators get all goofy-eyed when the METARs are all zeros.

It's our catnip.

We are beautifully flawed.
Doug Reeves (your host)
  • Full time: since '07 (started it in '96).
  • Typed in the EMB-505 (Phenom 300). Available for contract work. (flying resume).
  • Part time: Supporting Crew Member CAE EMB-505 Level D Sim @ KDFW.
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:35 PM
DaveWelch DaveWelch is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 448

Doug, You are a poet Sir.
I have a suspicion that you fly and make music as beautifully as you write.
Thank you for sharing your gifts.
RV12 N951DZ
First Flight 9/23/16!
No paint yet. Working on a scheme with John Deere colors or accents.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:55 AM
jrs14855 jrs14855 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lake Havasu City AZ
Posts: 2,442
Default 52F

Doug- Some time in the late 70's I was at 52F at least once. It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Edna Whyte was still running the place. I didn't know her history at the time, now I do. That was the era when Leo Laudenslager won National Aerobatic Champion 7 times. Leo would arrive at 52F two weeks before the contest and practice in a marked box with judges and corner judges.
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Old 04-16-2020, 11:13 AM
Bevan Bevan is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: BC
Posts: 1,699

Well said! This webpage really needs a ?like? button.

RV7A Flying since 2015
O-360-A1F6 (parallel valve) 180HP
Dual P-mags
Precision F.I. with AP purge valve
Vinyl Wrapped Exterior
Grand Rapids EFIS
Located in western Canada
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Old 04-16-2020, 01:55 PM
chrispratt's Avatar
chrispratt chrispratt is online now
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 774
Default Two thumbs up

Great post Doug. You inspired me to go out today to fly. First time in five weeks due to the pandemic. Airplanes don't sit well and I needed to get the oil moving and the seals lubricated.

So off I went to KSWI for fuel (still $3.45/gal, so I guess they're still working through the last tank refill.) Not a sole around so distancing was not a challenge. Wore the mask and gloves anyway.

The flight reminds me how lucky I am to have built my dream. Weather was clear but not 0000kt like the low-and-slow guys prefer. But above 2,500 it was smooth as glass.

Looking forward to more normal days again.

Chris Pratt (2021 VAF DUES PAID)
RV-8 Flying, 850+hours
Lycoming O-360-A1A, Hartzell CS
52F (Northwest Regional, Aero Valley, Whatever, TX)

Last edited by chrispratt : 04-16-2020 at 02:14 PM. Reason: Correction
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Old 04-16-2020, 04:43 PM
jimpappas jimpappas is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Park Ridge, IL
Posts: 369
Default FLIGHT!


Amazing way you wrote that piece!

I have been grounded now almost ten years!? Lost Medical. Can it really be that long?

How I miss my RV. How I miss the feelings you put so well into words.

Maybe your next adventure should involved writing a book!?

I'm sure if it's like this, it will sell many copies!

Blue Skies my friend.
Jim Pappas VAF #13
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Old 04-16-2020, 05:31 PM
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TomVal TomVal is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SC & CA
Posts: 907

I believe we just discovered the next Richard Collins or Lauran Paine Jr. Well done DR!
Tom Valenzia
RV8 (Sold)
RV12 Jabiru 2200 Powered (Sold)
Dues contributor since 2007

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself...Anonymous
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:34 PM
RV3Bob RV3Bob is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Los Altos, Ca.
Posts: 58

I have flown my Cub all over the west. Usually at about 500 to 1000 feet AGL. Goes about 70 mph. You see strange sites. Small airports. You deal with airspace issues. Young pilots cannot understand taking days to fly 500 miles. Older pilots just smile

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