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Old 05-11-2018, 03:37 PM
smokyray's Avatar
smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,976
Default Taking the Long way Home...

With Memorial Day around the corner and incessant babbling notwithstanding, I had to take a moment to reflect, and be thankful...

Yesterday my wife asked me to take her to visit the Grand-kids 325NM away in Midland, TX.* The flight in the RVX is under 2 hours with a casual stop for cheap fuel halfway.
Just another RV adventure...
Leveled off at 8500' and with my brain cell challenged aging mind adrift I realized that I have been operating these wonderful little aircraft for nearly Thirty Years.
Thirty years...
RV4 was just the beginning, light years seems like yesterday.
Van's VHS watched repeatedly to failure.
SLOW BUILD should always be all caps. So many to thank, so little time.
Cross Country a literal term. over 50 times "Vlad style" before 9A's were designed...
I remember...
The ID Backcountry, B17 Escort, 20,000' foray, 1V1 with an F16, too many sunrises and sunsets to count...
I remember donating to Cornerstone Ministries and strapping a set of RV4 wings and tail to my Truck...
I remember Arvil engineering the impossible: mating of those wings and tail to an RV6 fuselage. Project X was born...
I remember doing the flyby and victory roll over his funeral with a big grin.

Those very same wings I stare at now as the West TX countryside zips past.

My wife smiles at me. I remember her brushing her teeth beside my Harmon Rocket at Johnson Creek in the rising sun.
I remember Dusty, my UPT T-38 table mate who lost his life in a KC135 on takeoff at Dyess AFB, passing just under the left wing. A true Patriot..
I remember Linchmob and I being comm-jammed so bad over Western Iraq and using our "RV common" (122.22) as a get well frequency.
I remember taking Wolfman on his first combat mission in the F16. I remember him in his RV4 tucked in tight on my Four's wing like glue more times than I can count.
Sure miss him.
Brownwood TX slides by. My Dad dead-sticked a T-33 in there before I was born. I remember Dad executing a perfect greaser from the Four's back seat (despite my challenge, and bet loss to the contrary).
I remember him teaching me to fly before I could drive.
I remember doing a formation takeoff at Hicks field with DR grinning in Danny King's back seat of The Beautiful Doll with a big camera, snapping away on the Wright's 100th anniversary (2003).
Thousands of takeoff and landings relegated to "muscle memory" Climb, level, descend, land. Repeat.
Easy to take for granted...
Easy indeed, with the freedoms we enjoy here in the good old US of A.

My wife reads a letter from Franklin Graham at Samaritan's Purse who spent Easter in Iraq. The cities he visited coincided with places I patrolled and bombed supporting our troops. The people now enjoy their first tastes of a very tentative and fragile Free Iraq. Hallelujah, maybe what we fought for is paying off.
Freedom isn't free and having seen both sides of that tarnished coin I am very thankful. Thankful to live somewhere where I can fly an airplane I built in my garage across free airspace in a free country.
Thankful indeed...


*The airport code MAF coinciding with one of my favorite organizations letter abbreviations Mission Aviation Fellowship (and the source of my paint scheme) weren't lost to the West TX wind.

Last edited by smokyray : 05-12-2018 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:25 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,122

That was some beautiful rambling. Yes, we are truly blessed to live in America in the time that we do.
(2020 dues paid)
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:14 PM
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N8RV N8RV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
Posts: 1,186

Excellent post of thankfulness and tribute, Smokey.
Don McNamara
Peoria, AZ

Builder: RV-8 "Smokey"
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:38 PM
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catmandu catmandu is online now
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sierra Nevada
Posts: 1,015

Nice post, nice legacy. You've got me beat on time, but you got me here on time, four plus years and counting, thanks brother!
Mike C.
Sierra Nevada
RV-6A bought flying (for sale soon)
Super-8 bought flying
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:31 PM
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ccsmith51 ccsmith51 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,077

"...My wife reads a letter from Franklin Graham at Samaritan's Purse..."

I'm RVless for the moment. But the Maule I currently own, I bought from Franklin Graham's Samaritan Purse.

Wonderful organization....
Chris Smith
Maule M5-180C (Sold)
RV-6 O-360 CS (Sold)
RV-4 O-360 FP (Sold)
Full-time in the other type of RV....
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:44 AM
rackley16 rackley16 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Oceanside, California
Posts: 106

That was a really nice read, smokyray. I am with you in the statement freedom isn't free. It costs. The price is high, but the pay-off is well worth it. From a
former Marine who traveled pretty extensively in my short military career, it is really easy to forget how good we have it. We often take for granted what others can only dream about, and even then, they need to keep quiet about their dreams. Sad really, but most folks here in the US have never seen, nor do they have the time to pay attention.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Thanks for your service.
2019 dues paid.
RV7 empennage acquired and the "journey" has officially begun. Wings are here!
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:50 PM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 301


Well done and you're a good man for taking the time to share..

Yep, it's all about the story. The experiences, and the people you meet along the way.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:37 PM
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BCP Boys BCP Boys is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kennesaw, Ga
Posts: 882
Default Nice!

Great post smokey . You are a class act sir and I thank you for the freedom that you have helped provide. For those of you who have never dealt with Smokey, I had the pleasure to buy a car from him and I have to tell ya, the man is just first class. It doesn't get much better than SmokeyRay. Thanks for sharing and reminding us how lucky we are to enjoy this incredible freedom that we have.
RV-7 - Regretfully Sold (Currently in therapy )
RV-10 - Sold

Supporting VAF since the first visit
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:07 PM
seward747 seward747 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 202

Amen, brother.
We are lucky, indeed!

Thanks for the reminder and perspective.

Seattle area
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:13 AM
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Skykingbob Skykingbob is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bealeton Virginia
Posts: 577
Default Ditto

Fantastic potpourri of thoughts that make up the book called LIFE Smokey! All the ?scents? of our experiences that waft through our memories that are energized once again when a flight, a conversation with an old friend, a visit to our hometown, etc act like a ?scratch and sniff? that refreshes those memories that we are so thankful for in they people, places, or experiences.

Aviation has been a part of my life since my first ride at 12 years old. It has....and is continually providing experiences for which I am grateful.

All those things that have been so great in my life have come because the men and women that have sacrificed so much so I can be so blessed!

Oh wife is a Samaritan Purse Shoebox fanatic! She shops all year and packs boxes to the bulging point where the rubber band has almost reached its point of elasticity.... I fear for the handlers of the 20 boxes lest one lets loose.

May you continue to multiply memories for many years to come Brother Smokey!
Bob "Skyking" Corriveau
Yes I paid my =VAF= membership dues!
RV-8 QB Reserved N212KB

Build Site:

"Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished without inspiration, determination, and perspiration!"
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