Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Great Sinful Sunday

Ginger and I had pretty much given up on the June Sinful Sunday when on that Saturday the forecast for Sunday was thunderstorms all day long.  Having accepted fate, we decided to take a break and went to bed without doing much of the work required for the event.
The next thing I knew, Ginger was telling me to get up and that the weather was beautiful with a revised forecast for blue skies.  That was good news but it also meant we were now behind the curve.  Yet all turned out well as our friends showed up early to help and a good time was had by all.  There was even a pretty good turnout.
Ultimately, although not the best turnout ever, over  forty planes showed up for the event with at least a third of them having never been to Lee Bottom before.  And on top of that, several of those people came from several hours aways.  This is great to see and it continues to amaze us how many people there are out there looking for a friendly place to go.
Thanks to all of you who helped us get ready and to all of you who took the time to fly or drive to the June Sinful Sunday.  We hope you had a great time and we hope to see you at another one soon.
July Sinful Sunday - Second Sunday is July 11th
August Sinful Sunday - Second Sunday is August 8th
*Thanks to Wil and Drew for the Photos

Amazing Auction

If you've been watching aviation closely, this auction will come as no surprise.  For many years hoarders have been collecting everything they could get their hands on and now they are facing the reality that their collections can't go with them.  A positive outcome of this is that the "hunter gatherers" among us saved a lot of our old planes because of their passion for the "gathering" part.  Sadly though, very few of them ever got to enjoy all that they had and most have now waited far beyond the peak of the antique aircraft market to sell.  Therefore, the people who thought were were going to get rich and retire off their collections are now faced with the reality of aircraft values that have corrected back to a level of sanity.  But don't worry.  Those of you who still want to believe your vintage aircraft really is worth two to three times the going price, there's hope.

Starman Brother's Auctions routinely sends us auction papers about FBO inventories or personal collections that are up for auction.  Years ago we even visited a few of these.  Then we realized that no matter what was up for auction, people were paying well above market value for nearly all the items at these events.  Attendees were often even paying above list price for new items!!!  It was amazing, sad, and disappointing to watch and we quit going.

Now maybe you're asking yourself, why did he title something "Amazing Auction" and then go to all that trouble to tell us to beware of auctions.  Well, here's why.  Starman Bros. Auctions Inc. has just posted a new auction of an incredible collection of old planes.  Among the items are a Curtis Wright Jr. with an original Szekely (pronounced SEK-kay but commonly heard in USA as zeekly), a Velie core, and a Salmson AD9 powerplant.  There are also three E2 Taylor Cub projects, a Starduster, and somewhere in the neighborhood of umpteen Piper planes.  Among these umpteen Piper aircraft, it appears there are between ten and twenty Cub projects.  But this is just a fraction of what's there.

This auction is amazing because of the incredible amount of "stuff" that's up for grabs.  You have to go look for yourself.  I have only scratched the surface.  Click here to see the link.

Be warned and be educated before you go.  Contrary to popular belief, auctions rarely have deals.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sinful Sunday - Here It Comes

The first Sinful Sunday of the year will be June 13th. 
*Lunch Served 12-2

*Milkshakes, Including our World Famous Strawberry Twinkie Sundays
 Served 1-3, or until we run out.

Note:  You are welcome to show anytime but those showing up before 11:00 will be put to work.
Sandwiches available at the June event will be pork BBQ. But more importantly, the featured ice cream treat for June will be the legendary, patented, copyrighted, trademarked, and internationally famous treat created by and willed to Ginger by her Grandmother; Strawberry Twinkie Sundaes. There are two types of people in this world, those who've had one of these and those who haven't. The latter are said to have sunken soulless eyes and no reason to live. If this is you, come on down in June to add a new dimension to your life.  Here's a video to give you an idea what it's all about - click here to see it.
Also, we are looking for volunteers to help with Sinful Sundays.  If you are open to volunteering, please contact us by clicking here so we'll know how many helpers to plan on.

Thatcher CX4 - Inexpensive, Quick to Build, and Fun to Fly

The Thatcher CX4, one of the rising stars in the homebuilt market, might be for you. Last year we were lucky enough to have the CX4 prototype here at Lee Bottom for a while and during that time it was flown by several people, including myself.  Everyone loved it and I thought so much of it that I decided to give you an idea what it was like.
Yesterday was a crazy day around the airport. We had the one day of sunshine in a week and a half to mow the grass before it rained again and every person in the area was out flying. Meanwhile people were coming by to collect their checks from things that get paid whether your event goes as planned or not, the well drillers were stuck in our yard up to the axles, and guys I haven’t seen in years were stopping in to say hello and purchase Lee Bottom shirts or caps; essentially, kind gestures of cash flow for the airport.  During all this, a kid with 50 total hours, four of them from a tailwheel checkout, was going around the pattern in the CX4 with ease. Before that, his dad flew it for the first time, and after that so did I.

I had wanted to fly the CX4 since a local guy first told me of it long before it showed up on anybody’s radar. When Peter Beck of Louisville, Kentucky, first discussed the aircraft with me, I wanted to verify what I was hearing.  Here is what I think I learned from my first group of take offs and landings and time in the air.

I despise the phrase “poor mans” anything because it seems to imply cheap or compromise but over and over in my head I kept thinking “poor man’s RV-3”. Much like the RV it has responsive controls, but even more so.  In fact, I found myself flying it like a S1 series Pitts, arm on my leg, forefinger and thumb on the stick, and moving that thing all over the sky with only those two digits. But let me back up and work through this in order.

Climbing in, I found the cockpit to feel very much like the later model Mooney Mite; the one with the ugly large bubble that gives taller pilots more room; not to imply that the CX4 is ugly, the late M-18 was though. Inside the cockpit, there is enough room for most pilots’ hips and enough room for almost any pilot no matter their height. The stick and rudder feel well placed and the stick is a good length.

Visibility over the nose and all around is great except directly aft.  The forward sight picture is great due to the small size of the nose and flat attitude of the aircraft on the ground.

Starting the plane, I was amazed at how smooth the VW inspired aircraft engine was and once I adjusted myself to the rpm range, it was the one thing I thought very little about during flight. In short, other than a slightly higher normal rpm range, I found it great.

Taxiing out I did my usual check of ground steering and this thing was crazy controllable. In fact, if I were building one I might try to figure out a way to numb it or dumb it down as it has the control authority to handle a Pitts or five CX4’s simultaneously. Brakes, as you can imagine, are thus merely for turning tight and parking.
Rolling onto the runway and pushing the throttle home where it belongs, the CX4 feels very much like an RV-3 with one exception; the engine turns counter clockwise. With the lightness of this airframe and rapidly revving powerplant, the acceleration is amazing up to the point you discover one small drawback of the design. The flat stance of the aircraft that allows such great visibility on the ground also keeps the aircraft on the ground long after it could fly. Yet even with that it is a short takeoff run. The suggested spring steel landing gear is an off the shelf unit from another aircraft and I feel it causes a good design to perform below its potential but not much. Combine this gear that is a little short with a tailwheel that is a little tall and you have a plane that needs a large relative excess of speed above stall or a good bump in the runway to get it off the ground as it sits so close to its cruise angle of attack while there. Unable to get the nose up or the tail down you eat up a more runway than the plane obviously needs but even with this the take off roll is only six to eight hundred feet.

On climb out, I was holding about 60 mph indicated and the angle of climb appeared similar to an RV. There is no vertical speed instrument in the prototype and I didn’t have a watch so I cannot offer climb rate numbers. Leveling off, I did some steep turns that brought the sensitivity of the controls to light. Pitch and yaw are very responsive and you have to force yourself to go easy on both.  Three turns later I moved to flying it with my finger tips and it quickly settled down. Then I was on to a series of stalls.
 With power off I could not get it to stall. There was a speed, just under 60mph that began to produce a high rate of sink but the Thatcher would not stall. At slower speeds the left wing would only try to lower but it would not drop, and the plane would just mush. I eventually managed to force a stall in much the same manner a secondary stall happens by oscillating or porpoising the nose. Yet even then it only stayed stalled about a tenth of a second and the only way I knew it had stalled was that the nose dropped very slightly.  In fact, the plane returns to firmly flying before your reflexes kick in to adjust for it. Did I mention this machine has the same airfoil as a J-3 Cub?  Next was the power on stalls.  This series of attempts at stalls were very nose high and indicated 40 mph at times and one time fifty so I think the airspeed or pitot was suspect and therefore I cannot offer any decent numbers except to say they are low. Whatever the case, it was very hard to get it to stall and I’m still not sure it did. What I do know at this point though was that the wing loading or mere will of the engine would not let the plane quit flying.

Next, I put flew the Thatcher through a rectangular circuit at 3000 RPM which produced 115 mph indicated. It felt though that the plane was flying much faster but unfortunately I did not have a GPS to get some verification of that number.  This was also flown slightly below the rpm at which many people run the engine during cruise.

One thing to note here is that everything on the Thatcher must be thought of in relation to the engine. At first you must force yourself to readjust your “norms” for RPM and aircraft performance and speed. In other aircraft you would throttle back to 22-2500 RPM for cruise and in this plane 3000 RPM is the norm. Therefore, the first few times you pull power to descend, your mind plays tricks on you.   With the RPMs rolling back to 2400 the Thatcher seems to be coming down fairly quick for that setting.  Then you realize that 2400 to this engine like 15-1800 RPMs in a typical certified aircraft engine. Therefore, once you readjust your thinking to these parameters, the plane really starts to make sense and gets even easier to fly.  Having succeeded in doing so myself, I pulled the power to descend.

While coming down from altitude,  slips in both directions were accomplished and once I reminded myself how sensitive the pitch and yaw of the CX4 is, both worked very well. Back at altitude I had learned from slow flight that 65 indicated would be a good speed for approach. This would seem to leave a small margin between the power off mush speed (not stall) and approach speed but remember there is little to no flare. This brings me back to the one drawback in the prototype's landing gear.

On final, knowing there is little to no flare for landing, the approach is flown with power more than pitch. Once you’ve found your pitch for the speed, the power lever controls your rate of descent. The plane could be flown more normally with a steeper angle of descent to a flare if the gear was taller but any flare at all at this point would have you hitting tail first very early before the mains.

Touch down is a non-event and faster than it needs to be but it is extremely benign and as I said earlier, even a kid with only 50 hours of flight time and only four of it in tailwheel aircraft, can master the plane rapidly. Rollout is tame but again much longer than it needs to be due to the excess speed that is used for the short gear but when all is said and done you still only use around a thousand feet.

After my first thirty minutes with the plane, I believe that these things will sell like crazy when a few more can be seen flying about the skies. Avgas or high octane gas can be run in the powerplant, the aircraft is light with wings that can be folded or removed, and it’s cheap to build while achieving a pretty good speed.  But wait, did I mention it’s a real hoot to fly?

Note:  It is my understanding that taller gear and a slight reduction in responsiveness of the controls is in the works.  Although the plane is fine how it is and extremely easy for a novice to fly, these optional changes would make the plane an unbeatable choice for an inexpensive light sport fun machine.


After last month's post about the contributions of items to the airport, we were asked about creating a list of items that are needed.  Although this is pretty much impossible, we did think of a list of things that are on our wish list.  Maybe you have the time for some of these projects or know of a place to get something at a  discount or possibly have some of them laying around not being used.  If something sparks your interest or you have a lead to share with us, please contact us before making plans - just in case someone else also has the same idea and/or specific sizes are needed and not specified.
  • ZTR type mower with suspension and front end 5' to 6' mowing deck
  • 2 sets of four good used tires (255 to 275 75-15's) for hay wagons to be used as people movers
  • set of turf tires for front of mowing tractor  (10.00-16's)
  • 2 foot and a half culvert pipes to put in auto parking area ditch
  • diesel mechanic with tractor experience to help with tractor maintenance
  • equipment, supplies, and manpower to move electricity and water to East side of runway
  • new set of cones
  • new windsock
  • industrial, heavy duty shelving to store supplies for events and equipment used at airport
  • small gas or diesel (preferably) vehicle like a golf cart or gator with a bed for hauling (4 X 4 preferred)
  • people wagon to be restored
  • people wagon to be created from hay wagon
  • tractor seat for MF 240
For those of you who have helped with monetary contributions this year, everyone appreciates your help in keeping this airport operating for current and future generations to enjoy.  As soon as the secretary arrives, we'll get the recognition all of you deserve posted on the website.  In the meantime, we should let you know that we have been able to use your assistance towards:
  • spring grass maintenance - weed, feed, and seed
  • final fixes to a 250 gallon ag sprayer
  • chemical to spray weeds and brush along road, ditch, and bank
  • purchase 500 gallons of fuel used in tractors, mowers, and airport maintenance equipment
  • repairs and maintenance to batwing mowing deck
  • paying down the debt from 2009 fly-in
  • purchasing supplies for public restroom facility
  • paying utility bills used by the airport and its patrons
  • trash dumpster rental and pick-up
Lee Bottom Flying Field is a privately-owned public-use airport.  The airport does NOT receive Federal, State, Grant or Stimulus Funding.  Your contributions help us manage the turf, maintain operations and improve the facilities.  If you'd like to contribute to one of aviation's great escapes click here.

Thirsty for a Trip Down Memory Lane

Lee Bottom Flying Field finally got a new Coke machine and now we need your help deciding what to put in it.  This new machine has eight possible selections and we only have four filled.  So far we have Coke, Diet Coke, Diet Coke Caffeine Free, and Pepsi.  What would you put in the other four?  We have been getting many suggestions but we'd like to hear yours too.
Those of you close enough to get something from the new machine should take note of the oddly modified blue barrels near the trash cans.  These are made for recycling you empty cans.  And now for some reminiscing...
Our old Coke machine was donated to Fritz by a friend of the airport back in 1996 or 1997, which of these for sure I cannot remember.  Fritz always said that every airport should sell RC and when a machine was offered that would let him do so, he told me and our mutual friend George Pascal about it.  We then volunteered to go get it and haul it to Lee Bottom. 

I'm not sure why something like a soda machine can generate such strong memories but maybe it was because it was so important to Fritz.  Whatever the case, George and I went to Bowman Field to pick it up in George's old Ford truck and then deliver it to its new home.  It's funny, today I drive to Louisville several times a week and it seems like ten minutes, but back then I remember George and I both kept wondering when the drive would end.
I remember that drive like it was yesterday, including every little landmark Fritz told us to look for on his hand drawn map; among them was a munitions plant, a water tower, and a rocket.   But there was one more.  Drawn as a cross on the map and labeled "Marble Orchard", it turned out to be a cemetery.  This was typical of Fritz' humor and we were still laughing when we pulled up at the airport.

Having never driven to Lee Bottom, yet having visited by air at least a hundred times, this trip was somewhat like learning the code to the back door.  It is also something I'll never forget.  Frtiz was excited, were were glad to help, and in the end we each got a free RC and a Moon Pie.  I really miss that guy.

Live and Learn

Have you ever known someone who wrecked a plane? Maybe you yourself have destroyed one. Whatever the case, I can almost guarantee the reactions from both sides, pilot and public, were silly.
This past year several close friends managed to ball up a few neat old planes. Each one of them felt terrible, embarrassed, and as if they couldn't let it go. Apparently, upside down in an antique airplane is not a fun place to be but not for the reasons you would expect.

Commit an act of human error, hey we all do it, screw up, again we all do it, or even have a plane destroyed while you weren't in it and you're in for a tough time. The likely FAA checkride (why I don't know), the insurance issues, the unending questions from busy bodies, and the possible bodily injuries that come with such an accident are the least of a pilot's problems when they wreck a beautiful old plane.
What is the biggest problem a pilot has with an accident? From watching people go through it, I believe it is the internal battle with yourself as to why it happened.

Pilots, the good ones, tend to be perfectionists with unbelievably high standards for themselves. Yet all too often, perhaps due to the mentality of the aviation community as a whole, they forget they are human. Most people I know could be in several car wrecks or fender benders and think nothing of it. But if they ding a plane their self-worth and ego meet in the bar to drink each other under the table.
This behavior has long perplexed me. Why do pilots react to aviation accidents in a different manner than they would to anything else? Here is the best example I know of to explain this. A friend dies in a plane crash and a pilot never flys again. A friend dies in a car crash and everyone drives their car to the funeral. This is a truly odd behavior but we all have to admit it is very common in our community. And although I'm sure I'll never know why the aviation community is that way, what I do know is that accidents happen. Just like that poor guy in the Stearman in Washington DC, things happen and we should be able to live with them. Have an accident like that and learn nothing from it though and you have a problem.

One of my favorite quotes on this subject is from Indy Car driver Danny Sullivan. When asked why he was so successful, he said there was nothing to it, that "he was just the crazy teenage boy driving wildly around the back roads of Kentucky who survived". The moral to this quote is that you've got to do some crazy stupid things, survive, AND learn from them to get good. Live and learn.
I guess ultimately what I'm trying to say is that we should all be willing to admit accidents happen and that to point out what a person did wrong is not to say "that person is a terrible pilot". From a pilot's standpoint, we should also all be willing, when it happens to us, to say, "You know what, this is what I screwed up and this is what I could have done to prevent it" and then walk away to sleep at night. Leave the ongoing illogical punishment to the Feds and let's just all try to help each other be better pilots by learning from each other's mistakes.

But what constitutes a mistake, and what defines dangerous behavior?  This 330lb Chihuahua (I am tired of 800lb gorillas) is the question nobody seems willing to answer and admittedly, it is one of the most difficult.  Therefore, I'll try to do that in the next NORDO but for now, I'll leave you with this anecdotal wisdom.
When one friend couldn't quit beating himself up over an accident, a friend from Alaska asked him how many planes he wrecked; "one" he said, to which the well known Alaskan seaplane pilot said back "Hell, I've wrecked seven, you're just getting started."

Aviation Its Own Worst Enemy

Aviation it seems is its own worst enemy.

Yesterday I received numerous calls about a Stearman that had flipped at Reagan National and I just had to see it for myself. Yet when I went to look at it online I placed my head in my hands. You see, the circumstances leading up to the accident were rooted in the promotion of aviation. Like I said, aviation is its own worst enemy.

This reminded me of the disaster known as "The Centennial of Flight". For those that don't remember it, it was a highly orchestrated event designed to showcase movie stars, a President, aviation alphabet groups, closed airspace and the Kitty Hawk tourism commission all in an effort to promote Ken Hyde, some military test pilots, and there was one last thing, what was it, oh yes, aviation itself.
In the end, the airspace was closed because of a TFR that I believe was there to protect John Travolta, the site was standing with water from the ongoing rain, and the replica flopped into the mud on live TV. After all was said and done, it was the five seconds of the replica flopping in the mud that was aired around the world. In short, the best minds in aviation and Hollywood had produced a flop of mythical proportions. But why did this happen?

Again, aviation is its own worst enemy. Instead of a clear minded group of professionals, aviation gathered a half wit team of people who first forgot why they were there and then set out to create a huge production. Instead of building a replica that had a few slight changes to the original design that would make it likely to fly, aviation decided it should place all its eggs in a basket that belonged to an exact replica of the original aircraft, that was lucky to fly in perfect conditions, while flown by the designers themselves. In the process, Ken Hyde got a lot of attention for his attention to detail, our alphabet groups got to tell us how important they are to us, a President was able to praise the freedom of flight while all others were grounded due to John Travolta's presence, and aviation got the shaft and the ticket. It was sooo bad, you would think executives from General Motors, Chris Craft, Harley Davidson, and the Association for Bringing Back Horses to Our Streets were at the helm.  But no, it was the "best and brightest" in aviation.
Move forward to 2010 where a Stearman is seen on national TV flipping and closing down an airport critical to our country's capitol. The headlines read "Promotional Stunt Closes Airport". Untold hours went into this event designed to promote a new IMAX movie about aviation, days or months must have been spent getting TSA approval, press releases were sweat over to get them just right before they went out to any media of any size, and in the end somebody forgot to remind these pilots and their passengers "DON'T SCREW THIS UP". Unfortunately, this is all too common in aviation.

Yeah, I am the first to say accidents happen; really I am. But I also know that accidents are extremely rare when people are instructed as to how to keep an accident from happening, reminded of the importance of safety, and told they'll get their heads beat in if they screw up. My guess is that at the very most, somebody thought it would be important to brief the flight as to what order they would land and maybe some frequencies, but that's it. I can also say that when landing on Reagan National runway one with a fifteen knot headwind, there is no reason to be wheel landing, no reason to be touching the brakes, and no reason to be stacked so tight that each pilot couldn't focus on his or her landing instead of the plane in front or behind. Furthermore, there was no reason to have an inexperienced passenger on board who may or may not have had their feet on the brakes.

Sure, I know some of you will say I am over-reacting, but I have to disagree. If aviation wants to get serious about promoting aviation, it needs to take these promotional events serious enough to insure these ridiculous screw ups on live national TV quit happening.

The Myth of Flight Hours - Follow up to The Myth of Professionalism

If I were given the option to permanently affect the future of one word I think it would be “hero.” How would I change it? That’s simple; I would attach forever this statement, “Beware of false prophets.”  Unfortunately, those who make the rules for aviation have a passion for them.

The recent push for airline new hires to have a high minimum number of flight hours prior to employment is one great example.  Spewed with the greatest fervor from those who are deemed experts in aviation, this idea simultaneously stinks and perpetuates what is possibly the most well known myth of aviation; hours equals ability.  And yet, as I write this, there are more and more of the these so called experts influencing more people of power than ever before and it's up to us to stop it.  Let it go and we could have another famous quote, “Never before, have so many, done so much, with so little real knowledge, to screw so many, out of so much.”
OK folks, for those of you with a penchant for heroes, please sit down and brace yourself because what I have to share with you could be traumatic; the crew of “The Miracle in The Hudson” are among this group. But don’t fret, they are not the only ones who believe hours equal experience. Through the years, this idea has destroyed thousands of aircraft, brought the death of thousands of people, and created many sleepless nights for those in charge of aviation damage control.  Yet with all the history and all that we know about this problem, we are now being told our airline pilots need more hours before they can work for a 121 carrier. How blatantly stupid can you be?

Admittedly those with no knowledge of aviation are likely to see this as a good idea, but for someone who supposedly knows aviation to fall for this myth reveals a real lack of understanding. This leads me to the reason for my follow up on “The Myth of Professionalism.”

A great friend of mine used to say “Some have 5000 hours and some have one hour 5000 times” and he was right. He had flown civilian, military, and commercial and he knew that in the end, it is the quality of one’s flight training and experience, not hours logged that makes the pilot. Unfortunately, the training in this country has gone to crap and students no longer get any experience before joining the airlines.

So what are we to do to get better pilots?  Maybe we should air our dirty laundry.  After all, everyone knows that admitting your problem is the first step to recovery.  How about it?

Hours for jobs is an extremely poor idea. Mass production is a bad idea. And pilots flying with no real world experience is not a good idea either. What we need right now are people who are willing to stand up and speak the truth.  I was trained at a 141 school and was ripped off, military pilots are not any better than civilian pilots, and reacting to a perceived public outcry with bad ideas only causes more problems are just a few of the things I would like to hear from those who claim to know what they are talking about.  This would also show me that they are willing to admit a reality that might be uncomfortable for many different groups to face.  Give me a kid who's been flying medical specimens in Barons, single pilot, or doing the same for the FedEx feeder service in Caravans at all times of the night in all kinds of weather and I'd put him up against any airline pilot that came from the military or 141 school on any day of any year because I know the truth.  He might only have 800 hours and he might have been flying in a single crew aircraft, but he'd wipe their butts all over the cloud covered canvas in which we work.   Sadly though, it is these pilots, perhaps today's best pilots, who are being singled out by Congress, the FAA, and false prophets alike as not qualified due to their lack of hours and single crew experience.

This is a bad idea folks and I hope you take the chance to let those involved with this process know how stupid it really is.  If you manage to reach them, offer this solution to their desires.

Pull the file on every major airline accident in the last thirty years.
Find the highest pilot and note how many hours he or she had.
Require everyone flying for an airline to have a minimum of that many hours.
Fire and forbid any pilot with less hours than this to work for a 121 carrier.

Since these people are so serious about safety and they believe hours equal experience, it only makes sense that the person with the most hours of experience to ever fly a plane into the ground would set the minimum limit for new hires.  Historically speaking, no commercial pilot with more hours than that has ever had an accident and we could all feel safe that there would never be another accident; ever.


We want to thank all the people that joined in and helped us with the job of get everything out of storage and cleaned for the upcoming Sinful Sunday.  Because of all of your help and work we were able to accomplish a weeks worth of work in a day.  This was extremely helpful as personal obligations have and will be keeping both of us away from the airport more than usual this summer.  A special thanks goes out to the Bowman Eagles and the EAA chapter based at Bowman Field in Louisville for pulling together this work crew with just a few hours notice.
In addition to this great group of guys who have become our "go to" group when things "need" to be done around the airport, Crystal Korff spent one afternoon putting her professional power washing skills to use and for that we are also very grateful.  Just like the kids that once swept hangar floors for airplane rides, this UPS pilot got her first ride in a J3 Cub for putting the power washer to work on the porch floor.


Bob Allen and Howard Edwards have once again added to the usefulness and adornment of the public restroom facility we fondly call "The Outhouse" - because it is located outside of our house.  These two made and installed a sign on the outside that shows the field's name and elevation.   A BIG THANKS to these two guys . . .


During the past few weeks we've had several interesting visitors to the field.
One was a friend who had worked twenty years on a Questair Venture.  His landing here was his first on grass with the "flying egg" and it was great to see all his efforts take to the air.  The work he did on it is amazing.
Another interesting visit was with a couple who flew here in their Champ that once belonged to another Lee Bottom Flying Field family member.  It seems the Champ missed the place and insisted they come here before they could go home.
Then there was this Cub that was flown in by two friends.  One of the guys had owned it since the 60's and back in the early 70's it was sitting disassembled when a tornado passed by and sucked all the tail feathers out the door.  Over time, two of them were found with the third going missing in action.  The rest of the plane sat in storage until 1980 when the owner decided to put it back together.  Needing the third tail feather though, his search led him to Lee Bottom and the aircraft salvage operation that once existed here.  Fortunately, they had just what he needed and his recent visit marked his first time back to the airport.  I must say, it was really neat to see a nice yellow Cub flying around with a little bit of Lee Bottom history attached to it.
And then there was the Highlander that came in just yesterday.  This machine was very well built and finished but the most exciting thing was the new Sport Pilot at the controls.  The owner was so excited to be flying and in his very own Highlander that it was difficult to not be excited ourselves.  I wish there were thousands more like him.

Introducing Gilmore - Need a Kitten?

Over a month ago, Ginger found a three week old kitten on the runway.  How it got there, we don't know.  It was also so young it couldn't walk, it still had blue eyes, and it was likely to die.  This didn't deter Ginger though, and she sat out to raise it by hand.  For a while there it was even like having child as she had to get up at all hours of the night to feed and take care of it.

Today though, this once pitiful little kitten is seven weeks old, full of energy, and brave enough to sleep in a dog's bowl.  As you can imagine, by necessity, he gets along and plays very well with dogs and cats.  Over the past few weeks, he's slept with, played with, and managed at some point or other to corral each of our dogs and even Meatball our cat.  It's really quite entertaining to watch.  Unfortunately, we are out of room.

If you know anyone who would like a terrific cat, send them our way.  He's house broken, uses a scratching post, and insists on sleeping in the most comfortable bed in the house.  He's now also had his first visit to the vet and first round of shots.

But beware, this is not a cat that will leave our house due to the whim.  Anyone who would like to provide a great home to Gilmore will have to pass our "sniff" test.  We would also like for him to go somewhere we could get visitation rights.  After all, this kitten follows in the footsteps of a famous Indiana resident of years gone by.

For those who don't know the name Roscoe Turner, he was a legendary air race pilot from Indiana.  His world famous sidekick was "Gilmore", an African Lion.

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