Went to an excellent fly-in Saturday. I was late going out of the house;
so late that, even while picking up chips for the 'bring a dish' lunch,
I thought I should have grabbed a desert item!
To the airport, get the covers off, look the bird over and launch for the
active. Courtesy took over for better judgement, and I let a Cessna 150
taxi out in front of me. Should have known that a student was on board.
Sure enough, they paused for a l-o-o-o-n-g time (at least long for a
hungry pilot ...) Asked on the radio if they would be a while. They said
yes, so I taxied around.
Look in the pattern, key the mike; "EvergreenTraffic, AirKoop2129Hotel taking
runway28Right ForDeparture" and away I went. Circle the field to the left,
and out the "slot." Evergreen is surrounded by Class C airspace, so one
departs to the NE for a ways. Turn right to the top of Lacamas Lake, fly
down the lake, change frequency; "TroutdaleTower, AirKoop2129Hotel Would
LikeToTransitYourAirspace, OneThousandFiveHundred feet, North to South."
With clearence granted, I set up for a southerly heading. Maintained the
1500 feet MSL over the center of Troutdale, then climbed slowly as I left
the Class C airspace behind. Now to find Lenhardts.
Had flown in there during my student days, usually from Aurora, which is
just a short hop away. Remembered seeing another 150 go in, so thought I
would just follow. When I rolled onto final, there was that 150 again -
heading right at me! Found out later that the practice there is to land
uphill (twords the school) and take off down hill ...
Lessee here ... There's Canby, and that must be 99E headed south. That
water tower is Hubbard, so Lenhardts is to the left some where. Tally Ho -
Ultralights ten o'clock!
Fitting in with the lighter set can be a bit of a trick, so I went about it
in a cautious manner. First figure which way they are landing. Then fit
into the flow. Many times I was impressed with the `coupes field of vision.
The guy doing the hammer head in what I thought should be the pattern area
caused me to loose track of the field for a bit. Then there were the birds
that people parked too close to the runway for my tastes. Took three trys,
but I got it on the ground in good fashion. At least good enough so I was
not met by a committee (hot tar, feathers, long board, ... )
Parked at the end of the general aviation line, and was impressed by the
HUGE number of planes on that field. Western Oregon has a lot of rain, but
all that was forgotten today. Clear skys and a limp wind sock!
First things first. Asked a guy with a hamberger "Which way's the food?"
There wasn't any line when I got there - some virtue to being late, I guess.
Added my taco chips and salsa to the goodies available, it was appreciated.
They had the usual summer fare; hot dogs, hambergers, chips, water melon,
some delicious brownies and soda. It was all very tasty; they may fly
ultra lights, but they sure go heavy grub. Found some coffee in the ops
office to wash down desert, and I was set.
Over heard some one say "Oh, Atry ..." and took the opportunity to
introduce myself to Arty Trost, another outstanding contributor to this
esteamed list. Hard to make that "good first impression" though with a
plate overflowing with food that you can't wait to dive into ... Hi, Arty!
The inner man satisfied, I trooped the line. Saw that there were other
planes like mine there, including my buddy from the Oregon Ercoupe Wing.
Left him a note in the venturie just to let him know I made it in.
Talked to a gent that had flown his trike in from Albany. I had felt the
light trubulance coming down, so told him it may be a bit bouncy going
back south. We discussed trikes for a bit, and I was impressed with the
construction of his.
I am always intreagued with the small sizes of the engines I see at these
gatherings. The liquid cooled Rotax engines look positive microscopic
compared to that fins-going-in-all-directions thing under my cowl. You
know what the fan in the front of the plane is for? Keeping the pilot
cool. If you don't think so, just watch `em sweat when it stops ...
Wish I had hard numbers, but I don't. Arty said that she tries to get
`em every year, but there is so much happening that she just looses track.
I noted two MiniMax types, a couple of gyrocopters and trikes, three or
four Kolb variants, plus the Drifters, Hurricanes, HiTeks and a hiper
bipe. I'd say on the order of twenty ultralights. Plus two T-craft,
a Piper high wing, a Cessna 150 and my Ercoupe. People? My eye says there
may have been upwards of sixty. Next time I'll come early with a clip
There were flying contests, and the winners were announced as I walked back
and forth. Talked to Arty and many other fine flying types a bit, then
headed back to my plane to go. Hated to leave, but the temperature was
getting up and there are a few high trees that I'd just as soon avoid.
Watched the 150 depart down hill. He held it below the trees to give
every one a thrill, then zoom climbed it away. He was about the last one
leaving that way, for the wind had started a definate trend in the other
direction. I know I debated the merits of up hill (not that much, but ...)
verses down. Then the ultraligts started landing up hill, so ...
With some trepidation, I taxied down to the end. The persons coming in
were so nice with their radio usage. Took the runway (and as much of it as
was available, I might note) after one landed.
Brakes on, full power, brakes off. Common, baby ... 40 MPH, 55 MPH, and the
nose wheel shimmies. Raise nose. Just enough, not too much. No rudder, so
no nose wheel means no stearing. 29H grabs ground effect and the air speed
rockets. Whatta Rush!
Turning left to the down wind, I see that the N-3 Pup has followed me. I
think back to Hindersonville, NC, in 1984, when there was so much ultra
light activity there. Still would like to fly one of the J-3 Kittens that
came out of that town. I still think that they are one of the most
attractive planes that have come out of the ultra light movement.
The flight back was usual, yet unusual. The nice weather, you know. Landed
and gassed up - 6.8 gallons for just over an hours flight. Tied down and
called it a day.
Conclusion: Many Cudos to ultra light flyers of Oregon. It looked like a
fun event, heavely attended and good food. Should any on this list ever
chance by the "upper left" corner of the USA, drop on by. This fly-in
occurs every year in mid May. Enjoy!
Percy G. Wood
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