A Letter to my Friends
I am posting from the Ultralight barn at Oshkosh '96 and will not
be able to repond to email until I return on Thursday, but I wanted
to share this story I wrote about one of my flights.
A LETTER TO MY FRIENDS
by Dan J. Grunloh EAA 173888
My most memorable flight ever, took place this Friday, August 2nd
at the EAA Oshkosh convention and it is permamently etched in my
mind. I am thinking that the "Red Shirts" (the volunteers who run
the airshow), must be having a tough time and are probably missing
the services of their long time airboss, Mr. Hilliard. It's a very
tough job I'm sure, but instead of running 15-30 minutes late on
the airshow, they are an hour and 15 minutes overtime. There have
been numerous dedication to his memory at this convention.
The pilots in the Ultralight/LightPlane area have been briefed
and ready to fly since 6:00-6:15 but it is almost 7:20 before
we get the go ahead. Incredibly, as we are signalled to taxi
forward for takeoff, a small grey cloud begins to produce very light
rain on our end of the airport. Are we really going to takeoff in
rain? Some pilots pull over and others make strange questioning
hand signals to the flagman. It's a little like the Twilight Zone.
There's barely enough sprinkles to settle the dust, no wind, and
the little cloud hardly seems threatening, so off we go. I catch a
lively wind gust right at lift off (as do a couple ultralights
behind me) but it's not a problem.
As I reach our Oshkosh pattern altitude of 300 ft.AGL, a glance to
the east reveals a beautiful DOUBLE RAINBOW which frames the
background of Wittman Airport with it's thousands of airplanes.
It's so pefect, it looks like a huge painting, except this one has
engine sounds, rushing air, and tiny little raindrops on my
goggles. We 30-40 ultralight and lightplane pilots watch this
incredible sight for about 20 minutes as we fly around our
racetrack pattern. I learn later that some claim they had seen a
faint third rainbow making it a rare triple.
I cannot possible describe in mere words the feelings, sensations,
and pure beauty of this sight. You have to experience it yourself.
During this flight I am suddenly struck with the sensation that
this rainbow is for Charlie Hilliard,... or from him!
My hobby of flying has become so much more moving and inspiring
than I ever suspected was possible. It is the people in Sport
Aviation, like Charlie, who have made it so. Thanks very much.
Daniel Grunloh (email@example.com)
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