|Beaumont, Kansas Breakfast Flight
Suddenly the alarm clock buzzed me out a pleasant sleep at 5:00 AM as it did three other pilots in
various local towns who the previous day had agreed to attend Beaumont's monthly fly-in
breakfast. For some crazy reason, two of the pilots, Brian Fitzgerald and Chris Duncan decided we
should take off from the airport at sunrise. Here in South Central Kansas, that means 6:25 AM
Dutifully, we all met at the Selby
Aerodrome in Haysville, KS
about 6:00 and methodically went
about our pre-flight routines amid
some subdued conversation.
During pre-flight time, our
conversation is minimized to avoid
interfering with the concentration
needed for this important task.
|At 6:20 the heavy metal clam shell hangar door creaked open, its electric motor whining as it turned
the cable spindles. Once completely open to the rising sun, four planes were pushed out onto the
grass and lined up abreast to await engine starts. Within a few minutes the dawn silence was
shattered at the sound of three 2-stroke engines and one 4-stroker combining their exhaust notes into
a cacophony of noise.
First Brian then Chris took off closely followed
by Bill Bailey and myself, Paul Fiebich. Soon
we were strung out in trail as we crossed the
Arkansas River on a heading of 83 degrees
with Beaumont about 60 miles ahead. Over the
radio crackled Bill who wanted to know whose
bright idea it was to go in this direction and fly
into the sun? Couldn't we have found a fly-in
restaurant on a 270 degree heading?
We had our fingers crossed hoping that no
Huns would be diving at us out of the sun
because we were blinded by it. None did, we
guessed they were sleeping in this Saturday
|Brian flies his Quicksilver MX Sport in point
position because he was the slowest plane.
Flying into the sunrise is hard on the eyes.
Taking our positons in a diamond formation
was Brian in his Quicksilver MX Sport at
point, me in my AirBike was about 200
yards behind and 100 feet above him. Half
way between us and 100 yards to the left
was Bill in his red Mini-Max while mirroring
him on the right was Chris in his yellow
Mini-Max. Cruising about 40 mph at 800
feet AGL, we droned on towards breakfast
with an occasional break in the radio silence
to check that everyone was doing OK. We
were. During our in-flight communications
we used 122.75 frequency
|Sunbeams blasted through a hole in the sky as the four
of us flew Eastward beginning our flight over the Flint
|Flying into the sun are Brian on the right and Bill in
the distance. Air speed is 38 mph due to maintaining
formation with the slow Quicksilver MX Sport.
|Paul's AirBike took the lead for awhile,
Chris made this a photo opportunity