Gathering of Eagles 2011
Page 3
This is the place to be to learn about WWI  airplanes. I met a fellow from Florida and another from Ohio who came
specifically to see what others are doing with their replicas.  Everyone has something  different and unique about
their aerial steeds; it could be a chain-saw starting motor, automotive engine with a re-drive, paint scheme,
construction method, detailed fairing or simulated machine guns. Most planes had display panels describing them
while offering “business cards” and other literature.
Nieuport strut fairing
Twp cylinder engine with re-drive
Suszuki engine with geared re-drive on
Fokker D-VIII
Fokker D-VIII engine run
Sharon  Starks' plane was a real popular display, her Morane is an eye catcher with its paint scheme and low rpm
Generac motor.  She is an excellent ambassador for women fliers.  And how lucky her husband Dick is that they both
share the same activity.  Sharon’s  plane was used in the movie, Amelia---a lifelong exposure of the famous aviatrix’s
aviation adventures.

By 4:00 PM I was refueled, flight plan
filed and ready to go home. Taking
runway 17 I was going to enjoy the
3370 foot long spread of sod in front of
me. I kept the plane on the ground
until its speed reached 45 mph (well
past its normal 30 mph takeoff speed)
then I lifted off with authority and
pointed the  nose towards Emporia.  A
10 mph tailwind helped push me along
but speed is relative when there are no
cars below to use as a reference.  I
was flying diagonally across farmland,
in Kansas most roads go north and
south or east and west. I WAS,
however, outpacing the combines
gleaning wheat from the fields!
Having flown this route many times, I didn't turn on the
GPS.  What a feeling of comfort to fly over familiar
territory and not worrying if I was lost---again.
“But then,
are you lost if you really don't care  where you are?”
thought to myself. The wind had picked up as I landed at
Emporia, I did not know what lay ahead in the next 80
miles though. I would soon find out and that would notch
up the pucker factor. Refueling finished, I bought a cool
Pepsi and watched the weather report on the FBO's
TV---Storms rapidly approaching my destination---
get going.

When filing my flight plan I noted two alternate airports in case I didn't beat the approaching weather. One was El
Dorado (EQA) and the other Augusta (3AU).  Although I was in bright afternoon sunshine, I could see cumulus clouds
building way off to my left front quarter.  This caused me concern and I firmed up the decision to use the alternates if
necessary.  Passing the Matfield Green service area on I-35, I noticed that I was going faster than the turnpike traffic.  
“Wow, that's unusual”  Turning on the GPS it displayed my ground speed at 82 mph!  “Yikes,” I was getting a good
boost from that trailing wind.
Marking the cloud with a position on my aircraft I could see that I was gaining on the storm.  If things went well I
would arrive at Selby Aerodrome (35KS) before it did. That was comforting. Then things started going better than
“well.”  Near Lake El Dorado as I flew at 4,500 feet AGL, I turned on the GPS and discovered I was now traveling 96
I would make the aerodrome ahead of the storm without a doubt---pucker factor relaxed considerably.
Sunshine breaking through the clouds
Approaching Lake El Dorado,
I follow the highway
Scary lookin' cloud building about 20
miles away
That SLC is looking to be a lot closer!  
And it is moving towards my
Zooming over Towanda and then the
edge of  Augusta Airport, the storm
was now to my left and about 20 miles
away.  That was my minimum comfort
zone.  Swinging west of McConnell Air
Force Base I descended to 2000 feet
AGL and into turbulent air. Skirting
Derby on its east and south sides, I
soon crossed the Arkansas River and
Selby Aerodrome came into view.  
Sighting the windsock as I flew directly
over the runway's midpoint, the best
landing direction appeared to be
runway 35.  
PAGE 5 Pacific Flyer