Monday, February 27, 2006

Flying in Texas, January/February 2006

In late January and early February, I was in Texas. I had to go down for a funeral and while I was there I drove down to fly with Jim Louvier. Jim runs Apache Ranch, an exotic game ranch near Junction, Texas. If you've never seen the hill country of Texas, you've missed some beautiful scenery. Apache Ranch has a 3,000 foot paved runway but Jim has made his own RC runways in a large pasture. He has two runways crossing each other. He keeps both runways rolled and mowed! I took my Phoenix Models Giles 202 and my son's Alpha Trainer with me. With the wheel pants on the Giles, I didn't dare try flying it off the grass. I did have a great time flying the Alpha and shooting some touch and goes.

My brother went with me and the evening before, we drove over toward Marfa, Texas to see the Marfa mystery lights. If you ever get out to the Big Bend area of Texas, check out these mysterious lights. So far, no one has been able to come up with a plausible explanation of what they may be. There have been several that have made hypotheses but none of them really check out. My brother and I sat and watched the lights move around for a couple of hours. Reportedly, these lights have been seen since at least the time of the first white settler in the area in 1883!

At Apache Ranch, Jim flew and let me fly his Ugly Stick. His airplaneis over ten years old, weighs in at thirteen pounds and is powered by an O.S. Max .91. The Stick flies great! Not many people can say they are still flying the same airplane after more than ten years! My brother and I really appreciated Jim and his wife, Jo's kindness and friendliness. When we got to the ranch, Jo had cooked up some lunch which was very nice. We saw all kinds of deer while we were on the ranch. It looks like it would be a great place to get that once in a lifetime deer! I had planned on staying longer but my brother had to get back home so he could get to work the next day. Next time, I plan on spending at least a couple of days flying at Apache Ranch.

A few days later, I was about 400 miles away at my Dad's and I flew with Alvin Byers. Alvin went to school with my younger brother. His dad, Benny used to work together some in the construction industry around Spearman, Texas. I used to fly at the airport in Spearman with Don Piatt. Don taught me to fly years and years ago. We were about the only RC pilots in Spearman for a long time. Don Rice of Borger, Texas trained Alvin to fly. Don was the first man I ever knew that had an RC camera plane and that was at least 25 years ago! He also hadone of the first RC helicopters I ever saw. Alvin is doing great and is flying oneof my favorites, a Kaos! And, boy is that thing a screamer! My Giles 202 with the O.S. .61 is fast but it won't keep up with Alvin's Kaos. Alvin is flying his Kaos with an O.S. .46 with a muffler from Performance Specialties. He said the muffler made all the difference in speed on the Kaos. It is quite impressive!

While we were flying on our good second day, Robert Reed was at the airport and was about to take his homebuilt airplane up for a flight. I graduated from High School with Robert's sister, Stephanie. Robert's airplane looks GREAT! At the time I took these photos, he had a total of eight hours on his plane. He said it took him about a year to build. I was sure glad I was able to get a few good days of flying in while I was in Texas. Usually, in the Texas panhandle, the wind blows so much you are limited as to when you can fly but things worked out well on this trip!
Jay Mc

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