Friday, March 25, 2011

Stranded in Sparta

Half way to Sun 'n Fun, thumb typing on my iPhone, we're sitting in the same place we've been in - the comfy lounge at friendly FBO, Sparta Aero Services - since 8 this morning.
It's 3:30 now.
Allow me one small comic book growl of anguish: aarghh.
Situation: 8:00 a.m.

Thanks, that feels better.
Our erstwhile Cub Crew, ably led by aviation Whiz Kid Amy Getsch who's interning in marketing at Dakota Cub, the Super Cub replica kit and certified maker, flew down this far yesterday, landed right around sunset after a lovely, mottled-sun trek at a leisurely 90 mph all the way at an average 3000 feet.
400 miles down, we stopped for a late lunch and picked up some reinforcements: two gents also en route to Florida, each flying their J3's.
Dick Pattschull of Iowa City and George Armstrong of Omaha, Nebraska launched, just after we got back from lunch, from Fulton Co., Mo.'s Hensley Airport.
We hurried along, Amy and I, in the Dakota Super 18 LT she calls Little Airplane, and the identically painted Super 18 she calls Big Airplane (it has a 180 hp engine; the LT has a C90 that puts out 113 hp).
Situation: 5:15 p.m.
 Big Airplane is being flown by Dave "Speedy" Richardson, AKA the Resident Gypsy, a conundrum that describes his rooted history in Sioux Falls and his love of long XC flights.
Amy talks to "her" - Little Airplane - as if she were a beloved horse - there's even a little stuffed panda bear riding along in the wing root with a great bird's eye view of the tandem cockpit and what's a comin' too.
Half an hour later we slowly overtook the pokier J3s and pressed on toward Sparta.
Clouds to the east spread a long gray somber note to the end of the days flying
Dick, after a comm miscue, landed several miles south of Sparta. We looped back trying to find Speedy, who could transmit but not receive.
We finally touched down in a murky dusk. I was impressed with how easy the big 26" bush tires and stout tailwheel soaked up my landing imperfections
Up at 6 the next morning, we ate and headed to the field. Eight hours later, still here. More bad weather en route. I may have to hop a winged beer can from nearby St Louis if we get stuck.
And I say again: arrgh.

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