Tuesday, June 24, 2008

J.W. French update - June 24, 2008

Woody and Mary Haston accepted the challenge of getting these tired old bones up and at 'em early this morning. Temperature was 71 F. I was in the air by 7:30 and climbing out for Van Horn, TX. I made one circle around the Alpine Airport and was able to climb out direct to Van Horn. The mountains are still a new experience for me and

I am glad that there are big wide valleys between them. Landed at Los Cruses, NM for fuel and they are now in first place in the "Hall of Shame" for the price of fuel ($5.69/gal.) If I could have made Lordsburg, NM it was $4.20. Winds were still light and right down runway 12. I greased it on way out where nobody could see it. Trouble with the credit card caused a little delay and then I was on my way.

I'm now seeing serious stretches of "nothing there" so I tried to stay within gliding distance of I10. Gut check time at Cochise, when I had to leave the highway and fly up the San Pedro River valley to San Manuel (77). Big wide valley with serious mountains on each side and no place to go if the engine takes a dump. San Manuel is an old company town built by Del Webb for the copper mine employees. The mines have been closed for some time now so the air quality is great. Nice runway and I arrived at noon before the afternoon winds kicked up. That's noon Mountain Standard Time because Arizona doesn't recognize Daylight Savings Time.

I now have claimed my 39th state. Mark Rhoads and Britta Penca were there to meet me. We had lunch with a group from Chapter 1406 at the country club and then visited several projects. I saw Max Wood's magnificent Mustang II which is nearly finished. It has a retractable tricycle gear with a razor back cabin and a T18 windshield and gull wing doors. It has a turbocharged TIO-360 Lycoming with a constant speed prop, and a panel full of steam gages. What a beautiful airplane.

Mark and Britta both have gyrocopters, and I had a tour of their hangar and projects. Britta has a private helicopter rating and a sport pilot gyrocopter rating and will start fixed-wing instrument training in October.Their ranch is about two miles from the airport as the crow flies, but seven miles by road. The views from the house are spectacular.

The chapter is having a potluck dinner tonight to celebrate the SBMJ 2008 visit. The hospitality of the EAA Chapters and my hosts have really made this trip a pleasure. I'll check in again tomorrow from Casa Grande, AZ.

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