Text Box: April 1st thru 3rd - The First Annual April Foolin’ Fly-In!

What a party we had!

The First April Foolin’ Fly-In was a huge success.  Thank you to all who attended.  We had a lot of food, a lot of fun and (thankfully) enough calm air for everyone to fly.

We started out on Friday morning with the powered parachute pilots at sun-up.  The air was dead calm right as the sun rose over the horizon.  I woke up early to go out and have fun with them.  We took to the skies and flew for a good hour before the wind put an end to “low ‘n slow” aircraft until that evening.

Many of our powered parachute friends had already arrived on Thursday and we had a line of 7 or 8 RV’s parked in our overnight area.  One of the things that I plan on doing in the future is putting in a few “full service” RV parking spots - complete with power and water.  For this fly-in, we had two RV electrical hookups, one 30amp and one 20amp, for our friends.  Look for more to be completed in the near future!

Our fixed-wing guests and campers started arriving shortly after noon.  While I helped get everyone situated, Rachael had the hard job - she was cooped up in the trailer cooking a wonderful supper that appealed to my Louisiana roots - red beans and rice and dirty rice.

This was to be our first fly-in where we invited the local community.  We had put notices in the local newspapers and community websites - inviting everyone to come out and see what we were doing and to enjoy the camaraderie that aviation provided.  I was happy to see many of them show up to see what the hoopla was all about.  We welcomed everyone.

If you’ve been reading the history of this website, you’ll have seen that we acquired two bounce houses in an online auction purchase.  We had both of the bounce houses up and had also put in a horseshoe area for our guests.  They all proved to be popular.  The children wore themselves out in the bounce houses and the grownups were regularly throwing horseshoes.

On Friday evening, we had a live band - “The BILS”.  They were some good friends of ours, mostly professional musicians, who came over to jam for us.  They were a very talented group and kept us entertained while we enjoyed our south Louisiana fare of cajun rice, boudin and red beans and rice.  My wife, Rachael, brought out her fiddle and joined in with them on a few songs.  One of our friends, Joe, flew in on Friday afternoon with a margarita machine.  He plugged it in and got it going for us.  Joe would come back on Saturday with his girlfriend to stay with us, but he made a special trip out on Friday to get the party REALLY started early.  Thanks, Joe!

 

In the evening before the band started playing, the winds had died down again and the PPC crowd had taken over the airspace again.  I went up also and enjoyed a little air-time with my friends.  Some of my other pilot friends had the opportunity to fly my Phantom X1 ultralight.  We had a great time and the band rocked!

Saturday morning dawned bright and early with the sound of PPC engines again filling the air.  One of the things that I wanted to do was hold some competitions for the attendees.  Although we started off fairly well that morning, the wind comes up fast this time of year.  After only three or four competitors had made their runs, the wind was blowing too hard for safe flying, so we called it off and landed all of the powered parachutes until the evening.  We had quite a few people show up to watch the events, however, and the sides of the runway was filled with curious folk who’d stopped by to see what was happening.

 

There were some humorous events during the competition.  The spot-landing contest proved to be more difficult than it looked and one of our competitors (who shall remain nameless Frank Noe - so don’t worry that we’ll “out” you) killed a stuffed teddy bear when he was a little careless while taking it out of his goodie bag to drop.  It went right through his prop.  We just heard the “pppphhhbbttt” of the poor teddy and then a snowfall of fluff that was once the bear’s stuffing floating down around us.

 

More and more people continued to arrive.  The local volunteer fire department came over with a couple of their trucks and set them up by the tent.  We had welcomed them over earlier and were happy to present them with a part of our donation box.  Although we don’t charge for attending our fly-ins (or eating our food), we do graciously and humbly accept donations to help offset the cost of these events.  So we leave a donation box on the table for anyone who desires to help us out.

 

It was fairly windy for most of the day on Saturday and I was beginning to despair of getting the PPCs back in the air.  Some more of our friends had driven in on Saturday and were sitting around watching the windsock.  Finally, about 45 minutes before the sun set, the sock finally gave up and laid down.  It was like the Exodus (big “E”).  Almost every PPC in attendance headed out to the runway, set up and headed into the air.  They flew until it was totally dark.  Scott Hughes was there with his garish bright yellow Predator and he spent most of his time taking friends up for their first PPC ride.

After dinner and all the flying had finished, the karaoke began.  I have a kickin’ karaoke system - with over 45,000 songs on a laptop system.  It’s always been a popular thing for us and that night was no exception.  The singer queue was almost always quite long and everyone had a great time.  In fact, it was so popular that we didn’t give it up until 2am.  The hard core group was quite large and we all had to sing a couple of encores’ before I could finally run everyone off to bed.  I’m not sure, but I think the margarita machine was a prime suspect in helping people get up on the stage and give their vocal talents a chance to shine (some better than others, but all were great for just getting up to sing!).

It was a GREAT fly-in.  We had a lot of people show up to party with us.  Some drove in from as far as Arizona and Tennessee.  Jerry Stallings flew back again from Vidalia, Louisiana and camped out under his airplane again.  “Margarita” Joe and his girlfriend, Angie, also camped out under their plane.

 

Sunday morning’s wind was howling much to strong for the PPCs to get back in the air.  Their time at this fly-in was over.  In fact, the wind was up towards 25 mph by noon time.  Our friends who flew in made their goodbyes, packed up their tents and headed out.  Our drive-in friends put away their PPCs, packed up their camp and set out for home.

 

Thanks to all who came to have fun with us at our first fly-in of the year.  We’re happy that Mother Nature cooperated and gave us ONE good weekend.  The rest of April ended up being rainy and wet every.single.weekend after that.  We were lucky that we weren’t “April fooled” for our first event.  It was a great time and we’ll do it again soon!

Text Box: The rest of April - Wet, Windy and Unseasonably Cold!

The rest of April was a weird month!  March is usually “in like a lion, out like a lamb”.  April was more lion than lamb.  Where it was dry and warm the previous year, this year was totally different.  Temperatures were down in the low 50’s for most of the month and it rained almost every weekend.  If it wasn’t raining on the weekend, the wind was blowing over 20mph.  We would have had to cancel our fly-in if it had been scheduled for any other weekend than when we had it.

The weather was so inclement that we were not able to do anything for the rest of the month.  After cleaning up from the fly-in, we took the next week off to recuperate.  Unfortunately, the wind wouldn’t lay down.  Because it was quite a job to take them down, we’d left our big party tents up.  I worried a lot that our expensive tents would be destroyed by the howling wind.  Although they were made to take a beating (and we’d staked them down with some heavy duty rebar and extra heavy duty rope) the frames were starting to bend under the pressure.  So, after watching the wind blow for two weeks, we went out and took them down.  It was quite a task for two people to take down what amounted to a huge sail, but Walt L. and I got it done.

One of our big “milestone” times came when April 22nd passed again.  That marked exactly one year since we’d started the task of rebuilding Taylor Airport.  We’re finished with the clean-up phase and are now well into the “improvement” phase of operations.

That was pretty much it for the rest of April.  The wet ground didn’t even let us do any mowing until well into May.