Text Box: August, 2011 - Getting ready for a Fly-In!!

It’s been another hot month so far, but we’re working smart.  We have to prepare for our second annual Middle Finger Fly-In.  This year, I think that I’ve made a mistake having it a month earlier - on the Labor Day weekend instead of in October when things have started to cool off.  But we’ll still have a good time.

August 15, 2011 - Time to cool off a bit.

Texas is going through one of the worst droughts in many years.  The land is reflecting the lack of water.  Almost all of the Bermuda grass that we’d worked so hard to give root has dried up and died.  All we could really do is watch it.  Lake Tawakoni is seriously down.  We’re not exactly on the edge of a finger of the lake anymore since the water’s edge has moved almost a mile away.

I should have thought of this earlier because it would have made the heat much more bearable.  I went online and bought an 18’ temporary pool.  I put it up a couple weeks before the fly-in and started filling it up.  We didn’t even have it more than half full before Rachael and I jumped in to cool off from the heat.  :-)

We would end up spending a LOT of time in that pool before the summer was over.

September 1st, 2011 thru September 5th - The Second Annual Middle Finger Fly-In


I had hoped that the oppressive heat would have abated when I set the dates for the fly-in back in early June.  The first MF Fly-In was held in the first weekend of October.  I thought that we’d try to have it a month earlier over the Labor Day weekend.  I figured that the temperatures would start to drop off from the 100 degree mark by the time that September rolled around.


Boy, was I wrong!


The temps averaged 105 degrees for the whole weekend and there was actually some heavy winds forecasted for Monday, September 5th (Labor Day).  The temperatures in the Dallas area would end up breaking the record for the most 100+ degree days in a single year.  We also broke records for the most consecutive 100+ degree days.  It was a scorcher of a summer.


We set up the tents and started making our final preparations.  We were actually ahead of schedule for our prep work and, by the weekend before the fly-in, we were completely ready!  All we had left to do was put up the tents.


One of the biggest changes that we made was in the food preparation department.  In all of our previous events, Rachael had done ALL of the cooking and meal preparation.  We had provided all of the meals for everyone.  This time, our neighbor Glen Farley (who lives just up the road from the airport) offered to help.  He would get his local Boy Scout troop to handle one of our meals and the Trestle Lodge (which is the charity organization for the Bole’s Home orphanage) would be responsible for cooking a few more meals.  They would charge a reasonable rate per plate and would (hopefully) make some money for their respective charities.


Rachael was ecstatic!  She wouldn’t have to spend her whole weekend in the kitchen and could actually enjoy it a little more.  The only meal that we were going to have to prepare was Thursday night’s meal.  We made that a “pot luck” affair and everyone contributed a food dish.  It turned out well.


The first day of the fly-in was officially on Thursday, September 1st.  Some of our friends started showing up much earlier, however.  Bill Holmes pulled in with his RV and trailer on the prior weekend and got the choice of parking spots.  He took the only extra 30 amp power hookup and made himself at home.  We were happy to see him.


Others started arriving on Wednesday and the shaded camping area that I had worked so hard to create started filling up quickly.  Everyone was trying their best to find a shady spot for their RV’s and campers.  I was happy that we were able to keep almost everyone out of the worst of the heat.


On Thursday night, we had a “group birthday party” for all of the September birthdays.  September 1st was my birthday.  Since there were quite a few other pilots who were born in my month, we decided to have a “September group birthday party”.  After supper, all of the people born in September were brought up front where we were forced to “sing for our cake”.  I won’t scare anyone with the details, but it wasn’t a pretty sight.  :-)


Here are some pics from the first day of the Second Annual Middle Finger Fly-In!

Text Box: Last two weeks of August, 2011 - Adding some shade!

We worked hard to mow and clean up the property for the fly-in.  After I got the pool set up, I realized that the temperatures were not going to break any time soon and that it would be a VERY hot event.  There was a stand of large oak trees at the north-east corner of the property.  They had never been landscaped and the growth was so thick that you couldn’t see through the trees.  I made the mistake of starting to try and clean up one tree.  It took a couple of hours of hot work with a chainsaw, but it looked pretty nice after I was done.  The problem was that there were seven or eight other just as large (or larger) trees that also could use a clean-up job.

I could see that, if the trees were trimmed up, it would make an excellent camping spot for our RV visitors.  They could park under the shade and stay out of the heat.  It took us the better part of two weekends, but we finally got the trees cleaned up and had created some excellent shaded parking/camping areas for our guests.  The only thing left to do was have a fly-in!
Text Box: Friday, September 2nd - Rocky would have been horrified!

It was a great day for flying light sport and powered parachutes.  The winds were almost non-existent and we flew on Friday morning until we ran out of fuel and had to come back.  The heat quickly began to rise and almost everyone headed back to the pool to stay cool - “almost” everyone.  The wives borrowed my car and drove into the city to go shopping while the men stayed and enjoyed the ring pool.

The Boy Scout troop came and set up their tents on the west side of the glade on Friday afternoon.  After they’d got ready for their campout, they went right to work preparing Friday night’s meal.  The troop did an outstanding job and we were VERY happy with the food (and Rachael was very, very happy that she didn’t have to cook).

After the meal, we turned on the karaoke machine and everyone started having a great time.  Once again, we’d invited the general public and a number of people from the community had joined the fun.  We even had a couple of ladies who had been shopping in town stop by when they heard all the noise to see what was happening!  We invited them to stay for a while and they sang a song or two before heading home to put away their groceries.

By 11pm, the effects of alcohol was starting to affect everyone who were drinking (which was just about everyone).  I had scheduled a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I had intended to show the movie on our big outdoor blowup movie screen, but a higher-than-normal late night wind just wouldn’t lay down.  So we put up our secondary screen inside the tent and got things ready for a midnight showing.

This was to be an “audience participation” event.  If you’ve never attended a midnight showing of the RHPS while you were in college, you missed quite an event.  I provided the rice, water guns and “toast” (ok… so we didn’t actually take the time to toast the bread) and started to brief everyone who had never done this how it worked.

Upon receiving their water guns, the cajun crowd immediately started shooting each other without waiting for the movie to start.  Once their water guns were emptied, they’d run over to the pool and refill their ammo.  Unfortunately, once a few people got shot in the ear with a water gun, they started throwing their rice at the offending shooter.  The whole place digressed into an impromptu food fight and most of the supplies had been exhausted before I could actually get the movie started!

(You can’t take rednecks anywhere…)

The movie started promptly at midnight.  Those that had managed to keep from breaking (or emptying) their water guns shot up everyone else during the rain storm and others scooped up rice from the tables and chairs to fling during the wedding scene.  I have no idea what happened to the toast, but the coons were probably pretty happy that night.  After watching about an hour of the movie, the inebriated partiers got sleepy and headed off to their RV’s and campers to sleep it off.  We never made it through the whole movie...

September 3rd thru 5th - “The Rest of the Fly-In”


On Saturday morning, the skies were again dead calm and all of the powered parachute group headed up into the air.  GA arrivals started to pick up.  They would continue to come and go all day.  I believe that the heat kept away many of the people who had contacted me and inquired about the event, but we still had a good gathering.


The boy scouts got busy cooking breakfast while we were up flying the PPCs.  I came back in, landed and offered to take up any scout that could get permission from his father.  Since there were quite a few fathers there, I ended up taking 10 or 12 scouts up for a quick flight around the area.  After that, I took up a number of fathers, also.  Everyone who wanted to fly in a powered parachute had the opportunity to see the airport from the air.


As the mercury began to climb in the thermometer, we all headed back towards the pool to try and stay cool.  Once again, the ladies borrowed my car and went back into the city to shop, leaving us guys to fend for ourselves.


It was another successful fly-in.  During the day, we stayed in the pool.  During the evenings, the PPCs went flying.  I took up my Comanche and “showed off” on Saturday, making high speed passes over the runway to the delight of the attendees.  A few lucky passengers got to go along with me.


Although we officially ended the fly-in on Monday, many of our friends hung around until Tuesday before packing up and driving home.