May, 2010

 

In May, we rolled up our sleeves and really got to work.  I bought a new chainsaw to assist in clearing the trees and my good friend, Rusty, worked on clearing the runway of the cut grass.  We borrowed a hay rake to scrape the cut grass off to the sides.  We literally scraped the top surface and all of the grass (and weeds) off of the runway in order to start the recovery process.

 

By May 16th, I was able to land my planes on the runway for the first time.  It was a triumphant moment for me.  It was still VERY preliminary, but we could safely put an aircraft onto the runway again.

Starduster on the ground.T14 from the north.Text Box: The first visitor to T14 - My Starduster Too  N30JG

The view looking south down runway 18.  A dirt strip!!!

Comanche on the ground

My Comanche on its first visit to T14.  Notice that there is NO grass on the runway and it’s in pretty rough shape.

May 29th, 2010

On May 29th we got our first visitor.  Steve Ruse had flown down from Oklahoma to visit friends and family.  We were working on the property when we saw his yellow Pietenpol fly over.  It was fitting that our first visitor was a true home-built vintage aircraft.  Steve chatted with us for a while, posed for some pics, hand-propped his plane and then headed back towards Oklahoma.  We were lucky to get a picture of his “high speed” pass as he left.  He must’ve been doing a blistering 65-70 mph on that high-speed fly-by!

Piet landing

From the beginning, I knew that my little Ford Workmaster tractor would not be up to the task of maintaining this property.  I started looking for a good used tractor.  I knew that we’d need a larger tractor with a loader.  I wanted one that wasn’t too heavy to use on the runway but would be able to do the heavy work.  After a bit of research and a lot of looking, I found a used 65hp Massey Ferguson 175 that had a decent number of implements included - bucket and twin fork attachment for the loader, a brush hog, a disk and a scraper blade.  It would prove invaluable.  We were able to use it immediately to start clearing the trees from the runway sides.  Although it couldn’t push them over very well with the loader, it could easily pull up most of the trees once I hooked a chain to the rear hook and looped the other end around the offending tree.  After it was purchased, we spent most of the rest of May pulling up trees and pushing them into large piles.