Waco Trip Report 2002

by Paul A. Rosales

We are home from another great weekend of flying with the SoCAL wing to the Cougar fly-in near Waco, TX! Gary Sobek (RV-6) flew out of the Los Angeles basin on Thursday evening with Gary Hart (RV-6) and Chuck/Pam Miller (RV-8A). They did not want to chance getting grounded due to the ‘June Gloom’ that closes the LA basin to IFR only traffic so they flew to Laughlin, NV for the night. Living in the desert, we NEVER wonder if we’ll be able to get out in the morning :-) Victoria and I departed Rosamond Friday morning at 0730 and were able to hook up as a 4-ship in the air just east of the Colorado River Resort. We continued on to St. Johns Industrial Airpark (SJN), AZ where we fueled: 3-hour flight.

We continued on for another 3 hours to Floydada (Q41), TX where Mitch Probasco greeted us on the ramp. He heard my calls to Floy-Dada Airport. Turns out Floydada is named after some locals, Floyd and Ada so it’s really Floyd-Ada :-) Who'd of known!?! These two fuel stops were found using Airnav’s fuel planner with both stops having fuel at less than $2/gallon.

We (including the Millers) departed towards Addison (ADS), TX while the two Garys continued on towards McGregor (PWG), TX which was minutes away from the Cougar Fly-in at Scott Ranch. My grade school friend Jeff McNeil was at the second busiest airport in Texas to meet us after we arrived via the overhead approach to Rwy 15. Flight time from California was 7.7 hours (9 hours on our watch). With the planes tied down for the night, we went to the McNeil’s for a BIG steak dinner and a round-of-tag with their two kids :-) In the morning, the wives and kids loaded up the car for the drive to Waco while Jeff, the Millers and I drove to ADS. We asked for and were given Class B clearance south to Waco overflying Dallas-Love Field immediately after takeoff and getting a great look at downtown Dallas.

The flight to Waco was about 30 minutes, and upon my arrival to Scott Ranch (31TX), I saw airplanes parked on the side of the runway so I set up and landed on the grass strip. With both planes on the ground, I turned the plane around and didn’t see a single RV parked: they were all spam-cans! That’s funny, are we the first ones here?!? Yea, right! A flagman appeared and directed us ‘around the corner’ to the REAL runway where we saw dozens of RVs. How I missed that from above is beyond me but I landed us on the wrong runway! Oh well, it was the shorter of the two runways, and I hear it will be better marked next year :-) We were parked out in the open as the ‘covered’ parking e.g. tree (shaded) parking was filled. No problem finding room for all the planes! We saw Gary Hart and Gary Sobek's RV-6s across the way:

Our spouses arrived about 30 minutes later, and we were able to walk around and see most of the planes in about an hour. We also got to see Stu McCurdy's 5-ship arrival which was great! If you are not acquainted with Stu or his company, Formation Flying, INC, you can read an article about him at AVweb.

I had a great time visiting with a builder, Kimball, who really liked our paint scheme :-) It was close to noon so we walked to the food line and were served some excellent BBQ beef! After lunch, several planes started leaving so we got out the chairs to sit, visit and watch the departures and fly-bys with: From left to right: Brian Denk, Victoria, Paul, Bernie Kerr and Gary Sobek standing in back.

I never realized how loud our planes could be at takeoff! Next thing I knew, it was time to leave for McGregor for our formation flying evaluation by Stu McCurdy. I was just started to enjoy the show! Stu briefed a 5-ship for two formation fly-bys after which we continued to McGregor. Gary Sobek briefed our formation flight, which included myself, Gary Hart and Stu’s friend Ernest. The flight was one of the most demanding flights I’ve ever done but we got through it (not perfect though). We should have our formation cards next week sometime. Hopefully, Stu will have enough formation-qualified pilots to fly a 30-ship formation at Oshkosh in honor of Van’s Aircraft 30 year anniversary. My 2-ship flew to Hillsboro (5T5) for fuel ($1.61/gallon!) then ADS again for the night. The Garys remained at McGregor as they were going to depart for California the next day about the time I was going to wake up so we said our goodbyes at McGregor. Come to think of it, Brian Denk (RV-8) was also with them... Sunday morning, it was back to ADS to give rides to the McNeil kids, Jonathan and Rachel. I flew Rachel (age 5) and Chuck flew Jonathan (age 7). I heard later that Rachel was telling everyone later that day the she flew with me and her brother flew with ‘Mr. Chuckie’ :-) On the ground, I got a call from Jay Pratt telling me that my Koger Sunshade had blown off the plane when taxiing out for departure the day before. He had it on his desk at RV Central at Hicks (T67) Field near Fort Worth. I looked on the TAC chart to see DFW square in the middle of my flight path from Addison to Hicks :-( Thinking You can’t get there from here, I called ground control and asked for VFR advisories around DFW to Hicks. She inquired ‘Are you declining Class B service?’ You mean I don’t have to go all the way around! I’ll take it! We were cleared to Dallas-Love Field at 2500’, direct to the centerline of DFW at 4500’ (what a sight to see the runways and terminal buildings at DFW!) then descent direct into Hicks, VERY COOL! I got to visit with Jay for a short time as the planes were being fueled. Jay has a great operation there at RV Central :-) We departed for Portales (Q34), NM, a 2.3 hour flight. We were hungry so airport manager ‘Nick’ loaned us the airport car and suggested the Cattle Baron for lunch. Excellent Suggestion! If you like steak, you need to try their ‘Steak New Mexico’, covered with a big green chile and smothered in cheese! Here's an interesting wagon-wheel picture taken after lunch:

Another 2.4 hour flight had us back at St. Johns for fuel then 3.4 hours home via 29-Palms (that’s where the Millers split off for home). Total roundtrip time over 3 days from California was exactly 20 hours burning two quarts of oil in the process. We put the plane away with 998.3 hours on the hobbs! Guess what’s coming next!?! 1000 hours and the RV-Flyin at Langley, Canada!

Keep poundin’ them rivets: It's ALL worth it! Paul & Victoria

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