Last week Dolly and I volunteered as ground crew for the EAA’s 1929 Ford Trimotor that was visiting Brooksville Florida. On Sunday the ten passenger plane had eleven flights. On the last flight there were only nine paid passengers. From the volunteers, Dolly was selected to fill the last seat. It was a beautiful yet blustery day. Winds were 10 gusting to 24.
I worked as flagman, signaling to the starter that my side of the ramp was clear of people.
The alarm went off at 3:00 AM. Dolly heard it an woke me.
The plan was to regain nighttime currency, three takeoff and landings to a full stop at night. We want to fly to St. Petersburg tomorrow to see the Kratt brothers show at the Mahaffee theater, a short walk from the airport. The return will be at night.
Everything went just as it should. The tires and tanks were full; all the nuts were on their bolts. I taxied from the hangar pad and clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights. No lights. I tried both tower and ground frequencies. I tried three, five and seven clicks. No lights. Frustration and nice photo.
I have read about hydroponics for a number of years. This winter in Florida is the first time I’ve tried growing plants from seed without soil. Dolly and I now have a number of lettuce, tomato and pepper plants growing in three different modes:
- Milk jugs outdoors
- An outdoor plastic pipe tower with nutrient pumped to the top and trickle down
- A tray in the garage under flourescent lights.
The same nutrient mixture is fed to the plants in each case.
The tops have been cut off the milk jugs and a 2″ grow basket inserted to hold the plants.
Initially, the jugs were wrapped in aluminum foil. Now, the jugs are painted black to prevent algae growth and then silver to prevent the nutrient solution heating in sunlight.
An unpainted strip down the handle reveals the nutrient level. I add reverse osmosis purified water as necessary.
I have been amazed at the growth rate of the lettuce, tomato and peppers seeded in Fiberglas and grown under the florescents. The plants in the photo above were seeds 28 days ago. An initial charge of nutrient solution is supplemented with additions of plain water to keep the cubes moist.
Dolly and I should be eating salads in March. The overall results have been very encouraging. I am planning a larger installation for next year using LED grow light strips and shelving units in our screened lanai.
It may not be economical to grow your own on this scale. Yet, the convenience of picking and eating fresh, no pesticide fruits and vegetables may offset the cost.
Karl is a retired chemical engineer, major corporate financial officer, air charter manager, and computer consultant.
He started on his aviation career around the beginning of the jet age and likes to explain that back then the Private Pilots Written Exam was only 50 True/False questions.
Karl has owned a 1964 Mooney Statesman, 1979 Cessna Skyhawk, and more recently a 1948 Temco-Globe Swift. He and wife Dolly together built their current airplane, a Vans RV7.
Karl holds FAA Commercial, Single Engine Land, Single Engine Sea, Multi Engine Land, and Glider certificates collected in 3,000+ flying. His Instrument Flight Instructor rating is lapsed. Several yeas ago the Federal Aviation Agency presented him with the Master Pilot Award. He is a member of the United Flying Octogenarians. He loves to tell hangar flying stories of how he has towed advertising banners at the New Jersey shore; flown night time charter around the Northeast; served as his son’s flight instructor; landed one night at Chicago O’Hare before it was commissioned; crossed the US at night following the old mountain top beacons; and more recently towed gliders for the Tampa Bay Soaring Society. Karl has piloted 47 different models of aircraft; 32 single and 15 multi-engine.
During the 2011-2013 summers Dolly and son Len with help from Karl, completed a studs out remodeling of an apartment that is now their summer home in Michigan. In 2014, contemplating how bored he’d be without some project, they came to the conclusion that aircraft building is age independent. He and Dolly together built their Vans RV7 that first flew in 2018. It was on display at the 2019 EAA Airventure flyin in Oshkosh, Michigan.
Dolly, who also is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, is enthusiastic about aviation and knitting. Click here to visit her knitting pages.
Photo: At the cockpit controls of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville, Oregon
Dolly had never been to Manhattan. We were in New Jersey so I gave her a ride up the Hudson River Corridor at 1,500 feet while in contact with NY aproach, Laguardia and Newark towers. She took a video and I set the music to it. Click Here and Enjoy!
Triple Tree is a unique place created over many years by Pat and Mary Lou Hartness. From undeveloped land they wrestled out a beautiful airdrome in South Carolina.
It’s centerpiece is a 7,000 foot grass runway of Bermuda bent grass that is irrigated and maintained like a golf course green.
For one week each year the private airport is opened up to all things airborne. All persons are invited provided they can show a pilot’s license or some other direct connection to aviation.
Facilities include the pavilion shown above, plus showers, wet and dry camp sites, an educational center, aerodrome control tower, a museum/hangar, pilots lounge and other necessary infrastructure. Pat’s prime aviation interest has been model aviation although he also has a full scale mirror polished Spartan Executive and a P51.
These two birds put on an airshow Saturday afternoon.
Shade from the sun and hangar flying conversation – Triple Tree hospitality.
Food at TTA is plentiful and delicious. There is a different menu for the cookout every evening. Thursday is “pick out and grill your own steak” night with tasty fixings and chocolate cake. Yumm!
On Saturday we lined up for a pulled pork dinner near the top of the hill by the hangars. A quartet played old songs and friends caught Dolly and I dancing. We had worked as volunteers all week; Dolly helped in registration and I drove six person courtesy golf carts.
Try it next year?
The 7,000 by 400 foot runway grass at Triple Tree (SC00) is getting long. It has not been cut for the last three days. The show must go on!