Congratulations Bob and Paula –
Picture courtesy of Keith Marshall
Fly – In?
by Keith Marshall
The date was set for Friday, June 27, 2003. A pilot gentleman and a lady
homemaker decided to get married among friends at Terry Airport in Indianapolis
on that evening. Little did they know that their guest list would suddenly
beyond their wildest dreams.
While the couple exchanged vows in a small ceremony outside the main hangar,
the many pilots and crews from Return To Kitty Hawk were enjoying a spaghetti
meal inside. When the “I do’s” were said, airport FBO
Dan Montgomery came in
with the newlyweds and announced Bob and Paula Gibbs as husband and wife.
To this everyone raised their glass.
When Dan found out earlier that the race would definitely be dropping
in on the
ceremony, he asked Bob and Paula how they felt about it. They were more
delighted and thought it would be really neat.
Bob is a member of the Indiana Wing of the Commemorative Air Force and
active pilot. Paula is a homemaker. Together they enjoy aviation as much
Congratulations Bob and Paula! May you have a long and happy life together
thank you for letting us share your special day.
Martha Jacobs standing where Wilbur landed
100 years ago.
Picture courtesy of Doug Jacobs
at Kitty Hawk
by Martha Jacobs
Crewing for the cross country trek to Kitty Hawk has been quite an experience.
We know our pilots will land somewhere else every day and we must have
our maps, radios, cell phones, and directions at the ready, and dedicated
to a speedy and cheerful, but in all cases speedy reunion at the end of
Naturally, this experience is quite empowering. No crew is willing, nor
needs to take any guff from a pilot who's butt will be at an airport or
field far from his or her starting point. After all, we could always stop
to shop, take in a movie, or in extreme cases, simply disconnect the trailer
and drive home.
The third time Doug left the top of the cooler open in the desert, I screamed,
"You have no idea how important ice management is in my life right
now! Please shut the cooler" He cowered away, promising not to screw
Driving coast to coast has given me a new appreciation for the beauty
and bounty of our United States. We're always on the go, hitting the road
just after pilots launch. Our constant companions have been the truckers,
billboards, and yes, the incredible scenery in many parts of the country.
Midway through the trip, Doug asked for a bottle of Gatoraid. I advised
him that we had neither Gatoraid or beer because, if you couldn't buy
it at a truck stop, we didn't have it.
Thanks to the Paynes and the Murray's for all their hard work, for the
tow pilots, weather people and crew who came along, and especially our
thanks to the clubs and commercial operators we visited along the way
who did so much to make this itinerent gaggle of enthusiasts in gliders,
trailers, motor homes and tow cars feel welcome everywhere.
The USAF museum in Dayton, OH
A Busy Rest Day
by Jim Payne
June 29 was a rest day in Dayton, Ohio.
Today I visited the Air
Force Museum and the Wright's
Bicycle Shop in Dayton. The AF Museum is always a sober experience.
It is a reminder of the sacrifices of thousands of people who have fought
hard to preserve our freedoms. It also brings back wonderful memories
of my days as an Air Force pilot. One of the perks of being a test pilot
is the opportunity to fly one-time flights ("quals"). Some of
the museum‚s planes I‚ve had the opportunity to pilot at least
once are the T-41, T-37, T-38, T-33, F-4, RF-4, F-5, B-52, T-28, F-104,
F-105, F-106, F-111, A-37, F-15, F-16, O-2, B-17, AT-6, A-7, A-10, C-141,
KC-135, UH-1, and C-130. So any of you readers who are still in school,
pay attention in your math and science classes because there are opportunities
still available if you are prepared.
The visit to the Wright's shop was inspiring. The more I learn about the
brothers the more I admire their genius. They were model scientists who
tackled the engineering of flight in a methodical manner. They made pioneering
advances in the science of stability and control, airfoil theory, and
propeller theory. They manufactured their own engine and on the very first
flight had a device that every test pilot appreciates, a data acquisition
They were gliding enthusiasts and if still alive I am sure they would
have supported the Return to Kitty Hawk adventure. One of the quotes in
the many displays says: "After reading the pamphlets sent to us by
the Smithsonian we became highly enthusiastic with the idea of gliding
as a sport." - Orville Wright
This evening I picked Jackie up at the airport in Columbus, Ohio. Yesterday
she flew to California to be honored as Math Teacher of the Year in southern
California. Fortunately the Wright's invention and the Southwest Airlines
frequent flyer program made this possible.
The people in aviation continue to be an amazing group of people. Dick
Van Grunsven, designer of RV aircraft, has had problems with the engine
in his motorglider. At several stops along the way various RV builders
have helped him. In Indianapolis they worked until 2 AM. The part still
needed some work the next day. When it was finished one of "Van's
Air Force" flew the part to Caesar's Creek in his RV-4.
Jim Payne and CAP Cadets at Terry Airport,
Picture courtesy of Dave Newill
CAP Cadets Learn About Soaring
by Dave Newill
This is really kind of a neat story - Jim Payne took time out during the
launch sequence to meet with the local CAP cadets and teach them a bit
about soaring, gliding, the USAF, flying as a career and other things
- they were spellbound! After everyone left for CCGC, the cadets and their
adult leaders commented several times on how nice everyone was and how
the pilots shared so much about their aviation sport. I think it was the
German team that gave them some lessons in how a sailplane comes apart.
The CAP was amazed at the international flavor of this race.
Our most sincere thanks to all who helped impart a bit of the future of
soaring to these kids - we will be flying them on Sunday. Special thanks
by Martha Jacobs
When we arrived in Jean, NV, we picked up coupons for a free meal at the
local hotels/casinos from the welcome rest stop. They were only valid
for tourists, so you had to show an out of state drivers license. When
I tried to use one of them, the waitress looked at my Rhode Island license
and explained that the coupons were only valid for Americans! This license,
according to her, showed I was from some foreign island! Only in this
crazy sport of gliding would I find myself arguing with a waitress in
Nevada about whether Rhode Island was part of the USA!
And the adventures continue . . . .
Iron Man of RTKH
by Doug Jacobs
Think you know tough pilots? Guys or
gals who won't stop at anything to keep soaring? Who never complain, never
let a setback or two get in their way? You ain't seen nothin' yet!
Consider Peter Krejcirik of the Czech Republic. Flying team with Jaroslav
Potmesil, they've come to this vast land of ours, rented a monster motor
home, arranged for a glider, and showed up for business on day one of
the RTKH in Crystal. If that weren't challenge enough for these intrepid
Europeans, on Day 2, from Estrella to Las Cruces with Peter flying, their
rented motor home breaks down half way, apparently beyond repair. Unperturbed,
Peter flies on and completes the difficult leg in to the Las Cruces airport
late. As all are united with their crews and head off for dinner and motels,
he learns his crew will not be joining him that night. No problem. Nothing
like a canopy cover, parachute, the cover of a wing and the pleasant evening
air to make a boy comfortable. He beds down for the night on the warm
tarmac and sleeps like a baby.
Up the next morning with still no crew in evidence, he readies the glider
anyway and heads out on the leg to Hobbs. With a bunch of us, he ends
up at Carlsbad, 70 miles short of Hobbs. Crew still stuck will behind
- now some 600 miles, in the busted motor home. So this night with faithful
parachute and canopy cover on a hangar floor after a good night's meal
with others stranded there.
Still no crew in the morning, so Dan Gudgel tows him to Hobbs in Chris
Wood's C185. Only problem? Ceilings at 400 feet, terrain absolutely unlandable,
which was the reason we all put down at Carlsbad the night before. The
two of them land in Hobbs into a howling southerly, only to learn that
the day's task to Dallas has been canceled and we're going to drive there.
The good news is that the rental company has swapped out the motor home
for a new one, and his crew is on the way. They arrive that evening, and
drive all night to Dallas, losing most of their exhaust system somewhere
along the way. This intrepid team arrives five minutes before the Dallas
pilots meeting, get briefed, rig, and fly the task, happily back together
again and heading for Kitty Hawk.
Recall that story next time you think something's in the way of going
for that cross country flight you've been trying to do!
DJ (Doug Jacobs)
Smoking Trailer and Other RTKH Sagas
From Jim Payne on Thursday, June 26, 2003:
This morning Tom Serkowski reported that someone at breakfast in a McDonalds
in Pryor, Oklahoma told him, "I saw a trailer like yours 30 miles
south of here. The top was up and it was smoking."
Turns out that yesterday F8's crew damaged the tongue of his trailer in
a backing mishap. Later, while driving up US-69 in Oklahoma, the tongue
cracked, the front of the trailer sagged to the pavement and the brakes
engaged. By the time the driver realized something was wrong the brakes
In this case good luck follows bad luck. Alfred "Alpha Sierra"
Spindelberger, the trailer manufacturer and one of the RTKH contestants,
soon pulls up. He removes the broken tongue, takes it to a welding shop,
asks to use a welder, and soon the tongue is repaired.
This evening, Michael Bird and George Moffat‚s crew car conked out
shortly after crossing the Mississippi River. No sweat, the Silver Creek
Glider Club sent members to the rescue.
Just a couple sagas of the growing RTKH lore.
We are in Illinois now. Yesterday St Louis had a record one-day rainfall
- puddles are everywhere. But the post frontal forecast for tomorrow is
I have been criticized for setting the 12,000 foot MSL minimum for opening
the task on the leg from Las Cruces to Hobbs. Between El Paso and Hobbs
there are basically two known good landing spots. In one area the boonies
span 70 miles (110 km). Since the terrain elevation is generally over
4,000 feet along the course we wanted to be sure pilots had enough energy
to span the "badlands." One of the pilots of a Stemme who flew
the course thanked me that he was not racing over this territory. Getting
low was not an option.
Lift tomorrow (knock on wood),