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Congratulations Bob and Paula – happy newlyweds!

Picture courtesy of Keith Marshall

A Wedding 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 grow
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 than
delighted and thought it would be really neat.

Bob is a member of the Indiana Wing of the Commemorative Air Force and an
active pilot. Paula is a homemaker. Together they enjoy aviation as much as
they can.

Congratulations Bob and Paula! May you have a long and happy life together and
thank you for letting us share your special day.

Keith Marshall

Martha Jacobs standing where Wilbur landed 100 years ago.

Picture courtesy of Doug Jacobs


Crewing 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 the day.

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 up again.

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.

Martha Jacobs


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 system.

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

Jim Payne and CAP Cadets at Terry Airport, IN
Picture courtesy of Dave Newill


Local 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 to Jim.

Dave Newill

Geography 101

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 . . . .

Martha Jacobs


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)

A 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 were smoking.

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 good.

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),
Jim Payne

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