Springfield Chapter Missouri Pilots Association

February 2002

Flying Journal - Stop Talking and Start Flying

As I said last month, the old flying year had ended well. I finally got to fly with Seth Caperton, of the Ozarks Chapter. Over the last maybe seven or eight years, Seth and I had become friends during many Missouri Pilots Association State Board meetings, State conventions, and various joint meetings of the Springfield and Ozarks chapters (such as Christmas parties).

Several times over the last few years we had said, "Hey, let's go flying sometime." This time, it finally happened. And we had a great time as he gave me my first Biennial Flight Review of my aviation career. Thus far in my eleven years of flying, I've always renewed through added ratings or giving "Wings" training to other pilots. This was the first BFR. that I "had" to take. Actually, when I think back, I recall that long-time flight instructor and local aviation legend Maury Way and I once gave each other BFRs for practice and courtesy, but this was the first one that was due and that I needed.

Required or not, the normally anxiety-producing flight review turned out to be a true pleasure. I borrowed a Cherokee 180 and flew down to Clark Airport at Point Lookout. Seth and I warmed up by hangar flying over lunch at the Friendship House on the College of the Ozarks Campus. Turns out both of us were really in need of a mid-winter flying fix. I hope I have the facts correctly, but as I understand it, Seth spent 20 years in the Air Force, and I envy the fact that he got to fly bombers from B-17s to B-52s! For his second career, Seth flew as chief pilot for Dr. M. Graham Clark at School of the Ozarks (now College of the Ozarks).

Lunch was fine, and the view from the hill is always pleasant, but since both Seth and I have degrees of hearing loss, the ease of conversation greatly improved when we got in the cockpit and could turn up our headsets as much as needed.

I had considerable flying experience in the area, having used several northern Arkansas and southern Missouri airports, including the big ones as well as tiny ones like Kimberling City. In addition to airport operation, I had also experienced many scenic flights over Branson and the Lakes, floatplane flying on Lake Taneycomo with another Ozarks Chapter MPA member, Hank Haddock, and touch-and-goes in a Lake Amphibian on Table Rock Lake.

As Seth and I taxied out, I realized these were my first operations at Clark since the last runway "enhancement." Seth introduced me to the local practice area, over Blue Eye, Missouri-well, it IS Missouri, but it's about as close to Arkansas as you can get without being IN Arkansas. I'll bet we were circling back and forth over both states as I demonstrated my steep turns. We shared the practice area with a Cessna from College of the Ozarks. Of course we also practiced stalls, simulated emergency approaches, and ground reference maneuvers in the practice area.

Since I do some instrument flying, as well as instrument instruction, we flew over to Harrison to practice some instrument approaches. Seth flew some, too, and I got to enjoy the scenery of the mountains surrounding Harrison. To finish off, we flew back to Point Lookout for several landings with a light crosswind. In the pattern at Point Lookout, you can see the Branson Strip, the outlet malls, the Observation Tower at Inspiration Point, as well as many of the larger theaters that are easily identifiable from the air.

So after years of talking and a few months working around plane maintenance and scheduling issues, Seth and I finally quit talking and went flying. (Is that like Cessna's marketing formula-"Quit dreaming and start flying"? A great time was had by all, and we resolved to do it again soon. Hopefully this next time will be a matter of months rather than years. Since my own BFR, I have already given one to another pilot this year and my experience with Seth made me resolve to make the reviews I give as practical and useful-but also as enjoyable-as the one I experienced myself.

Next Month (Hopefully): Flying Journal: Gone to the Dogs!

Fly safely, and share the joy!


[Copyright 2002 - Earl Holmer]