Three Taylorcrafts and a half dozen other planes arrived on Friday which was an absolutely beautiful day with light cool breezes from the south all day. When evening came, the campfire was lit as others helped me prepare sausage links, chili, and all the fixin's for a good old-fashioned Texas cookout provided by Certified Aeronautical Products, LLC. Darius and his buddies Stan and Bill set the mood for a sweet time by providing some down home live country/blues tunes. After supper it was amazing to see the adults become kids again, roasting S'mores over the fire... just like we all did at summer camp back in the day.
Saturday morning brought a really different sort of "dawn patrol" for those of us accustomed to antique airplane fly-ins. Some of us began hearing this strange noise as we awoke to find out it was coming from a hot air balloon. We all witnessed the first-ever launch of a lighter than air craft from inside Old Fort Parker as we headed into the visitor center for excellent sausage and pancakes. This was the start of a fun day. A stiff breeze settled in for most of the day and gave way to a heavier south wind as the afternoon wore on. Various types of small planes came and went as a few more Taylorcrafts arrived. Some of the best entertainment of the day came as a result of efforts by Mark Julicher, who organized and marshalled a flour bombing contest followed by spot landing competition. Lawn chair observers lined the taxiway to watch as several un-practiced bombardiers attempted strafing runs over the airfield. The winning drop came to rest within 47 feet of the target. And only about 18 inches separated 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Excellent lunch was then served at the Old Fort Visitor Center. Later in the afternoon, a slight cross-wind made for some interesting displays of pilotage for the spot landing contest, which was quite challenging to slip in over the trees making it down to the mark while keeping speed just right and simultaneously negotiating the wind. For most, it turned into a public display of 3-hopper landings. The best part of it all was the opportunity for renewed friendships and new acquaintances. As evening came, we all enjoyed stew and cornbread at the Fort Parker kitchen, followed by a special treat provided by the Hot Air Balloon folks, headed by Nick Stanko. Nick and crew set up their equipment and projected a bigger than life movie "Dr. Strangelove" on a makeshift screen across the side of their RV. More s'mores were roasted and consumed for a sweet end to a sweet day.
|Aerial view taken Saturday afternoon by Neil Palmquist.|
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