Land of Enchantment Fly-In 2005
Santa Teresa Welcomes LOE5
Many are familiar with the New Mexico State bird, the Roadrunner. The previous LOE venue of Las Cruces had a large Roadrunner art piece near the freeway to town. Santa Teresa has many examples of the New Mexico State Flower, the Yucca. The stalks in the above photo are the Yucca, after it has lost its beautiful blossoms. Even the husks have an interesting look.
In a switch from previous years, most of the country had good weather for the LOE5 weekend of 10/14/05 through 10/16/05 but there was some unsettled and moist weather right in Southern New Mexico. Attendance was around 115 RV's. A nice non-overwhelming number, but I did miss several individuals that were not able to make it, for weather and other reasons.
War Eagles Museum
The War Eagles Museum was a major sponsor of LOE5 and they were very hospitable indeed. Registration included unlimited visitation to the museum, the banquet and tickets for lunch type snacks on Saturday (hot dogs, brats, Subway sandwiches and the like).
Friday Night Social
Victoria and Paul Rosales hit 2,300 hours on their RV-6A on the way home.
Peekaboo Moon Friday Night
Soggy Ramp on Saturday Morning
Friday night was mostly cloudy and fairly cool and there was a forecast of a good chance of showers during the day on Saturday.
There were those that scoffed at the idea of convective activity during such weather but I was awakened early Saturday morning by flashes of lightning and claps of thunder along with pitty pat raindrops on the motel window. The rain stopped, but then started again causing me to use the rocking chair on the veranda of the Cracker Barrel, while waiting for the rain to abate.
When I got out to the airport on Saturday I had time for one look through the airplanes before another and final shower. I took the need for shelter as the perfect opportunity to tour the fine War Eagles Museum. When I came out of the museum the rain had quit for good.
Martin Sutter, Doug Reeves, Gus Funnell and Rian Johnson
There were few vendors. NavTrak was around as well as an engine company. There was an airplane with Larry's new RV mufflers installed. When I heard it, it was certainly different. It didn't sound like an RV and was subjectively quieter. Might just be worth it.
Larry Vetterman Flew His Pretty New RV-7A Down From South Dakota
There I Was, Flat on my Back!
Checking Out One of the Award Winning 10's
The Franklin Mountains are Between El Paso and Santa Teresa
The Proud Builders of the Syracuse RV-10
Ken Krueger, Gus Funnell and Rian Johnson Represented Van's
Sometimes, Lots of Opinions are Needed
Metal Props Have Advantages but no Metal Prop is as Pretty as This
I spent part of Saturday afternoon as an airplane judging rookie. It was interesting learning from masters like Martin Sutter and Mel Asberry. Mel not only taught me about judging but on how to be judged successfully. I believe he referred to it as "working the judges."
It is easy to see that the airplanes are just getting nicer and nicer, as a group. I think when people see what is possible, by attending fly-ins, like LOE, it inspires them to do better jobs as builders.
I was enthusiastic about the judging criteria of these veterans. Things like "not buying a score" by, for instance having a very expensive panel. Completely filled wings would be marked down. As for items such as whether a flush mounted or protruding Dynon gets more points, or whether a Texas sticker or N number loses or gains points, well we disagreed on those items (Mel and Martin are from Texas and Mel and Larry have protruding Dynons).
Enjoying the Day
As far as I could tell, the rain caused very little inconvenience. It certainly didn't bother me. A few people ended up with their planes parked in puddles, but there was enough parking space to move. There was no mud.
I did observe one problem, that I was not aware of. Several airplanes would not start after the rain. One pilot thought his electronic ignition got wet, which caused it to malfunction. Kind of makes me glad I have tractor technology on my airplane.
Several fuel injected airplanes with snorkel induction systems would not start. If the airplane was a taildragger, people were observed raising the tail high to apparently drain water back out of the snorkel. This whole deal of not starting after rain is a new one on me. Maybe someone will enlighten me. I am from the country.
Mr. LOE, Red Marron
Saturday Evening Banquet
The banquet this year had a different feel. Instead of mariachi singers and Mexican food, there was a chuckwagon and BBQ brisket and chicken. You could tell there were lots of wily verterans who had been at the end of the line for previous banquets when the food was down to maybe beans or cole slaw. As soon as there was a hint of movement near the food area there was a surging wave of people trotting that way. There were a hundred in line before the announcement was made that the food was ready. Who would have known that old people could move that fast. I was watching but only made it to about the front one third of the line.
Anyway, all that was unnecessary, because as far as I know, there was an excess of food and the lines moved quickly. It was good too.
Some of the Raffle Prizes, Garmin 396 in Center
As in previous years the very popular LOE raffle was held. This year there was about $13,000 worth of prizes. The businesses donate all the prizes at no cost to the sponsors, so all the raffle money, and it was a lot, goes to local charities. This is one of the big things that makes this fly-in so good.
The raffle drawing went very quickly this year, through better organization. One of the highlights was the winner of the cylinder overhaul discount DONATING the prize to Paul Rosales, who is getting a lot of time on his engine.
At the end of the banquet, Gus and Ken got up to fill us in on the latest Van's news. The thing that stuck in my mind was Ken emphasizing that there will be no RV-12 marketed unless the company is able to make it an RV. I took that to mean that it would have to have the typical RV virtues, especially RV handling. He also emphasized that they are in the very early stages of the project.
Sometimes, Even the Desert is Moist
Sunday morning had a heavy dew. People had their canopy covers out to dry on wings or propellers. I had the opportunity to watch lots of people wiping down their airplanes carefully, getting them dry and spotless, only to blast their way out of the parking spot, on the way out, spraying all kinds of grit onto their neighbors airplanes, as well as banging control surfaces around and endangering open canopies. Hard for me to figure why such meticulous and friendly people do this. Yep I got nailed, but when someone was coming in and blasted the tail around. I don't even know what kind of vacuum attachments it is going to take to clean the plane up again. That is a big ole leafblower behind us boys and girls.
Van's Brought the 260 HP RV-10 and an RV-7A
Some Out-Of-Towner Apparently Did Not Appreciate a Native Invertebrate
The Jump Operation Was Going on Sunday
DC-6A Cargo Plane
The Generously Tressed Gus Funnell Commented That He Approved of Doug Reeves' New Ponytail
So it is still the same fly-in. There were still airplanes from three corners of the country (I don't think there was anyone from up around New England). There are some differences from Las Cruces, good and bad. Adventure Aviation worked hard at Las Cruces and it is obvious the War Eagles Museum worked hard at Santa Teresa, including installing a bunch of new steel cable tie-downs. I do miss the ambience of Old Mesilla but it is still not far up the road. There is one huge drawback to Santa Teresa though. The landing area is so far from the ramp that it is impossible to adequately view the landings. Therefore there is little chance to ridicule one's fellow aviators. Maybe there could be a ribbon or something next year.
This fly-in still retains its character as the walk around and chat with no airport closures fly-in. I like that!
Lots More Clouds Than Forecast On The Way to Carlsbad