Passing it on

ShortFinal

Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

Red Bouchie was born and raised in Oneida, S.D., and came from a long line of farmer-ranchers. In the days after World War II, everybody in those parts had a J-3, and he spent his youth in the backseat of such a Cub pestering coyotes.

Those early days were influential. In 1956, while in Fullerton, Calif., he soloed a Tri-Pacer and took his check ride in a Cherokee 140. He considered a flying career as a California highway patrolman, [Read more...]

Internet forum sets off rant

Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

I was going to write about something pleasant this month but a comment, casually stated as fact on an Internet forum, really cooked my goose and has become the basis of the following rant. My flying buddies and regular readers are probably rolling their eyes right about now, thinking, “Lord have mercy. Here she goes again.”

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A lifetime of flying

bob burns

Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

Young Bobby Burns was infatuated with flying and airplanes, and on his 13th birthday his parents fed the fire with a 10-minute flight in an Aeronca Champ at San Fernando Airport in San Fernando, Calif. He was prepared. He had memorized a little book called “Let’s Fly,” and when the pilot of the Champ gave him the controls, he was sure Bobby had flown before. [Read more...]

In the mail…

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Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

It’s not often that a reader takes the time to send me a written letter through the postal service, and when he or she does, it is special to me. Just this past month I received a very warm correspondence from Dick Waite of Hagerman, Idaho. I felt it appropriate to share his words as they reflect the experiences and the sentiment of a lot of Short Final readers.

“Your column in General Aviation News is always a first read.” Thanks Mr. Waite. I really try to keep my writing fun, just like my flying. If it becomes too serious or negative, it will be time to do something else.

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A family of aviation

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Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

Ed Nitzsche started flying lessons while in high school under the tutelage of Jack Brown at the original Tamiami Airport in Miami in 1951. He later finished instruction at Kendall Flying School, which was operated by women’s aerobatic champion Mary Gaffaney, and received his sign off on Feb. 17, 1956.

Wow. That paragraph is loaded with aviation history, [Read more...]

Going home

Red Curtis, 91, pictured with his son Alan, is still an active A&P at Cochran Municipal Airport (48A).

Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

Last post I regaled the world with the great flying weather during the first part of October in the southeast. Two fly-ins, two weekends of travel and two Luscombes keeping the airways hot satisfied my need to fly.

I was quite happy to finish the rest of the month with a few short leaf-peeking flights until the Old Man pointed to a letter lying on the kitchen counter. It was the announcement of my 30th class reunion for the upcoming Saturday evening.

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Flying Time

Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

It’s October in the South and it’s flying time. There are more fly-ins, air shows, gatherings, events, happenings and visitations than you can shake a stick at, and we’re trying our best to see and do them all!

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Returned to service

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Deb McFarland is the proud owner of Lester, a 1948 Luscombe 8E, and part of the “Front Porch Gang” at Pickens County Airport in Georgia.

A member of the medical profession holding proper authorization and certification recently determined that some Best Management Practices for Aging Women should be applied to my person, since I am, of course, a classic. Like most mechanics, she grunted a little here, cursed a little there, removed a part or two, and promptly sent me the bill. [Read more...]

$100 ‘Q sandwiches

June and Walt Burton and their C-172, "81Lima."

This Short Final was written by Walt Burton, a dear friend of Deb McFarland’s, as she recovers from surgery.

I send greetings from Statesboro, way down here in southeast Georgia. I wouldn’t say that it’s been hot here, but I did see two gnats fanning each other to stay cool. Fortunately, the air temperature up above our pattern altitude is in the 70s and that alone encourages us to go flying. Usually, flying requires a reason or a mission.

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An unforgettable gift

Deb and Lester

Summer is defined by holidays. Memorial Day is its start when the season is fresh and new. The air is not so humid or hot. Bare feet find soft, freshly mowed green grass, and tan lines are still unseen. Gardens are planted and summer showers are welcome. July 4th finds the heat of summer entrenched. The cooling breezes and blue skies of spring are but a dim memory. Bare feet find solace in sandals or flops because the ground is now too hot for unprotected soles. The corn is usually ready. By Labor Day, the joy of summer has waned. Most crops are harvested and the garden has either wilted or been eaten by pests. Fall is a welcome anticipation.

In our neck of the woods, summer’s holidays are celebrated by eating the bounty of the season. Perhaps it is not the best pastime to enjoy when one is trying to keep a third class medical, but it is done on a frequent and joyous basis. This year, July 4th fell on a Sunday, a day in the south typically set aside for worship for the devote and recovery for the debauched. Consequently, the city of Jasper decided that the festivities to celebrate the birth of our nation should take place on Saturday so the natural order of the weekend would not be disturbed.

Following this recommendation, the Front Porch Gang decided to host the annual Bring-A-Dish Lunch at the airport on Saturday as well. [Read more...]