These are the days

It’s that time of year when I get to whine. Weather wise, December through March is typically dreary, often with gray skies and cold temperatures. We even have a snow shower or two here in north Georgia that gets the news media all in a tizzy. However, this year has been exceptionally warm, although we’ve had our share of dreary wet days.

I can get through the winter just fine if I get a day now and then for a smooth flight in Lester. It’s just as well that winter often limits my good VFR flying days, because this is also the time of year when our bank account is stretched to the limit.

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A story that should have been told years ago

Big Fred

David Joseph Rushlow was an extraordinarily kind man. I never saw him without a smile on his face, and I never heard him say an unkind word to or about anyone. He often flew around with candy and a bag of toys for the airport kids in his Stinson 108, his Citabria, or the Stinson Reliant he affectionately called “Big Fred.”

I should have written about Dave years ago, and I am terribly sorry now that I did not. I can claim it was a testament of his good nature that every time we got together at 19A or at JZP, we always talked of flying or just went flying. Grass fields and $100 hamburgers beckoned. Interviews were for rainy days or for when we were too old to fly.

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Lesson learned

"Albert" today with his airplane. Deb explains the name has been changed and face covered to protect the guilty.

“Albert” was 25 and cocky back in 1975 when he got his license. Well, perhaps he was a tad nervous on his check ride, but thankfully he did well and would never have to do that again.

Albert thought life was good. He and his Cessna 140 were temporary based at a sleepy, little airport in the hills of northern Georgia while he oversaw the completion of a project for his employer. The pay was good. The cabin he rented fulfilled his needs and the scenery was downright pretty.

Albert loved to fly. He particularly liked to fly in the mountains. [Read more…]


Short Final

It has been a beautiful fall; one of the best for color in recent memory. We haven’t been able to appreciate it from the air as often as we would like, but those days devoted to finding the best corn mazes or that perfect red have been spectacular and truly appreciated.

It seems that all around trouble abounds. The economy is dismal. Fuel prices remain high. Groceries have become an investment. I have heard that moonshining made a comeback locally as a means of supplemental income but didn’t prosper because the liquor made in China was cheaper.

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Blakesburg: A field of family

A row of Luscombes at Blakesburg. (Photo by Sparky Barnes Sargent)

A couple of months ago I was in a particularly optimistic mood and booked us a couple of days at the world’s biggest fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Almost immediately, I realized that trip wasn’t going to work. Even if we drove and weather was no issue, Keely had band camp one week, there was a four-day break, and then she was scheduled to attend the open house at her school. The family budget didn’t allow for airline tickets and a rental car. The trip would have been a rushed affair, and we all know Oshkosh is an event best savored at one’s leisure.

So the Luscombe List suggested we try attending the Antique Airplane Association/Airpower Museum Invitational Fly-In in Blakesburg, Iowa, instead. [Read more…]

When life hands you lemons…

When life hands you lemons, the most popular response is to make lemonade. This month, my glass runneth over. So do my refrigerator, kitchen counter, and oven. I have made the proverbial lemonade, along with sweet tea with lemon, unsweetened tea with lemon, lemon icebox pie, lemon bars, lemon-pepper chicken, and lemon curd.

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The girl in the tree

I must confess right off that my interview with pilot Keena Pope wasn’t so much an interview as it was a good, old-fashioned, girl’s day out, get-together and gossip fest. That it was done while she was on the clock and at her boss’s expense made the visit all the more special.

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Going on an adventure

This month our oldest child will turn 40 and last month our youngest turned 13. When Amy and Keith were young, we worked. There wasn’t much time for travel and fun stuff. When there was time off, we were typically too tired for much activity. There were a few trips (one or two to Oshkosh, if I recall), some school activities, and we always made time for church.

Being older and having Keely in our lives has given us new perspective. For me, even before she became our third child, learning to fly changed me profoundly. Some things that were important before no longer were, and the simple things that are often put aside or ignored took on new significance. Flying heightened my appreciation of the world around me, especially the natural world that we, as pilots, see so beautifully from the windows of airplanes.

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The wind beneath his wings

Sam McFarland

Through most of my married life, which has been most of my life really, my Old Man has been the backbone of this family. Sure, I often have to be the navigator, gently — and sometimes not so gently — guiding us in the proper direction, but once on course, his strength and determination sees us through whatever obstacle or situation is at hand.

I am a pretty tough old gal, but I’m able to be tough because I have a safety net to fall back on, a strong pair of arms to keep me safe, a shelter from the storm, and all those kind of sappy, cliché phrases that happen to be true in this case. In fact, in our social circles, this is so well known that the Old Man once received a commendation at a Luscombe banquet for being the “wind beneath my wings.”

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Passing it on


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…]