I can't start this year's newsletter as in most past years, about how great it was for the Museum and friends. We suffered the sudden and unexpected loss of our good friend Jimmy Sypherd in February. He was one of the founding members and a major source of support for the Museum. In addition to being the main push behind the DC-3, Corsair, Windmill and the Light Tower, he was the most willing worker whenever special events were scheduled. He worked very hard to make sure the Museum was presented in the best light possible. He had an eye for how things should be and he worked tirelessly, especially on the grounds and facilities, to make things right.
Following Jimmy's death a palpable quiet fell over the entire place for weeks. The regular folks were here every day and projects did move forward but there was none of the typical chatter. It was clearly a sad time around here. We still miss him greatly.
The season-opening event, the Chili-Fiesta Fly-In, was a great success. It was a nice spring day and well over 100 planes flew in as well as 400 to 500 roadside visitors. Airplane and car parking were at near capacity.
The Chili supply was challenged a few times during the day, but enough arrived with the visitors to feed everyone.
Bob Coolbaugh and Andrew King brought their 1911 Ely-Curtiss replica airplane to Massey for the event. The plane was built by the owners to celebrate the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. The plane started a nationwide tour a few weeks before and was brought to Massey for some minor adjustments before moving on. They flew the plane for the crowd.
And, I witnessed something I had never seen before. At the end of their last flight as the plane rolled-off the runway the on-lookers gave them a standing ovation. Thrilling!
There were no Stearmans this time but the radial engine sights and sounds were more than adequately provided by a magnificent Grumman Goose that flew in from the Western Shore. Its two 600 horsepower engines bellowed that famous radial engine sound in the finest style. It was a thing of beauty.
Schedule April 28th for the 2012 Chili-Fiesta Fly-In.
The summer flew by and the Young Eagles Day was canceled due to bad weather. We will try again, probably in August, date to be determined.
This was the third year for the Vintage Sailplane Association get-together over the Columbus Day weekend. They again brought some very special planes including some from the 1930's era. They were joined by The Experimental Soaring Association (ESA).
The Vintage group provided rides for many friends and neighbors. This has become a very popular event with our local friends who keep asking "When are the gliders coming again?", "Will there be rides again?" It's the best local good-will event we have. They will be back for four days over the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 5th to the 8th, 2012.
The ESA group enjoyed some flying, but, their primary activity was a series of technical seminars including such things as human-powered and electric-powered flight. They were from the Penn State area where some great things are happening.
The Christmas/Open Hangar party was by far the highlight of the year. We were capacity-challenged in every way. We will be talking to our farmer friend about additional parking areas for this coming year. We saw a big increase in show cars and motor cycles. They make a great addition to the "show".
The food supply held up and with the help of Ann and her friends the flow kept pace. Big job, well done!
There were 158 planes by actual count. Among them were 17 war birds, five Stearmans, and a dozen liaison-type planes. Don Anthony's SNJ was as beautiful as always. They were all parked as groups and made for some great photo-opts. Check out our web page, masseyaero.org.
Aircraft parking was a great challenge. Don Hooker, Bill Dilling and Tony Saienni did a marvelous job. They were clearly over-worked and are looking for some extra help for this year's fly-ins. Volunteers anyone?
The pilots and ground handlers alike deserve kudos for a job well done. With 158 planes arriving within about 90 minutes the sky and the grounds were very crowded. At one time I saw about a dozen planes in the pattern. They looked like bees circling their nest. We have photos with six on final approach, at the same time.
Using standard traffic patterns and proper position reporting, particularly with so many NORDO's, it becomes vitally important to use good "see and avoid" practices. The best news is everyone arrived and departed without incident. Thank you all. See you next year on Dec 2nd.