September 9-10, 2016 - Triple Tree Fly-In

Heading down to the big Triple Tree fly-in in South Carolina this Friday morning.  This is my second time.  I was here two years ago.  They were pretty much rained out last year.  I'm more prepared this time with a folding chair, beverages, and an ice chest!

The flying weather is OK for flying but not for sightseeing.  It's hazy and warm.  I've flown this route many times and it's boring.  Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina:  flat and an endless sea of trees.  I think that is I-95 below.  At least I'm going over twice as fast as the road traffic!  The flight took a little less than three hours and I just wanted it to be over and get there.

I had planned to stop at an airport in Virginia that had a low (relatively) fuel price but in route I realized it was some strange combination military/public airport with a control tower.  I didn't feel like messing with that so I continued on.  I ended up stopping at XXX airport in North Carolina to get some avgas.  I had to pay a little more but it wasn't bad.  I enjoyed talking with the FBO manager.
The Triple Tree fly-in has an arrival procedure like AirVenture or Sun 'N Fun.  The initial arrival point is a big Walmart distribution center that they call Wally World.  It really stands out in the endless sea of trees; you can see it from the air far away.  There it is off my right wing.
I bisect the runway right over the Tower and then fly a left downwind to runway 03.  Just like AirVenture or Sun 'N Fun:  they talk to you and you listen and do what they say.
Looking at Triple Tree from a left downwind.  Just like I remember it.
The ground operation was very well organized, and after a long taxi through the entire camping area I was parked under the trees.

My plane is visible left of center behind a couple of trees.  The airplane camping area was just about filled to capacity.

Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday morning and discovered my airplane was trashed!  Sap-like stuff had dropped from the trees all over it.  I had to spend a couple of hours washing it Sunday when I got home.  Next time, I don't park under the trees!

First task:  register.
I knew it was going to be hot, and it was.  Mid-90s both Friday and Saturday.  They sold ice-cold bottles of Gatorade (and water) for $2 a pop.  I think I drank six of them on Friday.
This awesome RV-14 was parked right next to me.  The newest addition to the Vans RV line, it is a super-sized RV-7.  The builder/pilot is from Texas and did a fantastic job on it.  The kit is so new, only a few have been completed by homebuilders so far.
Also close to my plane, this RV-9 that a couple of fellas from Florida flew in on.  I ended up hanging with them at the Saturday night dinner.  Triple Tree is all about socializing with other pilots.  It's easy to make friends here.
An RV overlooking a field of planes.
The only person I knew at the entire fly-in was Dave Hirschman, who flew down in his RV-3.  I recognized his plane right away and ran into him at the dinner later.
Because the weather was good, turn-out was huge.  I'm guessing they had over 1,000 planes land over the course of the fly-in.  I'm also guessing that the most numerous plane type was the RV.  There were at least 100 RVs I think.
This was one of my favorite RV paintjobs of the flyh-in.
This good-looking RV-12 was parked next to my plane.
I remember talking to the pilot of this plane from from Sun 'N Fun a couple of years ago.  He's from Georgia.
Triple Tree is good for watching planes takeoff and land because you can get so close to the runway.  But it was brutally hot -- mid-90s both Friday and Saturdays -- if you weren't under shade.  These guys had the right idea, parking their recreational vehicle next to the runway and watching flight operations under shade, while drinking a cold beverage no doubt.
I tried out my lightweight portable chair for the first time.  It worked pretty well and weighs almost nothing.  But I wasn't able to last too long out in the sun without shade.
This guy must have arrived early to score this primo parking/camping spot.
I liked the paint job on this RV-8 a lot.  The unpainted RV on his left not so much.  A surprising number of RV builders never paint their planes for some reason.
Clearly, these folks were veteran Triple Tree attendees, and brought portable shade.
Looking down at the south end of the runway.
This recreational vehicle has it all!
Looking north up the runway.
Camping by your plane at Triple Tree.
Factoid!  The bridges over "Granny" lake were patterned after Monet's bridge in Giverny, France.
And, having been to Monet's garden in Giverny, France just a few months ago, I can confirm that the bridges are the same.  Triple Tree needs a little more work on the garden aspect though....
An idyllic aviation scene.
This looks like a fun little plane.  Like the shark mouth!
The CEO's of EAA and AOPA, Jack Pelton and Mark Baker respectively, both attended the fly-in.  Here is Jack Pelton of EAA speaking at the pavilion.  He covered all the issues -- 3rd Class Medical, ADS-B Out, new AvGas, etc.  Well informed -- as you would expect -- he gave good short, concise answers to each question.
Pretty polished Luscombe taxiis by Saturday morning.
Nice reflections off the pond in the morning as an RV is just about to land.
Another morning shot.  The tent to the right is where breakfast and lunch could be had.
Two Twin Beech's rest on the grass carpet.
Watching planes takeoff and land while enjoying a cup of coffee on this beautiful morning:  not a bad way to spend your time!
Checking out flight operations.
Three Bellanca's do a formation pass.  Nice!
Lots of hungry pilot's for lunch.
A good view of the north runway ... from a school bus window.
Up at the north end of the runway was this plaque recognizing Triple Tree as the sight of the annual Joe Nall radio-controlled Fly-in.  A guy told me it was incredible.  He said both sides of the entire runway would be packed.  It is the number one Radio-Controlled Airplane event in the World.
Looking south.   I can't get over the quality of the grass runway!  It's like the fairway at Augusta, Georgia or Pebble Beach!   The runway is 7,000 feet long and over 400 feet wide.
A Cherokee about to touchdown on the perfect grass surface.
This AirCam and Stearman are just some of the aircraft owned by Pat Hartness, owner of Triple Tree.
I wanted to check out my piston rings so I took a look under the cowl ...    Not!  Actually, this is a cut-a-way engine they had on display Saturday.  They had a bunch of workshops Saturday you could attend covering AN hardware, riveting, fabric covering, avionics, prop balancing, etc.

Triple Tree advertised 6.5 miles of walking trails in the wooded area behind the main hangar.  So I went for a walk.  I think I was probably the only person of the thousands of attendees who went hiking.   It wasn't as hot on Saturday as it was on Friday, but it was close.  But I think I had acclimated to the heat a little by Saturday so I checked out the hiking trail.  It was very pretty walking along the lake.

I'm wondering if Pat Hartness lives in that house across the lake.
I finally figured out why they call it Triple Tree!
Lots of planes just flew in for the day as opposed to camping like me.
One of my favorite planes -- a Republic SeaBee -- taxiis by.
Homebuilt aerobatic biplanes alongside the runway.
A Navy SNJ, also commonly known as the T-6.  My Dad made five carrier landings in one of these on the USS Saipan.
I always like the STOL planes  (short takeoff and landing)
A Pitts greases it on.
A Super Chipmonk takes off.
I normally don't take pictures of Cessna 172s but I liked the name on this one:  "BusinessLiner".  In 1956, this was probably a popular plane to have.
I believe this is a Pilatus.  I do know, it can get up and go with a lot of cargo.
I liked the Red Bird tail art on the rudder of this little ultralight.
A brightly colored Zenith CH-750 rolls out on landing.  I need to build one of these someday.
A little Kitfox Lite taxiis by.
A big T-28 about to touch down.
I never noticed how long the Yak-55M is.

What they call the Main Hangar, I call the greatest Man Cave ever.

The Triple Tree logo is prominent in the center of the hangar floor.

This P-51D Mustang was acquired in the last year or so.
I never tire of admiring the polished Spartan Executive.
I'm just amazed at the quality of the polish job.  How do they polish it around the paint trim?  It's just perfect.
I don't think I've seen this Consolidated  BT-13 Vultee before either.  The Vultee was the basic trainer flown by most American pilots during World War II.   After primary training in PT-13, PT-17, or PT-19 trainers, the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for continued flight training.
A nice two-place glass ship hangs overhead.  It's an Experimental DG-500.
The walls are adorned with paintings, pictures and moments.  Airplanes, real and scale, hang from the ceiling.
An interesting RC plane.
A little ultralight to put around in over the treetops.
The Mustang looks even better outside.  The D-model is the two seat version.  World War II fighters looks their good looks with the second seat.  But not the Mustang.
From a different angle with a little sun thrown in.
Enjoying the Saturday night BBQ dinner.  Delicious.
There was even a live band for entertainment.  The dinners at Triple Tree are head and shoulders above other fly-in dinner fare.
Sunset at Triple Tree.
Transiting home from Triple Tree a happy man.  I went up high where I enjoyed the cool air and strong tailwind.  I like Triple Tree.  As someone once said, "I'll be back."  But not if the temperatures are in the 90's.  That's just too hot.
Back at home, I have to wash my poor plane.