September 16, 2017 - Essex Skypark Wings & Wheels Fly-In

We were fortunate to have great flying weather for this years annual Essex Skypark Wings & Wheels Fly-In!  Our last event -- the spring pancake breakfast -- was pretty much rained out.
I parked the RV across the runway on the grass.
The Air Boss's were wearing pink shirts this year.
Lots of cars this year although I never got over and looked at them.
Max Lichty's Champ on prominent display.
Lynnette brought grandson's William and Griffen out.  Here they are about to go on a hay ride around the Skypark.
I went as well -- the first time I've done it, believe it or not.  We are passing the north end of the Skypark, past Rob's SeaRey.
We drove down to the seaplane ramp.  I was surprised to see a Bee Farm on the side!
My polish job is still holding up pretty well -- two months after I did it for Oshkosh.
I talked with the pilot of this Bonanza earlier in the week.  He had flown it all the way from Baja, Mexico, where he lives!
The guy in the blue shirt gave his a history of Essex Skypark while we rolled.
We passed by this little Luscomb.
Blade's RV-4 with big engine.

John C.'s RV-7 and the little SuperCat which I've seen at many a fly-in over the years.

Mater the Greater was on hand!
Loyal readers will recall that we have tried to do a missing man formation for Max Lichty -- who left us last January -- twice already -- at his burial service and pancake breakfast -- but had to cancel both times for truly horendous weather.  The third time was a charm.  We had a four-ship of RVs to do the missing man, and also a 3-ship of local Essex Skypark high-wings for an overhead pass.   Here we are briefing.
The RV four-ship pilots:  left to right:  Blade, Riggo, Claw and John.
The three highwings took off first.  Then we took off and formed up over the field.  Here we are just about to get formed up.  I had the honor of leading the flight.
Here comes the three highwings, led by Paul C. in his Super Cub that he built.
And there they go.
We followed them in, about two minutes behind.
Getting close.
#3 Riggo, the missing man, turns on his smoke. 
And pulls up and out just before we reached the Skypark.
I heard there were 40 or so people from Max Lichty's family on hand, all wearing blue shirts that said "Max's Champs"   (Max owned and flew a Champ for 40+ years).
There we go.
Our flight -- and Jeff A. who orchestrated the music system on the ground -- received this nice thank you note from Claudius, president of the Essex Skypark Pilots Association:

"Your tribute to Max was clearly the high point of a successful event. Any number of people came up to me and told of me of having tears in their eyes. It could not have been more powerful. The impact on was strong on many levels. Honoring a remarkable man, honoring a departed pilot, thinking of others, reflecting on a life well lived, etc etc etc etc. Following the formation with the National Anthem somehow was extra special. Not sure exactly why, but this was a much deeper use of the patriotic anthem than many other occasions. Somehow embodied the very best of America. The timing of Taps was perfect. Thanks to precise flying and intimate knowledge of the music system. Could have been off and lost its impact in so many ways Again in my mind this was a fitting high for an exceptionally successful day."
It was an honor to be able to contribute to paying respect to Max in a small way for all that he did for me and everyone else at Essex Skypark.

But we were not through with doing missing man formations!  Blade, John and I headed west from Essex Skypark to Frederick, joined up with another RV  -- Riggo had another committment -- then on to Winchester, Virginia for another missing man.  Blade led on this one.

Here is Blade in the lead with John on his left in route formation.

A close-up of Blade.

John, in his camouflaged RV-7.

We arrived in the Winchester area early so Blade had us practice some turns, crossovers and rejoins.  Then we did the missing man.  I never saw the ground -- too busy lining up Blade's outboard elevator hinge with his spinner.  But Blade reported later:  I heard from the organizer on the ground--she said the vets were clapping and hollering and the women were crying because it looked so beautiful.

Back at Essex Skypark, the public had mostly left but the party by the regulars was just beginning!  I took Bruce's friend Carl up for a ride: his first ever in a small airplane.
I think he liked it.
Bruce's Ellen wanted to go for a ride so I took her up.  It was her second ride in the RV.  Bruce went up in the RV-3 also.  Ellen got a chance to see her husband up in his element.  Ellen took all of the
Crossing under the RV-3.
I spotted Chip in the Stearman down below and so we had to pull up alongside and check Double Trouble out.
Circling over Essex Skypark.
As you can see, most of the visiting airplanes and cars have departmented, but now is when it gets fun for the regulars!

The Essex Skyparkians airplanes are still parked out front.  Now is the time for rides for family and friends.

Still circling over the field.
Ellen enjoyed the flight but happy to be safe on deck.
Bill and Bruce