1940 Air Terminal Museum blog

Reklaw: day one

Monday, November 2, 2009
Filed under: Blog entry (Home Page), Raffle Plane 3.0 - N9379B, Raffle plane trip reports by Blair

Reklaw has become an annual tradition in Texas.  It is the largest fly-in in the state!

Museum volunteers Blair McFarlain (myself) and Francisco Guiterrez played hookey from work on Friday and flew the raffle plane down to the annual Fly-in / Camp out known as “Reklaw” (www.reklawflyin.com)

We started up at about 7:30 and were in the air at about 7:45 after getting our clearances and taxi.

The morning was spectacular, and it was VERY clear. I had decided to try to resurrect my old Sony video camera with a new battery. I’ve had issues with it in the past, but figured Reklaw was worth buying a new battery for it.

Turns out, everything came out great! Video to come soon!

We departed with our squawk code and got routed to the west a little bit before being allowed to proceed on course.

Once we were past Hooks, we got a direct routing. Reklaw was not in the database on the plane’s GPS.

However, I have a GPS program on my phone that I was able to use and type in the Latitude / Longitude coordinates for Reklaw and take us right to it.

Anyway, I will admit that I messed up and didn’t write down the unicom frequency for Reklaw. It’s not on the sectional, we asked two different center controllers to look it up, and they came up empty. We decided to divert to Nacogdoches to look up the frequency. We didn’t want to go into there without a radio.

We landed and saw a Falcon 50 on the ramp, and once we parked, it taxied out and was doing engine run ups.

I called fellow museum volunteer Emily, and she was able to get online and look it up.

With the frequency in hand, we got back in the air and headed to Reklaw. I used my phone’s GPS and we went directly to it, but didn’t see it until we were just about on top of it. We entered the pattern via the left crosswind and flew downwind and base, then turned final. There was about 5 or 6 other planes in the pattern.

They have a hump in the middle of the runway…

I had put in 20 degrees of flaps to get us down over the trees, then had asked Francisco to “dump the flaps” after we touched down, meaning to just put them all the way up. This reduces lift, and gets the full weight of the plane on the wheels as soon as possible, so you can get on the brakes and have them be more effective.

There are several positions where the flaps will click into, and Francisco thought he had them all the way down, but only went down to 10. Anyway, we touched down, and we were just about stopped when we hit the hump, and took off again, just a bit, and landed just a bit down the hump. I was able to stop it and turn around to taxi. In the end, we only used about 1/2 of the available runway.

We taxied back and just picked a spot. PJ had spoken to Marcia (wife of the owner of Flying M ranch, David Mason) and she said we could park next to the registration booth, so we could get lots of foot traffic when people walk by to register and sell tickets.

We didn’t want to park there without speaking to her first, so we just parked in any old spot.

After we got out, we spoke with the local Sheriff who was just sitting back enjoying the show, and he said he’d buy a ticket from us. We had our first sale!

After Francisco spoke with Marcia, we were able to move next to the registration booth.

We got set up, and started to sell tickets. We ended up with 7 tickets for the day. We knew Friday would not be as busy as Saturday, but we wanted to get in before the crowds on Saturday.

They didn’t have lunch on Friday, so we had to fend for ourselves. We brought food to make sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. There was a taxiway right next to us that was in a low spot between two trees. The low spot held some water, so people going by kept getting stuck! They (tricycle gear pilots) were not operating properly by holding the elevator up and keeping the plane rolling. They’d come up to it, elevator down, and stop and evaluate, then creep up to it, and get stuck. :facepalm:

I have video of a few of these planes. Some would have the elevator up, some wouldn’t, some would go through faster, but not have the elevator up.

There were LOTS of incredible planes. I wish I could have just walked around shooting photos.

This Pietenpol is owned by Mike Hergenrather who lives across the street from our favorite retired Continental pilot, Mike Kelly, and is a good friend of the museum.

Some of you may recognize this Cub, it belongs to our ATC buddy, Clint. He showed up about 3 hours after we did, even though we actually left at about the same time! 😆

Once it was getting dark, we tied it down, and packed everything up.

The local EAA chapter provided dinner for $7 per person. We headed to the main hangar to line up for food. We stood in line for about 30 minutes before we got our food. It was COLD. I could no longer feel my toes!

After dinner, David announced that they lost the keys to the “bus”. They run a bus to take people to / from the area hotels who don’t want to camp out. Yeah, I was a wuss, I didn’t want to freeze my nuts off, and Drew said he’d pick up the tab for the hotel, so we decided to do that. Well the “bus” wasn’t a bus at all, but rather a 10 person van. Since they had no keys to the van, we had no ride to the hotel 30 miles away.

He made an announcement with a megaphone and a very nice couple who had driven down from east of Oklahoma city offered to take us and two other people in their suburban. They were going to the hotel right next to ours. We were very appreciative, because we would have been stuck out there with no tent!

We got to the hotel and checked in, and cleaned up and went to sleep. PJ, Mark and Bernard would drive up in the morning, and PJ would come pick us up.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Reklaw 2009!