After a hiatus last year, the NE STOL series is back this summer with more events than before. There is one event per month, May through September, in the Northeast. Each short field takeoff and landing competition at a different field. This month, the field was Dover-Foxcroft in Maine. Tyson stayed home and worked while Emilie and Isaac flew up in the RV-4.
Dover is a long way up into Maine. It took us an hour and a half in the RV-4. That’s less than the two hours it would have taken in the Bearhawk. I arrived 15 minutes late. The competitors were already huddling for the pilots meeting. This is only my second fly-in for the year. My log book says I have done a practice landings at Brookline, but I don’t feel as polished as I have some years. I had decided not to compete. Instead, I would be social. After all, I am more out of practice at that than flying.
The airstrip was lined with high wing, slow flying bush planes. Most of them equally capable of competing as the folks who volunteered. Instead, their high wings shaded the spectators and picnickers. I didn’t know most of the people. At the speed these planes fly, it’s a long way from southern NH to Dover-Foxcroft. I couldn’t say who was a local from town and who was a pilot. A lot of two place airplanes had six people sitting in lounge chairs underneath.
Lisa Reece of the Maine Aeronautics Association was there. We still need to go for a ladies flying trip some time. In the meanwhile I am content to be on her mailing list of Maine flying events. John Meade of the RAF was there. He was sympathetic to Tyson’s oil cooler issues and had some suggestions. Cliff and his son Travis competed. Once they finished competing, Isaac had a grand time playing with Travis. I think it has been two years since they saw each other at the last WAD fly in. And Rene’s airplane came, flown by his now grown son Cody. The last several times I have seen that plane, Cody has been flying, so I think it’s Cody’s plane now.
The actual event seemed well organized. There was a roped off spectator area that kept people off the field. They had an announcer and high power speakers. Everyone could hear who was flying and their takeoff distance and landing distance. Because I was socializing, I can’t tell you the winner or the winning distance. Jim Crane was in a new airplane that I didn’t recognize — a four seat experimental PA14. It had reverse thrust which should have made it land short, but it flew like it was heavy. That put it at a significant disadvantage compared to the light Super Cubs and Carbon Cubs. Tom Ford had a new engine in his Super Cub and new Fowler flaps. Someone had a Zenith. All the other competitors were tailwheels. At the very end they did an extra round for two amphibious float planes.
So that was my third trip to Dover Foxcroft. (Link to 1st trip and 2nd trip.) Tyson has yet to go. Isaac flew most of the way home. He loved flying around the small puffy cumulus clouds. I had to duck down occasionally so he could see straight ahead. While up in Maine, I was able to find lakes and peaks for him to maintain a heading. Unfortunately, once back in NH the haze hid all the distant landmarks. I need to mount a phone in back displaying a pseudo instrument panel. Then he will be able to fly us home even better.