Fly-out to Smoketown, PA February 11th, 2017

Fly-out to Smoketown, PA February 11th, 2017

by John Ely

This month’s original fly-out destination of Lancaster, PA almost got derailed at the last minute due to Juergen’s cold and Mudfoot’s phone call to an old friend, but it turned out to be a surprisingly moderate winter day that brought five planes and nine people to Smoketown Airport (S37) just a few miles southeast of Lancaster. Earlier in the week, after several pilots opted out for various reasons, it looked like there might only be one or two planes flying, so Mudfoot called Joe Czachorowski (Zack), a long-time friend and RV-8 flyer who lives over that way, and asked if he would like to join us for lunch at LNS. Joe suggested a mom and pop restaurant called T. Burk & Co. just a short walk from Smoketown Airport as an alternative explaining that it was a popular pilot’s destination.

High overcast, moderate temperatures and mild surface winds greeted Bob and me at FRR for a 10:30 departure. We took off right on schedule, but noticed rising cylinder head temps within a minute or so. My RV-12 runs very cold during the winter months, so I had previously blocked the water and oil coolers with tape, but Saturday’s unexpected warmth drove me back immediately to FRR to pull the tape.

Once airborne again, we failed to reach anyone on 122.75 until Zack contacted us while we were over FDK. Having 20+ kt tailwinds, my RV-12 had nearly the groundspeed of Zack’s RV-8 running the opposite way and we met in the air a few miles east of Carroll County for some formation flying and picture taking.

Zack in his RV-8 in formation with John and Bob in John's RV-12

After landing at S37, we watched a while for any other potential arrivals, but since we did not hear from anyone else while airborne and fearing confusion about the last minute changes, we decided our gang of three was going to be all there was and so we walked the 100 yards or so over to the restaurant.

The Restaurant

A cozy atmosphere, friendly waitresses and a full menu of sandwiches, subs and full dinners at very reasonable prices greeted us. Great fly-out destination!

Waiting for our order to arrive, we saw some familiar faces enter the restaurant as a gaggle from Warrenton caught up with us. Ralph, & Laura had flown up in their RV-7A, Jim in his RV-6 and Rob with his two daughters in his Maule joined us for some great hangar flying.

Left to rigth: Rob, Laura, Ralph, Zack, Bob and Jim. John took the picture and Rob's girls had their own table.

At the airport

Rob Brooks' Maule

John and Bob with John's RV-12

Jim Andrews with his RV-6

Ralph and Laura Hoover in their RV-7A

For every tail wind there’s going to be a headwind and this one was fierce. Heading home we encountered 20-35 kts right in our face depending on altitude. Juergen would just say that’s more fun flying time – I say, I’d rather be getting somewhere. Jim’s -6 outpaced all of us and so he disappeared over the horizon first. Eventually we all went our separate ways after reaching FDK and the Blue Ridge.

A great day, great food, and great company!

I hope some more of you can make it the next time.

Make sure you look at the Upcoming Events schedule on this site for the next fly out.

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