Norma and I flew our c140 2614N to lee bottom flying field on the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky Saturday September
29th and hundreds of other assorted flyers did the same. I thought I was in Paradise. Surely this is what Heaven is like for
me. "Norma, aren't you excited?" I asked and she smiled, not nearly so excited. We walked up and down every aisle of planes
and steady streams of still more planes kept landing. Walking in front of the front rows was best as one could be within 100
feet of the planes landing or rolling out.
As we walked to the food tents and looked toward final, eight planes were stacked up some fishtailing to slow down during
decent, four more on base, and four downwind. Amazing! The pictures, only fifty yet on-line don't really do it justice. I
had left home without my camera.
When we landed shortly before 10:00 already hundreds had landed and departed. They were coming and going continuously.
I don't know if anybody really kept count.
I asked every pilot I saw if they could see anything wrong. None could. It was perfect.
Afterward as we walked back to our plane after lunch I asked her what planes she saw and what all she could tell me about
them. She said "well I saw red ones, white ones, yellow ones, green ones, red and white ones ..... They had wings and wheels,
engines and a propeller..., when you've seen one, you've seen them all." Another lady, a pilot's wife remarked that she wished
she could be in town shopping. Maybe in the future they'll have a shuttle for the ladies to go into town and shop. Clearly
we all don't see everything in the same light and with the same enthusiasm and appreciation.
A dozen Cessna c140's similar to our 2614N were there. That makes me think it must be among the safest tailwheel planes
and the one produced in the largest numbers perhaps. A dozen Steerman, several others with radial engines were there. Wood,
fabric and tailwheels was the theme. I saw several types I'd never seen before, one that comes to mind was high wing, fabric,
and twin engines mounted on the high wing, two place, tandem and its paint scheme made it look modern. Later I learned that
was a twin-Champ, probably unable to climb on a single engine, likely 65 or 85HP. It was in perfectly restored condition
and looked brand new from the factory.
Another unusual plane was a Meyers from 1946, a low wing two place, retrac' faster than the Swift and it looked brand new.
The couple camped out there with a tent he'd brought, (she drove in). Only 15 Meyers, low wing two place are left flying anywhere
in the world. A dozen Swift were there, various colors, the best being the polished silver, reminding me of the Old Navigator's
stories. A few WACO biplanes were there. I'd guess fifty planes were from the 1930s, with three hundred and more from the
1940s era when every returning pilot from the war, my dad included, thought every American pilot returning would own an Airplane
as would his children and his children's children.
We bought lunch, and a few shirts then some expensive avgas at $4.90 per gallon. That seems high, higher of course
than the car gas we prefer, but we are happy that a local FBO took the risk and the effort to take onto the roads the tanker
and the fuel truck that are not normally licensed for the road. The extra effort and expense needed to be repaid and rewarded
so the cost per gallon was a bit high, which is ok for so special an event.
We really appreciate that generous young married couple who put on this event. Only by sale of the shirts can they make
a little money to repay in part all their efforts. No admission was charged and those with gratitude that want to help perpetuate
this wondrous aviation event can visit leebottom.com on-line and can make a free will contribution as we did via Pay-Pal or
plastic. It must be amazingly stressful self-induced pressure for one couple, not even retired, to own, operate and keep up
this little grass stip, and to organize this annual event. They own a little piece of Heaven. In that one picture I attached
you'll see they own a view of the mighty Ohio River on the right side, over which one flies the downwind leg for either runway
and they own a view of their own mountain beside their grass strip. If you ever drive or fly past that area of Southern Indiana
off I65 North of Louisville, you should detour and see this historic airfield.
This is the way one Saturday every month should be for any old flyer.
Words cannot convey the grandeur of this aviation event in anything short of an entire book with pictures and with the
stories of the flyers who love those old planes. Even then reading it and seeing its pictures cannot possibly bring the same
excitement as being there.