At 75 years old, I didn’t really expect my father, Richard, to agree to fly with me to SNF this year but I made the offer anyway. Soon enough though, he was in my RV9 and we were taking off for Lakeland, Fl.
We left Perry, GA on the backside of a front that soaked the east coast (and SNF) on Thursday. As we made it through to South Georgia, the sky was becoming murky and turbulent. I told him we were gonna fly at 3500ft but as we past Gainesville, FL we were VFR at 2000 and stayed there until Ocala. I was about to pull the plug and land but the ceilings rose leaving us a thick humid haze and moderate bumps as we approached Lake Parker. We landed at SNF around 6:30 on Friday – just in time for the delicious BBQ dinner hosted by Mary Jane and the HBC crew. If I can’t be at SNF on Friday night in HBC then I don’t want to go to SNF!
We spent Saturday enjoying all that SNF has to offer. This was my 7th year flying and 13th total and it looked like a typical Saturday at SNF except for HB parking which seems sparser every year.
This year there was a Huey and a Cobra giving chopper rides. My father was a U.S. Army doctor in Viet Nam and was very familiar with the sites and sounds of these machines. He said his days in Viet Nam were spent mostly being scared, but he did accept an offer to visit a forward fire base by chopper. It scared him even more. I didn’t think to ask him if he wanted to take another ride here at SNF but as we were flying home, he mentioned that it is something we should have done. Hmmm.
He really enjoyed being immersed in the total aviation experience of SNF and put up well with the little discomforts of the tent and the flight down. About 24 hours after we arrived we were flying home at 4500 ft in a very clear and calm sky. The sun set as we flew and my nighttime landing capped off a really great trip to SNF with dad!