TAYLORCRAFT LANDING IN A SPRAY OF SNOW
By: Bowden, Taylorcraft Owner / Pilot
Independence Municipal Airport (IIB)
Joe lands his 1946, BC12-D Taylorcraft in a spray of snow as he sets down to the left side of runway 17 at (IIB) Independence Municipal Airport. He taxied rapidly and directly past the airport lounge window full of friends and on lookers. Joe taxied onto the apron, shut down the 75-horse power Continental Engine, and faced the tail of his aircraft into the cold wind so as to conserve as much engine heat as he could.
Joe is an accomplished pilot with a great deal of experience. His friends always enjoy seeing him come in high to land; and, then at the last minute slipping the plane to land on the threshold end of the runway. However, this was not the day to slip in, as the white snow and sky together make it quite difficult to judge the distance one is above the landing field. When Joe takes off at home, he leaves tracks in the snow that enables him to better judge his distance above the ground. Needless to say, the landing was great and many photos were taken. You just cannot beat fun!
This was by no means Joe’s first flight to IIB as this is a central meeting place for the eight-member group of “The Taylorcraft Formation Group” of flyers. The group meets often at “Pizza Ranch” to discuss their next venture, whether it be going to a flight breakfast, air show, antique fly-in, or a major fun trip like to: “AirVenture” at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, “Sun-‘N-Fun,” at Lakeland, Florida, or another visit to the new “Taylorcraft Factory” at LaGrange, now Brownsvill, Texas in May of 2005. Joe flew on the left-hand wing in formation all the way to Florida and back in April and to Larchwood, Iowa in May of 2002. The group may just fly out to eat where you just have to walk across the road like: The Colony Inn at Amana, the Sandbar at Cassville, WI, The Black Angus at Prairie du Chien, WI or Longley’s at Reedsburg, WI just to name a few.
Joe may not get to go to Texas with his flying friends, as this is the prime time for grain trucking. He trucks grain on day runs so he can be home at night. He reports that they often truck the same grain as many as three or even more times getting it to the ultimate destination. First, the grain is trucked from the field to the elevator, then from the dryer to storage, and finally from storage to the river.
When Joe is not flying, he and his wife Denise often take trips on their beautiful Honda “Goldwing” motorcycle. They have even been know to cycle to a flight breakfast from their home. Joe’s family members have also made many different radio-controlled aircraft that are highly aerobatic doing loops, rolls, and spins with ease. And, yes, wouldn’t you know, there is a fine east / west runway which runs right by the house and hanger. Joe’s brother manufactures hover craft boats for ice fisherman to use on the Great River. Of course, Joe’s runway is a great test area as the boats travel just as easily on land, ice, and water. Joe, however, prefers to go ice fishing with his Taylorcraft on skies just about anywhere on the Mississippi. Joe is also able to “drop in” on friends and neighbors with quiet swiftness on snow skies with the Taylorcraft.
The Taylorcraft Group always enjoys flying into Joe’s Strip as there is always something going on. Joe recently displayed his new pride and joy. He built a KR-2S experimental aircraft, which is very popular. It is a small high-powered, low wing, with side-by-side seating, which flies 135 mph. This is a bit faster than a Taylorcraft at 95 mph. Joe now has his 40 hours of flight time in the KR-2S required by the (FAA) Federal Aviation Administration and is able to fly it on long trips away from his home base. This aircraft is made of Styrofoam and fiberglass construction and therefore very streamlined. It has a 75 horsepower Volkswagen Engine. It burns only 5.5 gallons per hour and has a range of 700 miles. The KR-2S was completed and test flown this past year after six and one half years of construction in Joe and Denise’s home. Joe did an excellent job and can be very proud of it. His KR-2S is based at Platteville (PVB), Wisconsin along with his nephew’s Cessna 150 that Joe needs to fly regularly while his nephew is in the service. As you can see Joe is a busy man.
Before Joe could fly to IIB he wanted to put on his snow skies and take full advantage of our 8 to 12 inches of new snow. He also had to remove ice from the tops of his wings. He removed the ice by placing blankets on top of the wings and a heater beneath. The system works well, but takes a bit of time. However, Joe had the time as the weather was marginal for VFR flying most of the morning. The trend was for better weather throughout the day and Joe enjoyed a beautiful flight home across the Mighty Mississippi.
But, before the leg back home, Joe and his flight leader had to perform a mission. They had to fly over the Pizza Ranch in “Taylorcraft Formation Flight” for the benefit of the staff. Michelle, Manager of Pizza Ranch, received a ride from Joe. While dining there one day, Joe casually asked Michelle if she would like to go for a ride. Naturally, Michelle said, “Yes.” The rest is history, and that is why the Taylorcraft Formation Group has their photos on the Pizza Ranch wall.
Joe Weber’s Taylorcraft photographs submitted by: John Nickel
Saturday, December 31, 2005
TAYLORCRAFT LANDING IN A SPRAY OF SNOW