Don't try to understand this breed of airmen. The long-heralded "Air Race" was held Sunday for the Sky Writing trophy. It wasn't a cross-country race at all, but a precision landing contest on the ice of Big Chapman lake. Oh well.
This sort of spontaneous fun is what makes flying sport. The change in plans was made suddenly. Though not too well planned and managed, it was probably for the best. Everyone had lots of fun, cracking-in across the slick ice, trying to slap the ships down on a line in a free-for-all contest.
J. VanCuren, of Etna Green, therefore becomes the first pilot to have his name engraved on the trophy. It will rest in shiny splendor at the Lowman Flying service office for the coming month. Matt Dalton, Warsaw, flying from Municipal airport, rode Van's tail hard to get second prize, a card table from the Home Furniture Mart. Third prize, another Home Furniture card table went to Max Weirick, of Smith Field.
Second prize actually represents a greater achievement for Dalton than winning does for Van. for VanCuren is an instructor, a fine precision pilot. Dalton is an amateur. A sound and steady private pilot, conservative and consistent. Weirick, private pilot, is always close to first money in these contests of the Warsaw Aero club, has been first before.
Following close with fourth and fifth place was bill Weirick, then Jack Doswell. Really, these things are hard-to-judge, and luck plays a prominent part. Planes will skim the ice, wheels touch, bounce, touch and exactly where they actually quit flying is very, very hard to determine.
Come next February 29, four weeks from Sunday, it will be up to boys at Municipal to try to take the trophy away from Lowman's crew in friendly, competitive flying. The Aero Club committee will no doubt devise some tortuous method of so doing.
Tay Hess and I flew the L-4 over to Big Chap, looked the ice over and landed. E. Kay-Smith drove over, plodded out on the lake with a can of motor oil. A line scarcely 50 feet wide was marked across the snow and ice with the oil. Then the fun started. One after another, the pilots glided in, slipped in or dragged in with power, trying to chop throttles smack on the line.
Among those who participated were Carl and Bill Weirick, Max Weirick, Carl Bibler, Joe Carlin, Bob Bast, Don Snyder, J. VanCuren, Pat Haynes, Gene Beigh, Bill Hunt, Mat Dalton, Jack Doswell. Gene Noggle and George Hauck were cheated out of their try at four o'clock when Kaye Smith, Hess and I took a run out--darn near frozen--ended the contest. Others were probably in it, who were missed by my poor reporting. Others might have gotten in had the judges been more hardy. Be assured, it was good, clean winter-sport. Flying from frozen lakes is fun--and safe.
The Warsaw Aero club has a new president. Tay Hess who has served for nearly the past year, appointed Stanley Arnolt vice prescient then resigned, automatically making "Wacky" president until the annual club election sometime this spring. Under the club charter, the president, with advice from the executive board, appoints the vice president. The future of the club, at present, at least, is very much in Arnolt's hands. He is a private pilot, operates his own airplane and should be deeply interested. Here's luck, Stan!
Chalmers Dome, auto mechanic and pilot, is now out of McDonald hospital, is going to be a hard man to hold down until he should be up.
Bob Keims, of Warsaw, and Bob Rohr, of Leesburg, both had sizable chunks whacked out of their shirt-tails this week as they soloed airplanes for the first time. Rohr made the grade Friday. Keims late Sunday. Creditable jobs they did, too!
Now comes George Craig, flying from Municipal airport, with a spanking new private certificate. With the fine number of solo and private pilots we have reported just from local fields this year, you can readily see why the total is swelling rapidly across the nation.
There are rumors of a big fish-fry for the Aero club about Feb. 12. Any truth in it, boys? Let's hear about it.
The aircraft Owners and Pilots association and the Prairie Farmer Flying Farmers have all recently gone on record advocating widespread use of the new stall-warning indicator. The sooner this device is required for a new license or a re-license, the safer flying will be.
Of course, in the final analysis you can achieve a fool-proof plane, but you can't do anything about the fool pilot, warning device or not. Play it safe and be an old pilot. Why die a bold pilot?
Warsaw Daily Times, Mon. Feb. 2, 1948