Took off today to try out the
homemade under-helmet headset
I keep my radio tuned to the home drome even outside the
pattern, just to keep track of what's going on back at my base.
Was flying south today, and I heard a radio call: "Tiger
NXXXX crossing Lake Tapps south-to-north, fourteen hundred
Hmmm. I was just east of Lake Tapps, at 1900. Let
him know? Heck, we're offset by a mile or so, and five
hundred feet of altitude, and I'm flying in the opposite
But...it would be courteous, just in case he'd already spotted
"Tiger, you've got a Fly Baby east of the Lake, at nineteen
Voice came back: "Is that N500F?"
What the hey?
N500F, of course, is the ORIGINAL Fly Baby, now in a museum
restoration facility. I hadn't flown it for twenty years.
"No," I replied, "But I used to fly it."
"Is this Ron?"
"This is Bob _____!"
Holy smoke. "Hey, Bob, you replaced the two-seater!"
I'd met Bob on the Internet 30 years ago. Yes, thirty
years, on one of the old USENET discussion groups. Bob had
been flying "The Hummin' Little Grumman," a Grumman TR-1.
I'd even an in-flight shot of him and his plane in a book or
two. We'd met at some USENET-community fly-ins a couple of
times, but I hadn't seen him for about 5-10 years.
Back when I was a 13-year-old CAP cadet, I was trained to
operate some of their old goofy VHF radios (anyone remember
GONSETs?). One bit of training is that you do NOT use the
radio for chit-chat! But I shoved down the guilt feelings
as Bob and I reminisced a bit.
We went our separate ways. I still had the radio turned to
Auburn, my home field.
"Auburn Traffic, Tiger NXXXXX" crossing at 1500 feet."
Probably on the way to Boeing Field or Renton.
"Auburn Traffic, Tiger NXXXXX on the 45 for 3-4."
"Auburn Traffic, Tiger NXXXXX downwind for 3-4, full-stop."
He's landing at my home field!
I turned back north and raced (or at least putt-putted)
home. I'd do a touch-and-go first to spot where he's
First T&G... hmmm, the two transient parking locations were
clear, and he wasn't parked at the gas pumps.
Second T&G... its that him taxing down for departure?
No, it's a Cherokee.
Around a third time for a full-stop. Need gas, so taxi to
Beyond the pumps is a resident tiedown row...and there sits a
Grumman Tiger with its canopy open. And up walks Bob.
Strange how two ships can pass in the day...but still
meet. Gives me hope for parallel lines. :-)