My Western Trip~Part 13

30 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

I started out early the next day so I could stop at the Timpa R/C Model Airfield to see what kind of planes they might be flying. There was a small crowd as the winds had been blowing fairly hard the day before and the weather man had forecasted more of the same. The Timpa R/C site is located on 160 acres of unobstructed land for radio control airplane and helicopter flying, with a 750’ paved runway, paved run-up area and covered assembly area with tables. It was one of the nicest R/C sites I have seen in a long time. The club members were very cordial and I got some great photos of them and their planes.



My next stop was to visit the CAF Arizona Airbase Museum in Mesa, AZ. This was a very enjoyable visit, as the museum had a great collection of well-restored aircraft including the only Grumman AF-2S Guardian I had ever seen. The Guardian was a huge aircraft and I couldn’t believe it was carrier rated back when U.S. carriers only had smaller straight flight decks. The plane was in their restoration hanger in the final stages of preparation for its first post restoration flight test.



The Wings of Flight Museum was on the other side of the Falcon Field Airport, so I hitched a ride with one of the local FBO fueling employees in his electric cart. Wings of Flight turned out to be a private aerobatic team that hires out for airshows and other aviation events mainly in the immediate Arizona area. Two of the pilots were taking a break from an aircraft inspection and invited me to join them for a cup of coffee. They told me about how their eight-plane business had gotten started with just two of them, and how it just kept on growing. They didn’t seem to be in any kind of a hurry and could have talked to me all day if I had wanted to. They seemed like a really great bunch of guys, doing what they all loved to do – fly.



Next, I headed to Peoria, AZ to visit the Challenger Space Center that actually turned out to be a children’s learning center. So I headed down the road to Chandler, AZ to visit the Rawhide Western Town. This was a smaller version of Tombstone, but was more about attractions and a Steakhouse than anything else. When the street barkers started calling for people to head for the O.K. Corral shootout show, the whole place became deserted, and I left. Somewhere on one of the smaller roads on my way to or from the Rawhide Western Town, a Roadrunner ran across the road in front of my car, and I was instantly transported back to when I was much younger, driving on a two-lane road somewhere in New Mexico, where it was a common sight to see Roadrunners run from one side of the road to the other. What a thrill that was!   By the time I got back into Phoenix, and found the Wingspan Air Museum, they were closed. So I stopped and had a delicious Fuddruckers ¼-pound BBQ Burger and Raspberry Ice Tea, after which i went to the motel for some rest and TV.




—–To Be Continued—–



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