Raining on Charlie Mike

Ephraim is amazing. He helps me breathe new life into Charlie Mike, again and again.

Yesterday we changed the oil and replaced the old incandescent lights with LEDs.

Today, in the pouring rain, we worked on a fuel flow meter…..and read up on how to fix the “slop” in the aileron’s.

And in the middle of that, Ephraim wanted to go visit a potential customer. We ended up at a hangar estate sale for my Dad’s cousin- David Howy. We both bought a couple of items.

Ephraim opens a multitude of doors for me, Some familiar and others brand new. He is a very special person, and if the new customer we visited is at all smart, he will grab the “next available” (which, I think, is mid 2024) with Ephraim…..and be very lucky to get to work with him. I know I am, always.


The weather looking forward became concerning. I have appointments in early November that I do not want to miss.

High Sierra was the perfect end to my trip. Time to head home. It just felt right.

Without knowing how many days it would take me, I didn’t really mention to anyone my plans.

I flew Reno to The Dalles and enjoyed The Dalles overnight.

Then up to Yakima and Cle Elum. I could see the weather and smoke in Puget Sound were going to be a challenge. I powered on.

I punched out of Stampede Pass and went south, then west, then north, then finally east to Arlington. I needed to be able to see the ground, and I couldn’t see much else.


Ephraim was here to greet me when he heard my calls on the radio! How nice to have a warm welcome home for both me and Charlie Mike!!

High Sierra

I’m back in Reno, recovering from my weekend at High Sierra Fly-in. Wow! What a fun, fun time!

The stol-drag races were great, but the best part of the weekend was connecting with, and meeting new people. THAT was a BLAST!!

My Burner buddies: Cherry, Purple Haze, Flash and Sandy all came by for a day (or two). Ephraim came down from Arlington and we got to spend a lot of time together (thank you Ephraim!!!!!).

I also ran into many folks whom I have met along my travels. That was such a sweet surprise! Folks from a Wilbur WA fuel stop camped next door to me. Kim and Brian whom I met at Johnson Creek were super fun to hang out with.

Kim and Brian (left) and their campmates serving morning mimosas

Another super, super fun experience for me was getting to know Cathy Page better, and flying the course with her in her super (duper) cub!

Cathy Page

Dancing with Steve Henry was also a joy. He is a sweet man, AND a great dancer!!

The campfire at night is where the real fun happens. Connecting with past HSF friends, and meeting new friends. I’ll be back for sure next year!

Bon fire at High Sierra

Flying with CC

As a private pilot, you get your license, and then, the training required is a bi-annual flight review. That means you are only required to get training once every two years, and it tends to be a basic review. It’s not enough, at least not for me.

At Oshkosh, I went to a presentation by the STOL-DRAG folks and got inspired to pursue training for off-airport and backcountry flying.

Fast forward to last Monday. I flew to Cal-Nev-Ari in 243CM and wow! Did I learn A LOT.

We established the real envelope of the airplane, which required going up in the plane and doing many exercises and tests. The syllabus is his book (which he is re-writing, so wait to buy it).

Then I learned precision flying and landing. I consistently landed “on the spot” and in under 500’.

Next, we went to the mountains to practice.

My wish is that the class is twice as long: a week to learn and then another week with CC to practice.

He’s a one-man show; accomplished, awarded, and revered. He has the awards and certificates to prove it. I called him the “airplane whisperer”. He’s fascinatingly educated and experienced in flying. He plays by his own rules but he works closely with EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assoc.), AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assoc), and FAA (Federal Aviation Assoc) on everything he does. When you complete his course, you get a log book entry, a certificate and FAA wings credit.

But wait, there is more: you stay at his house (for a fee), you park your plane in his driveway, you fly from his runway, and if you wish, you can swim in his pool, soak in his hot tub, and sweat in his sauna.

He also cooks for you, and, no surprise, he’s a great cook. (Last night we had grilled salmon, sweet potato and a tossed salad – yum). Graduation dinner!

What? Joe, the neighbor, looks on.

If he finds something on your airplane that he thinks can be improved, he fixes it right then and there!

Fixing the aileron problem

I spent time learning from the best. I can’t wait to go back for more. Oh! if you want to take some flying lessons for sure check out CC.

Lessons on the road

My magnetos got wet and died. Not both at the same time, but rather one at a time.

Several people came to my rescue: Flash, Rick, Joe, and Don. Of course, Ephraim made himself available whenever I called.

People can be so nice. It’s really amazing, and something we need to remember when we read the news, view the headlines, and focus on what is wrong.

People are good, they are kind, and they most often, want to help you.

When I took off from Inyokern, after getting fuel, something was DEFINITELY wrong. The engine choked, coughed, and lost power. I landed.

Joe – who was out on a Saturday with a shiny B29 event, had other things to do, but he took time to call Don an A/P and I/A to help me. Don arrived in minutes.

B29 Inyokern

We worked through a bunch of tests, and finally decided the mag was toast. I rented a car and drove to my retreat in Vegas, leaving 243CM with Don.

Vegas Retreat – on a break

When I got back, my airplane was fixed. Stephanie (Don’s wife and business partner) and Don shuttled me between the car rental and the airport and even took me to the post office to return the dead mag (I can’t believe I don’t have even one photo of them). They were sweet, helpful, and so so reasonable.

It’s easy to make new friends when we can focus on what we can accomplish together, rather than on what separates us. How easy it is to forget that when we don’t need any help.

Kern Valley Fly in

At Burningman Alex (my 88NV airport manager predecesor) and I talked about connecting at Chicken Strip in Death Valley shortly after the event.

Unfortunately, chicken strip is closed because of flooding.

When I reached out, Alex was on his way to Kern Valley for a fly-in, so I said “see you there”!! Never mind the magneto problems I was having……

Jackie, me and Alex

I arrived in the morning and met Anthony. The organizer of the event and his SO Shannon.

Shannon and Anthony
The airports

The plan was to fly out to backcountry airports. I was nervous, so Alex let me fly with him. Wow!!! We made it to amazingly beautiful places in the high Sierra!!

Monache meadows

We landed at three of the airports on the map and then headed back to Kern Valley.

The evening ended with an outdoor aviation movie. What fun with great people. I’m so fortunate to have, and to get to make, new great, friends!