KR Gathering - 2003

I was planning on leaving early for the KR Gathering but low visibility kept me in St. Louis. I didn't get off the ground until 10:15 and then landed in Trenton, MO at 11:45. The picture shows you what I could see as I left St. Louis. I was waiting to take off when a 30 passenger jet landed. I asked to taxi past the touchdown point before takeoff and the controller agreed. I then saw 3 more jets in the air as I was going past Spirit of St. Louis. You can imagine with the visibility to the right, they were pretty close. Good thing for radar and the transponder that I carry.  



  When I landed at Trenton, the winds were 15kts G25. This proved to be interesting as I came across the threshold. It was interesting because the winds were 30-45 degrees off the runway and were hitting trees, coming over them and then back down onto the runway. This provided an interesting landing as I controlled for the crosswind and the swirls.

  We knew the weather was coming because we were watching it on the weather channel. However the national weather service radar over the internet was the best and most accurate we had. Once we saw this, I moved my plane to a hanger.



Well, John, the airport manager said he would see if he had enough room for my plane. I guess he squeezed it in.... The hanger was about 70 feet wide and 140 feet long. I was the only thing in there. Can't wait to see that bill in the morning! I cleaned up the plane a bit and then, since nobody was there, took my guitar out and played for a while. This was cool because of the reverb in the hanger. 

  This is the front and the reason I wasn't going on from Trenton. This is classic. It went from spotty clouds to a 3-400 foot ceiling just as you see to the right.



  Then it really rained! And rained!

  This is the "airport car" and they gave it to me. I guess they figured I wouldn't steal it because they had my plane. As you can see, I thought I must have been pretty important with the James Bond license plate.



When you are sitting in a hotel room watching weather to see if you can leave in the morning, you think of things to do. I found this radar image that shows the front that just moved over Trenton. I know you can't read it well but trust me, it was the red stuff up on the top. 

Well, I climbed out at Trenton and had at least 700 feet. Went about 20 miles and found that I wasn't going to have as much ceiling in the future. It was about 500 feet or so and I worked my way through and on to Red Oak.



  After passing through the scud, I looked back and took this picture. It shows that you have to think twice about going under this thing.

I arrived and saw Steve's plane. This was a great experience for me because I hadn't seen Steve Alderman for about 7 years. Steve is the first person to give me a ride in a KR and what an experience it was. He was the speed guy with the fastest KR and also the lightest. He doesn't have a starter and has a very small battery. He believes this weight reduction amounts to about 50 pounds. Light is fast, heavy is slow.
Of course there isn't a KR Gathering without Marty. He is the guy that gave me several hours of stick time when I went to Tulsa for a weekend. Marty has done more to help KR pilots than anyone else in the world. Pretty big statement but in my mind it is true.
Steve Bennett fly's this KR-1.5 and is a very good friend of mine. He also has earned the title of a conservative pilot. Steve hosted the Gathering with his wife Linda, Mike and Terri Garbez. They are all great people. I have to say here that hosting a Gathering is a pain. It takes countless hours and in the end if it is successful people don't know what the big deal is.... Well, that is what makes it a big deal. There is lots of planning and lots of work. Thanks for a GREAT time.

Terry has a reliable plane and fly's into the Gatherings, gives rides but he just doesn't say allot. In my mind, Terry represents allot of KR people. He has an airplane that fly's around the country, had done this on a budget, he loves the plane and the people that are at the Gathering. It's great to know a guy like Terry.

My plane gets jealous if I don't put it in.

Sunday before we left, John Shaffer, Steve Alderman, Marty Roberts, Jim Faughn and Steve Bennett were about to get their pictures taken.

The host's arranged for great awards. These prop clocks had a ring that was created from a picture Herb Bull painted for the 20th anniversary of the KR 12 years ago. They are really cool. Also, they arranged to have a prop clock that will be passed (the passing of the torch) from Gathering Host to Gathering Host as the Gathering moves. Pretty cool.
The dinner was great because of the company that we have. We had a presentation about the KR, sang the "Dream and the Dreamer" by Larry Flesner, selected the next Gathering site (Mt. Vernon, IL), presented the awards and of course, we had to have the KR Song. And the rumor is true, I HATE SANDING.
Everything has to come to an end and this is me packed into my KR with my guitar, laptop computer, projector, tools, clothes, maps, GPS and other stuff. Who says the KR can't carry anything.
The skys were clear going home and it was a great trip. I left about 30 minutes or so after Larry and Mark in the Tri Pacer. We landed at the same time in Mexico, MO and filled up with fuel. We talked for awhile and then off we both went for home.

Another great Gathering. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate but life goes on. If you've never been to a Gathering, you are missing the most important information gathering point for the KR. I truly believe this is the only aviation event you MUST attend if you are building a KR. Plan on attending the Gathering in Mt. Vernon, IL next year. I'll post info as soon as it is available.