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hharney 05-07-09 08:11 AM

SOAPA 2009 Branson
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Report from SOAPA Branson

All SOAPA arrivals were successful yesterday. Some actually arrived Tuesday. Branson is a great little city and the welcome to all Skymaster pilots has been very warm. The FBO went out of their way to accommodate the planes on the ramp. Mark and his crew stayed late for some arrivals to be sure that all SOAPA members were in safely and tied down. Craig and I had a great flight in 2JF from Michigan. We were IMC throughout about 1/2 the flight and the plane got a good bath. We had head winds most of the way but at times they were kinder to us than others coming from different parts of the country. Florida pilots had a grueling head wind traversing through Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

After such laborious work the water hole Ernie Biggs was a welcome sight. The group had a good time meeting one another and sharing stories of the days flight while listening to dueling pianos and familiar songs in the bar. Some of the folks had a dinner while listening and others found their way to a restaurant for a meal later after the annual SOAPA social.

Well it's time to start the meetings and get ready for a fantastic boat ride tonight. More to come later, reporting from Branson I'm Herb Harney, talk to you soon.

Jerry De Santis 05-07-09 05:32 PM

Great Time
Glad all arrived safely...hope you all have a great time!


hharney 05-08-09 07:27 AM

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Today it was around 95 degrees and I finally got to say "wow it's a little hot out here". We started the day with a breakfast gathering here at the hotel.

The meetings started at 8 AM with introductions and Capt. Denis with his ditching an airplane and surviving a crash. It was a very good presentation and kept all the spectators asking questions. Denis had some interaction with the group by creating some contests of using some of the safety equipment. Ed and I competed to beat the clock in wearing life vests and smoke hoods.

We then filed down to the swimming pool and re-enacted a real "in the water ditching". Paul and Mary jumped in the pool and pulled the rip cord on the raft while Craig and I donned our life jackets in the water with our clothes on. It was the real thing. We baled water, pulled ourselves in and out of the raft, released air and pumped air back in. All in all this burned up the whole morning so it was time to have lunch.

Down the hill, lot's of up and downs here, to the Irish Pub for bangs and mash. After lunch we were entertained by Stan Smith of Aveo Tech. Stan had a dog and pony show with LED aircraft lights. Wow are these things cool and soon to be certified. Paul stepped up next to create some real good discussion on Single Pilot IFR. Good interaction with the group as he went through basics of IFR prep, depart, flight, arrival. Good stuff!

Next, Jeff Bennett with Pilots and Paws had a really interesting presentation about rescue efforts for animals. They have an internet based data base that pilots can volunteer to transport dogs and other pet animals to adoption centers. Jeff has flown 50 some animals since October last year. He even transported pythons and pot belly pig.

Craig and I talked about the 2JF Skymaster restoration project. We showed some photos and Craig went through the process that was done on the airplane. Lot's of interest here as most people are interested in upgrading their aircraft in some fashion.

After a full day of meetings we all headed back down the hill to the lake (3 block walk) and boarded the Lake Queen paddle boat for a two hour ride down the once White River which is now a lake. An absolute gorgeous boat, great service, snacks and drinks. The crew was great and we even played some games to win free drinks. On the way back up the lake we were treated with a show from the AeroShell Flight Team practicing for the airshow this weekend. After the boat ride we found a nice steak house near the $7 million dollar fountain and fire show. They had a live band playing in the courtyard creating a big celebration. The fountain and fire show is the same design and engineering as the Bilogio (sp) hotel in Las Vegas. Apparently the same guy did this fountain. While we had dinner we met the group at the table next to us and learned they had just arrived today in the B17 Yankee Lady from Michigan. They learned we were Skymaster group and there were pilots from Michigan and it was fun to talk to them.

More to come, out for now, Herb

WebMaster 05-08-09 09:21 AM

You've done a good job, oh fearless leader.
I do have a question. In one picture, Mary is the only one wearing a life preserver. Did you guys forget to pack one??

John Hoffman 05-14-09 10:38 PM

Herb - thanks to you and the crew for the meeting work. We had a great time and Branson was a nice suprise, the waterfront there is a lot of fun. Looking forward to the next meeting.

hharney 06-01-09 10:45 PM

The Second Day at SOAPA 2009
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We started out with a genuine southern convective monster. At about 8:30 Friday morning I checked the radar on-line and there was a major cell bearing down on us. The airport had said that if there was any bad weather we could possibly go into a hanger with the Skymasters. I talked to Ed and John and we decided to high tail it out to PLK to check the planes. Once there the storm looked really close so the line crew said that it would be too risky to try to move the planes or open the doors on the hangers. Ed, John and I secured the ramp the best we could checking not only our birds but the aircraft around us too. Just about the time we decided we could do no more all HE_ _ broke loose. We just barley made it into the FBO before it got so dark we could not even see the airplanes that were right next to the windows. Sirens were squealing, the TV was telling everyone to take cover and the people in the FBO were screaming to get everyone to the center of the room and away from the windows. That is when I got worried and started praying. Just 1 1/2 miles to the north a tornado was spotted and things were just getting worse. Well after about 20 minutes things started to lighten up and we could start to see the planes on the ramp and all was OK. The wind only peaked 40 MPH at the airport yet where the tornado was spotted they had gusts to 85 MPH. We checked the planes and headed back to the hotel for the meeting.

Later that day we all had lunch together at a great place. The College of the Ozarks has a work program that allows students to pay for their education. Well part of the curriculum is hotel / restaurant management. They have the most beautiful building, lodge, restaurant on the campus by the airport that serves a fantastic fare of goodies. We really had a nice gathering. Then it was off to the airport to see the machines. Not only Skymasters but a collection, private, of the most unique aircraft I have ever seen. It was a great day.

hharney 06-01-09 10:49 PM

SOAPA 2009 Group Shot
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In this photo:

Jim and Peggy Hoffman (Indiana), Ed and Shirley Kalis (Michigan), Jack and Maria Wybenga (Texas), kneeling Paul Rooy, Mary Lightfine, Herb Harney, in the back our speakers Capt. Denis Murphy and Craig Griswold.

hharney 06-01-09 10:54 PM

More collection
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How about the original Grumman Wigeon that was used in the TV show Fantasy Island? A Ryan PT-22, Waco cabin'd, and the only Breezee on floats in these here states.

hharney 06-01-09 11:00 PM

Soapa 2009
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All in all it was a great show, in fact many of us went to shows. Branson is famous for them so that was the little extra treat for picking this spot. On Saturday there was a big airshow and Thursday night on the water with a big paddle boat. The landings area was really a treat too. Shops, food, drink and a fountain show from the same guy that did the Las Vegas strip fountains.

Next year is coming before you know it so don't wait to make plans too late, stay tuned for information coming up on this message board about SOAPA 2010.

Skymaster337B 06-02-09 10:11 PM

Any hints on next year's location?

hharney 06-02-09 10:21 PM

Stay tuned

Skymaster337B 06-02-09 10:24 PM

Are you accepting suggestions?

hharney 06-02-09 10:30 PM

One of the benefits of attending the SOAPA meeting is becoming a next year committee member. Some of those may not consider this a benefit but it really doesn't require that much involvement. At the meeting in Branson we sent around a form to have each participant suggest a meeting location for 2010. Right now those locations are on the list and will be posted to the board for voting and comments.

Of course you can always suggest location on this message board and we always appriciate feedback on the locations that are being balloted soon.

Skymaster337B 06-02-09 11:01 PM

May I suggest: 1) Page, Arizona (KPGA)...with a house-boat party on Lake Powell.
2) Ashville, North Carolina...fresh mountain air in a Victorian town.
3) Charleston, South town.
4) The Cessna plant in Kansas...a Skymaster home coming.
5) Memphis...home of the Blues, with casinos close by in Mississippi.
6) Savannah, GA...southern hospitality.
7) Roswell, NM...for the UFO festival.
8) Indianapolis, for days on end.
9) Louisville, KY...too much to do and never enough time.
10) Moab, UT...Colorado river, Arches park, Canyonlands Park, and 4x4 Mecca

JeffAxel 06-03-09 01:31 AM

I will second Wichita. Skymasters were made there, Yingling is a service center ( tour ), FlightSafety is there (tour), maybe we can persuade them to make a Skymaster course like all the other stuff they teach there!, there is a really nice hotel on the field (ICT), no cars needed, we can tour the Cessna plant, either the one at ICT, or fly to Independance. I have family in Kansas........need any more reasons!! : )

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