EAA Chapter 1027
Willits, CA

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2009 Chapter News

Local Chapter Full of Beans!

Oct. 18, 2009: Twenty members of EAA Chapter 1027 met for their monthly business meeting and to talk about flying. President Jim Harden cooked up his infamous chili for the lunch. It was so popular that Jim will provide nine-bean soup for the next official meeting. The next meeting date will be announced to members on the email list. Fall and winter weather is in effect.

Airport Day a Success

Sept. 13, 2009: Willits Airport Manager Marilyn Harden reported that the 2009 Airport Day was a success, bringing hundreds of locals and visitors to the one-day event that highlighted the contributions of Ells Field to the area. It also raised money for local charities that provided food and beverages. Exhibitors included Willits Community Theatre (www.WillitsTheatre.org) and others. Plans are beginning for the nextWillits Airport Day tentatively scheduled for Sunday, August 1, 2010.


Sunday, August 2
Willits Ells Field
9 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

We're proud of our airport, the community it serves, and the pilots who use it.
Willits Airport Day is our opportunity to say "Thank you!"
--Marilyn J. Harden, City of Willits Airport Manager

  • Aircraft arrivals from all over northern California including fixed-wing, ultralights, and helicopters
  • Fly-In Awards: Best Homebuilt, Best Vintage, Longest Distance, People's Choice
  • Airplane Rides (biplane and modern; fee)
  • Demonstrations and displays by area businesses and non-profit organizations
  • 8:00 - 11:00 a.m.: Willits Lions Club Breakfast ($7 adults - $5 children)
  • 12:00 - 3:30 p.m.: Nuestra Alianza de Willits South of the Border Lunch

Airport Day

Art and Fred's Adventure

by Art Williams, co-pilot, Race 77

Fred Baron and I were sorry to miss the last Chapter 1027 meeting in Booneville. We had to decline Bryan Whittakers hospitalitly due to a previous entry commitment in the Hayward Air Rally.  (Editor: No official meeting of EAA 1027 was held as many members were unable to attend.)
For those of our members who are not familiar with the event this year was the 45th annual rally.  I have only participated in it the last 4 years and am not  well versed in the history, But many of the early rallies where Hayward to Las Vegas  with a stop at Bakersfield. The Rally takes several days, only one day is flown against the clock and the gas pumps.  The sequence goes something like this.
Sometime from mid May to mid June about 30 teams show up at Hayward Executive on a Thursday afternoon.  The Rally official checks you in, and covers your GPS and Fuel Flow Guage if you have one.  They are covered if you enter what they call the "Traditional Class". There is a Digital Class (There were 3 Digital Class entries this year) in this class you are free to use this fancy stuff, but you have a stiffer scoring system.  Your airplane is then fueled by you and is impounded for the night.   There is a BBQ in the hanger area and where you can get to know new teams and relax with old time racers.  Now it is Thursday at 4 in the afternoon there is a pilot briefing. This is where you pick up the rally kit that includes the the  check points you must fly over while you traditionally "dead recon" or Digitally follow the little airplane.  After the pilot Briefing you retire to a local motel to plan and crunch numbers for the course. 
This year the route took us tp Redding for timeing, refueling and a box lunch, and then on to Bend Oregon with seveal diffirent locations you must locate in route. Some of these check points you must positively identify and some are to sequence you in for the timeing points.
Friday morning finds you turning in your estimated time and fuel useage for the two legs, and attending a weather/Notams briefing with donuts and coffee. 
Friday 8am you are at your airplane for photographs and preflight.  9am is the target for first departure with about one minuet intervals between aircraft. Your time is measured from the time they drop the flag for your take off roll to a point just outside Redding Air Space.  A similar arrangement  is set up for departing Redding and arriving in Bend Oregon.
Finally it is Friday morning just after nine am weather permitting and you are climbing by Livermore and headed for the first checkpoint in the valley (This year it was Amador Co. airport).  Now you have to find it and identify it and then on to several more check points before starting a 15 mile run in for timing.  We have been flying for 1 hour and 48 mins. and we are just east of Red Bluff now  Fred our pilot calls in to the timers "Race 77 is 15 miles out, lights on, inbound for timing.  The timing line was on Lake California airport runway and all airplanes had a waver for a low pass (we were eight seconds early").   Next it was get up to pattern altitude and call Redding tower enter thier airspace, land, taxii, and shutdown.    Rally officials meet the airplane and observe refueling.  You can refuel your own airplane, but the truck meter must be covered (Race 77 was 0.2 gallons under our estimate when the meter was uncovered this is okay, but not great). 
We went into the terminal and the Redding 99's prepared a nice box lunch for 10 dollars (part of their fund raising effort).  Then it is a final check of weather and off again departing Redding runway 16 and in our case we choose the west of Mt. Shasta route up I-5 to Weed and across to Klamath Falls area for the first of several check points in route to Bend.  Some isolated thunder storms with lighting now and again were near enough to our route to cause use a little zigging and zagging.  Then once again it was find the timing run initation point 15 miles out form a dirt strip called Goering. We find this place which is store on a local highway by the name of Milikan I think.  Now it's call in  again to let the timers know that race 77 diving at them and you will be there pretty soon with all lights on.  Race 77 was 4 seconds early. 
Now it is climb to pattern altitude get on the common freguency and enter Bend traffic.  A Thunder storm north of the field dictated a landing on 34 which was good because the winds also favored 34.  Okay we are almost done now we land, taxii up,  shutdown and the Rally official verifies our GPS and Fuel Flow are still covered and sealed; Then we refuel with the same procedure used at Redding with the covered meter, etc.  (Race 77 was 0.6 gallons over on fuel for this leg this is bad).  The rally official now takes our documentation of the route check points and refueling information.   Now it's tie her down, Cover her up, and head to the local hotel in transportation provide.  This year we stayed at the Shilo Inn in Bend. very nice right on the river.
We check in, and then we areoff to the rally hospitality suite for beer, wine, soft drinks,cold cuts, finger food.  This is where we get a look at aeral photos of the check points we were suppose to locate.  We relax if they look like the ones we identified in route this is very good. We try to look relaxed if the photo doesn't look like where we were, because we don't want people to know we missed it. Missing is bad it is   250 points for each miss.  By the way you start with zero points which is good and all you can do is get worse from there.
Now the fun begins,  pilots being pilots they can not help but talk about the flight and share experiences.  The trouble is pilots being pilots they do not always share the truth, so it's a game of trying to figure out is that guy realy good or is he just trying to worry you while you try to cover your performance and learn as much as you can from the others.  You won't find out your actual performance until the next evening at the awards banquet.  Friday evening your on your own and Saturday you are on your own, but can you sign up for some local activities.  This year was golf, river rafting, or a tour of the Epic "Home Built" Aircraft factory.
Fred and I took the Epic tour given by the company owner it was very interesting.  They had about 8 aircraft on the assembly bay floor and about 3 in the flight test area.  These are experimental aircraft and must fly off the restriction time just like Fred's Lanceair and my RV.  The attached address will direct you to more information on these 1.4 to 2 million dollar kits. 
Saturday night we had a no host cocktail hour and a buffett dinner followed by the awards.   They had a guest speaker who had made two flights in lawn chairs carried aloft by ballons his name was kent Couch look him up on line. Dinners over and  everyone is on the edge of the chair to see where they placed in this years rally.
There are many different awards some are sponsored by various organizations.  As an example the Redding Airport Manager provided a first, second, and third place award for lowest combined time diviation from your estimated for the two legs.  Remember Race 77 had a combined time miss of 12 seconds, which was about 6th place for this award first place missed by 5 seconds.
Some awards are real and some a comical like the highest points. This year the highest points was 9022.
Fred and I in Race 77 (Fred's Lancair 320) came in third with a total point score of 171 this is 12 points for time and the rest for fuel.  This was our personal best to date.  First place was a Grumman Tiger with 90 points and Second place was a Bananza A36 with 166 points. This year the aircraft were all piston engines including Lancair 320, an RV-10, an RV-9A, numerous  170,172s, 177, 182, T210, Tri Pacer,ercoupe, a couple of Tigers, Bonanzas, Beech Sierra, Cherokee, etc.
A great way to get out and try your pilotage skills with a great group of people and the rules permit taking some of your friends with you, aircraft permitting.  Passangers can be carried at a nominal additional fee. The pilot and the co-pilot (not required, but strongly recommend) are covered by the entry fee.  So,  about next February if you are starting to look for a flying get-away you should consider putting together a team to join the fun.   This rally is a great opportunity for you experienced pilots to take along a new pilot or another experience pilot who is not current.

EAA Clubhouse to Get New Roof

May 18, 2009: EAA Chapter 1027 met for lunch (hamburgers) and business. Marilyn Harden, City of Willits, offered additional information on the upcoming Airport Day set for Sunday, August 2. Plans are being made for local civic organizations to offer a pancake breakfast as well as a specialty food lunch to visitors and volunteers. In addition, plans continue for re-roofing the clubhouse building with help from Mendo Roofing. The chapter will then work on improving the clubhouse interior. Members shared the good news that Clyde Davis is again out of the hospital.

EAA Chapter 1027 will next meet and lunch on Sunday, June 14, at the home of member Bryant Whitaker in Booneville. Transportation will be provided from the Booneville airport to the Whitaker home for those needing it. For more information, call Dick Johnson at 707-867-0891 or 459-1380.

Update: June 3, 2009: Some of the West Coast Ravens are tentatively scheduled to show up for Airport Day 2009, Sunday, August 2. The group has 25 members who fly Van's RV aircraft in formation at area airshows. The group will participate in EAA AirVenture that week, but some of ones who don't make the trip to Oshkosh, WI, may attend Willits Airport Day.  Unfortunately, the
Beechcraft C-45/B-18 previously scheduled will not be able to attend as it will be at the EAA Airventure that week.

2009 Airport Day Set For August 2

2007 Airport DayApril 19, 2009: The schedule is beginning to fill out for a fun 2009 Airport Day at Willits Airport. The event, scheduled for Sunday, August 2, may surpass the popular event of 2007. (The 2008 Airport Day was cancelled due to area fires.)
Among the aircraft tentatively schedule to be available for rides are a 1941 Stearman bi-plane  and a Beechcraft C-45/B-18 (both in photo, right). In addition, other exhibition airplanes and helicopters may be on hand for viewing. The event is sponsored by the City of Willits and assisted by EAA Chapter 1027. More information will be available as the event date nears.

In addition:
  • Little River Airport is scheduling an Airport Appreciation Day on May 16 from 11am-1pm.
  • Ukiah Airport plans an Airport Day on June 20th.
EAA Chapter 1027 will next meet on May 17 at Willits Airport, delayed one week due to Mother's Day. The June meeting is tentatively set for June 10 in Booneville.

Airport Day Plans Begin

Mar. 8, 2009: Good flying weather (for March) brought out a sizeable and hungry group of pilots from Mendocino and Lake counties for the monthly meeting of EAA Chapter 1027 at Willits airport. President Jim and his cabinet cooked and served hamburgers, macaroni salad, as-good-as-homemade chili, ice cream, cookies, and beverages. Discussion began about Willits Airport Day 2009, scheduled for Sunday, August 2, with opening ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. A workday (and lunch) is planned for the prior day, Saturday, August 1, to prepare for the popular event. Expected are airplane rides and displays, food, and entertainment.  Airport Day 2008 was cancelled due to Ells Field serving helicopters fighting the massive Mendocino fires of that summer. Click here for photos of the 2007 Airport Day. Make plans early and enjoy the fun of flying.

Great Food - Poor Turnout

Feb. 8, 2009: Chapter president Jim Harden and others prepared a great lunch at the February meeting. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and few members flew in. Only five members enjoyed the special meal for lunch -- and dinner. The March 8 meeting will feature hamburgers and, hopefully, better flying weather. There will be addition discussion ofplans to refurbish the upstairs of the clubhouse and the City of Willits' plan on replacing the roof.


Great flying weather earned an excellent turnout. (Photo by Kirk Wilder)

Even more fly-ins at Ells! (Photo by Kirk Wilder)

Jan. 11, 2009: Incoming chapter president Jim Harden assumed responsibilities from outgoing president Dick Johnson at the first monthly meeting of the new year. Jim explained that he was voted president because he missed the December meeting. Others suggested that it was because he was the best cook -- providing the club with tasty shepherd's pie for the January meeting.

2009 Airport Day was scheduled for Sunday, August 2. The 2008 event was cancelled as the Willits Airport was a busy staging site for contract helicopters fighting the Mendocino fires in July.

Discussed was the need to remodel the clubhouse. The City of Willits, owner of the airport, will roof the two-story pilot's lounge and EAA clubhouse this spring. The club will furnish labor and funds to do some needed remodeling.

2009 EAA
"World of Flight" calendars are available from Dick Johnson at $9.50 each. Call him at  707-367-0891 for additional information.

Thoughts and prayers were offered for ailing member Clyde Davis. Get well soon, Clyde!

It was unanimously agreed that future club meetings should be on the second Sunday of the  month, rather than the first Sunday.The next meeting of EAA Chapter 1027 is set for Sunday, February 8, at 12:00 p.m. in the clubhouse at the Willits Airport. Lunch will be served ($5 donation requested). President Jim Harden will lead a discussion upcoming projects. Guests are invited.

Weather Station Temporarily Unavailable

[Local weather is now available by telephone. Just dial 707-459-9941, the weather station will answer and say, "press any key". You must respond within 5 seconds by pressing one of the touch-tone keys on your telephone. 
The station then reports the two-minute average wind direction and wind speed, the gust (maximum wind speed during the same two-minute period), density altitude if more than 1000 feet above the field elevation (otherwise zero), the current altimeter setting, current air temperature, dew point temperature, rain rate in inches per hour, the rain accumulation since 1July, and the system backup battery voltage. Please report any problems to: clyde.davis@comcast.net  or humming.bird@comcast.net.]

Click here for 2008 news for EAA Chapter 1027.
Click here for 2007 news for EAA Chapter 1027.
Click here for 2006 news for EAA Chapter 1027.