Greased Landings


“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body.
“But rather, to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a Harvey Wallbanger in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
“Man, what a ride!”
Welcome to my monthly column, written to help you better understand and enjoy the world of aviation, here in Maple Lake.
Our local airport (identifier MGG) is a well-kept secret to many who live in the area, even though it is “hidden” right out in the open, along Highway 37 just northeast of town.  
But it is the home away from home of quite a few pilots and their beloved airplanes. 
And, as it says on the sign by the entry to the airport, it is the home of EAA Chapter 878.
EAA = Experimental Aircraft Association, a national organization of aircraft builders, owners and aviation fans.  You’ve probably heard about the huge aviation show held each year in Oshkosh, WI?  It’s an EAA event; 10,000 planes fly in and 500,000 fans drive in, camp and enjoy an incredible day, or two or six.  I’ll better introduce you to EAA Airventure 2015 in a later column.
But, this column is mainly about the locals and our cool, little airport. You’ll read about the pilots who, right in your back yard, “break the bonds of earth” on a regular basis. 
I’ll introduce you to them and their stories, and to problems and issues faced by them and pilots everywhere, while in the air and on the ground. You will also read about the effort (and expense) pilots go to so each flight can be as safe and enjoyable as possible.  
Over time, you just might come to understand that aviation is almost as addictive as, well, whatever you’re addicted to.
My wife, Connie, and I have our Piper Archer (N55623) here at MGG, in a hangar owned by our Buffalo friends, Tim and Carla Bond. They are the proud, but humble owners of a Mooney, well-known among aviators as being a pretty fast machine.  Connie and I think they replaced their smaller, older plane about a year ago because they got tired of staring at our “tailpipes” as we flew to a nearby restaurant or aviation event. Now, we’re staring at their “tailpipes”!  
Hmmm, I think I just read about a pretty fast plane for sale in . . .
Until next month, stay out of the trees!