> WAMM Fly-in October, 2006

A report and photos from the October, 2006 Fly-in at Porterville, CA (PTV)

As usual, the Mite Site is pleased to present a record of the semi-annual Western Association of Mooney Mites Fly-In which took place the weekend of September 29th to October 1st.

Porterville, California has been the home of the Fly-In for the past seven years. We would like to take this opportunity to give you advance notice that the Fly-In will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of WAMM next May. Naturally, we will be making a big deal out of it. Look for more information on this Site in the future.

This Fly-In marked the resignation of Bill Vandersande as the president of WAMM. Bill has been our capable head honcho for the past number of years, as well has host for the Fly-In in his spacious (and well stocked) hangar at Porterville. Health problems resulted in Bill's decision to relinquish the position. We are pleased to announce that our new president is Michael Harms of Mountainview, CA. Those of you who have read previous WAMM Fly-In reports will know that Michael's two -55 Mites and his business (Porterville Almonds) are located at Porterville. We in WAMM recognize Michael as an obvious and excellent choice for the top post. Congratulations, Michael!

The weather at Porterville was very flyable. Friday was warm and mostly sunny, but Saturday was cooler than we are used to. The only problem from a pilot's point of view was the poor visibility caused, in part, by smoke from the huge Day Fire north of Los Angeles (south of here).

The following members were present... David Favrholdt and Dave Rutherford flew down from British Columbia to LAX, then drove up to PTV in a rented car. Gil Gilbert of Kent, WA likewise arrived by commercial jet/car via  Fresno. Ernie Buenting, as usual, was the first to arrive in his Mite, N496M. Tony Terrigno, who was the WAMM founder and first president, arrived in his Pacer and spent the entire weekend. Local residents, Ben Favrholdt, N66MX, and Don Deaton, N120C, of course were there. Bill Vandersande, N4105, drove in from Camarillo in his Mustang. Michael Harms, N201MM, N4121, flew down from Hayward in his Cessna 182RG. Al Quatacker, a fixture at Porterville Airport and owner of a C150 and Challenger ultralight, dropped by several times, as he often does. We were glad that John Chandler, N79346, flew up from Big Bear Lake, CA in his big Mooney and spent a considerable amount of time with us. On Saturday, several other friends dropped by for shorter visits: Norm Douthit from San Bernardino leaving behind his three Mite projects, N3162K, N363A, N4130, arrived in his nice little J3, N35267. Craig Ortet, N386A, drove in from San Jose, CA. Bob Katz, N4155, flew his Mite in from Santa Monica for a short visit, while Toni Guttman arrived later on in N10301 and tented overnight at PTV. The big event on Saturday, for those of us who were lucky enough to be there, was the short visit by Elizabeth Collins of Truckee, CA in her new Mite, N393A. Elizabeth is a very active pilot and we are looking forward to seeing her again.

A total of nine Mites appeared in the lineup. WAMM members can be likened to a herd of cats - impossible to drive into one place at one time for a group photograph, but here's a selection of the photos that were taken by three of us at various times and locations....

Although it has nothing to do with Mites, we could not resist going over to see a spectacular show of radio-controlled models by the local chapter of the AMA at the south side of airport. Ernie, Tony, Dave, David, and Ben drove over in Michael's van.
Dave Rutherford gives Bill Vandersande's Mite a bit of a wash before pulling it out to the lineup. New Mite owner Elizabeth Collins wanted to see what another M-18L looked like, and Don Deaton was glad to oblige.
Affable Michael Harms, new president of WAMM, gives a warm hello to our favourite waitress, Alice Nelson, who now runs her own restaurant (no, not Alice's Restaurant!) at Cotton Corner, 5 miles west of Porterville on Olive Ave. Sitting at the counter, Ben and David Favrholdt will attest that Nelson's is a great place to have breakfast.
L. to R.: Ernie, Gil, Norm and Craig. Tony acts as a safety anchor while Bob Katz starts his engine the normal way for Mites.
Ben's list of toys includes a 1956 T-Bird. Here, David and his uncle pose in front of Michael's C182RG. Here's a couple of WAMM stalwarts, Gil and Tony.
Gil, Michael and Tony in Bill's hangar. Ernie, Bill, Gil and Don sit in the pleasant shade while waiting for lunch on Friday at the Airway cafe.
The Airway airport cafe is much different, under new ownership. Suppers are served no longer, but it's still a convenient place to have breakfast or lunch. Clockwise from the left are Michael, Bill, Don, Ernie, David and Gil sit for Friday breakfast. On Friday evening, the WAMM filled three tables at a nice new eatery (for us) - Randy's Seafood, Steak and Pasta restaurant on Henderson Avenue. Here, John Chandler, David and Steve Stanislaw enjoy the meal. Steve is an all-round airplane mechanic and welcome addition to the Porterville gang.
Elizabeth Collins takes the traditional Mite Owner's pose for the official Mite Site portrait. She recently bought this IFR M-18L, serial number 54 from Dave Dodson in Indiana. New owner Elizabeth gets a few pointers from an expert, Tony Terrigno, while Don Deaton and Michael Harms listen in.
The Fly-In would not be complete without the Two Taco lunch at Rustler's out at the Lake on Saturday. Norm, Ben, Craig, Tony, David, Dave, Gil and Michael pose for the waitress-with-a-camera. The last group meal on Saturday evening was a happy occasion at the Pizza Hut. Ben, Michael, Toni, Dave, Bill, Tony and Gil ordered more than they should eat and drink. You know what it's like.

Photos by Michael Harms, David Favrholdt and Dave Rutherford.