Wamm Fly-In, May 2008

A report and photos from the May, 2008 Fly-in at Porterville, CA (PTV)

Hard core WAMM members Bill Vandersande, Ben Favrholdt and Ernie Buenting were almost finished the traditional meal at La Fuente when Gil Gilbert, David Favrholdt, and yours truly, Dave Rutherford arrived late Thursday afternoon in Porterville after our drive up from Los Angeles. Gil had flown from Seattle to join us two Canadians who had flown down from Vancouver. Earlier, Bill had arrived by car from Camarillo, and Ernie had flown in his trusty N496M from Upland, CA. Ben Favrholdt, N66MX was the only local.

On Friday, the weatherman turned up the thermostat, the temperature reaching a blistering 105°F on the tarmac by mid-afternoon! On the positive side, clear skies and light winds over south-central California meant ideal VFR conditions for visiting aircraft. At 10:00, Larry Minch arrived in N4187 from Cottonwood, AZ, followed by Doug Triplat from Rosamond in his M-20C, and Dave Mazzola in N380A from Watsonville, CA. Larry said he left home at 06:30, stopped for fuel at Barstow/Daggett and for breakfast at "Fox" in Lancaster, then flew downhill (i.e. with a 40 kt tailwind) to PTV.

At dusk (20:30), we were pleased to see the arrival of first-timer, David Cabbage of Colville, WA in his big "wood-wing" Mooney rather than his M-18C, N335M which is still in Michigan. Along with David in the M-20 was Jerry Johnston, whom we first met several years ago when he attended a previous Fly-In with Mite N4124. Flying along with them on the long trip down from Deer Park, WA was Jerry's son, Joel Johnston, in N4124 which is now his.

Another scorcher was developing when Saturday's breakfast meeting took place at the Airway cafe at PTV. At that time, our other locals, Don Deaton, N120C and Michael Harms, N201MM, N4181 made their first appearance. Lunch also was held at the Airport, by which time the lemonade was saving lives.

As expected, more visitors began arriving. In early afternoon, Bob Katz breezed in for his usual, brief visit in N4155. Then we welcomed our first Vintage Mooney pilots: Dan Seidel of Los Altos in N5916Q, a 1965 "Super 21" (M-20E), along with Steve Rieden of Tiburon, CA and Nick Eggleston of Novato, CA in Nick's M-20G, N3293F. Mark Allen of Palo Alto in his M-20C, N1351W brought the total to four Mites' big brothers in attendance.

We were particulary pleased to see some "young blood" joining the Mite community. New owner, Scott Lewis, N4096 drove up from Los Angeles with his son, Max, to spend several hours having a good look around and picking up some pointers.

Rounding out the Saturday arrivals were Bill Jennings, N124C up from Rosamond, CA in his 1947 Aeronca, N4105E and Mike Magnani, N4094 up from Valencia in his Passat (both of their Mite projects are still underway). Our last visiting Mite was Toni Guttman's N10301. On short notice, Toni took the time to fly up from Soquel, CA and stay over Saturday night. Toni's airplane brought our Mite-count for the Fly-In to a very satisfying total of eleven. There are twenty-three signatures in the visitors' log.

The airplane traffic at PTV was the busiest we had ever seen it. There were dozens of Yaks and Nanchangs from the Red Star Pilots Association, which was holding a formation-flying workshop from midweek through to Sunday. Aside from almost constant aerial entertainment, it gave us an unusual opportunity to have aerial photos of the WAMM lineup taken from local Cory Johnson's helicopter by an as yet unnamed photographer (we'll give him credit when we discover his name). Enjoy the pictures, keeping in mind that larger copies are available upon request from the Mite Site.

Please bear with us. We try to include everyone in a photo, eating or otherwise....

Ben, David F., Dave R., Ernie, Bill and Gil at La Fuente on Thursday evening. Gil, Michael and his wife, Karen at Friday breakfast in the Airway Cafe. It didn't take long for the hangar flying to begin. L. to R. Gil (closest), Doug, Larry, Bill, Ernie and Michael.
Our hosts, Michael Harms, president of WAMM, and Bill Vandersande, whose hangar is home base. Early arrival from Arizona on Friday, Larry Minch. Dave Mazzola arrived shortly afterwards.
Friday lunch at the Airway, when the heat hadn't yet driven us inside. One of a series of aerial shots of PTV. See more.
Doug Triplat keeps a close eye on Don Deaton while Don flip-starts N120C and taxies back to his hangar. Ernie departed early on Saturday and N496M therefore missed being photographed from the air.
Jerry Johnston and David Cabbage guard David's M-20 while a Nanching causes a local windstorm. Scott Lewis and Max get a tour of the cockpit of Michael Harms' N4181. Bill Vandersande's M-18L is rolled briefly out of his hangar for some photos.

Joel Johnston and his M-18C, N4124. Mike Magnani, who maintains Harbor Freight's Gulfstream 550, works on his Mite project at every opportunity. Toni Guttman and his '55, N10301. This Mite arrived too late to be captured in the aerial photos.
Saturday breakfast at Perko's, where we were well taken care of by Melissa: Dave M, Doug, David and Michael; Michael and Larry. And at Perko's again on Sunday: Toni, Dave M. Michael, Gil, David, Bill, and Ben.
Larry with his daughter Lisa, who drove down from San Jose to spend time with her dad. Gil, David C., Joel, and Jerry at our Mexican supper at a place new to us: Cielito Lindo This was one of the formations by the Red Star group that were passing overhead all day.
David C. loads the M-20 while Joel stands ready to depart on Sunday. Yours truly and Ben Favrholdt. I am grateful to Ben for accommodation for three nights every Fly-In. Here's a telephoto shot of PTV from the window of the Alaska Airlines 737 on the way to Vancouver.

Photos by Dave Rutherford