When things are meant to be, they happen. Accident? Coincidence? Fate? I don’t know, I just accept it.
The total eclipse is a once in a lifetime event for me, as I am not willing to travel around the world to chase it. Unfortunately, the eclipse across the USA is quite a bit south of where I am. About 1,000 miles south. I contemplated driving down just for the eclipse, but 4 days of travel for a 2 minute and 40 second event seems excessive, even for me. I decided a partial eclipse in New England would have to suffice and crossed it off my calendar.
Then by accident, coincidence, or fate, things started to come together.
I advertised one of my larger RC aircraft for sale and received a number of inquiries. One inquiry happened to be located in Florida. As it turned out, the pilot had been following this aircraft from the build to flight reports over the last two years. He was planning on calling me for information as he was going to build one himself, and wanted to duplicate the modifications and setup matching mine. They he saw it posted for sale and contacted me that day.
The larger aircraft are expensive and costly to ship, requiring custom crates to be built, and removing all items that had gasoline through them. So it’s customary in the RC community for buyer and seller to find a place halfway to meet and make the exchange. Just over half way between Florida and Boston sits Triple Tree Aerodrome, home of the world renowned Joe Nall RC airshow each May. I was just there for the event, and its my favorite place in the USA to fly. Florida to New England would be a stretch for most, but not for a motivated buyer and a seller looking for an excuse to head south.
Triple Tree Aerodrome also happens to be in the path of the total eclipse. Isn’t that convenient. I checked their website for any RC events that might be going on. If I’m there for the eclipse, why not piggyback it to one of the RC events. Unfortunately, nothing RC related.
Wait! On their full scale event list is a 3 day Solar Eclipse Fly In!
While RC flying is not allowed during the event due to the flow of full scale aircraft that will be arriving and departing, night flying RC aircraft will be as the runway is closed after sunset for full scale aircraft. I would no longer be traveling 2,000 miles round trip to exchange an aircraft and a 2:40 total eclipse. I could stay for the full scale eclipse fly in. Beautiful! Coincidence? Fate?
Being the personality type that prefers to arrive early and wait to ensure I am on time, I was planning on arriving a day or two early for the exchange. This buffer would allow me to recover from a mechanical breakdown on the road should that happen.
I decided to look around for a local club hosting an event around the days of my arrival. One where I could fly for a day or two and allows on-site camping. That would be ideal, but no such luck.
RC pilots are a friendly bunch, and I ended up in a text exchange with one of other interested buyers after informing him the Decathlon was sold. We did the usual, talked airplanes and flying. During that exchange he suggested that if I was ever in the area, to let him know and I could come fly with them. I asked him where he was located, and the response was North Carolina. He was directly on my path to or from Triple Tree Aerodrome! This is no longer a coincidence!
Talking further, he mentioned that he and some club members will be camping out at the field the same weekend I was in the area, and I could camp there for a few days and fly. Between Triple Tree and the North Carolina club, I now had paces to stay and fly for nearly a week. Rather than a quick cannonball run to South Carolina and back for a 1/2 hour airplane exchange and 2:40 eclipse, it has grown into a trip worthy of the drive.
A little more investigation showed that if I planned a slightly longer trip, I could add two New York events to the mix. One on the way south, and one on the return trip North. Both events I usually attend when time permits. I rearranged work as best I could to accommodate, and will also work while on the road. Problem solved, plans made, time to prepare for the trip.
I’ll post more on the trip in later posts. Look for “The Stars and Planets Aligned” since thats exactly what seems to have happened here.