The Stars and Planets Aligned – Part 2

Solar Eclipse Fly-in, 1 day till Eclipse


3D Flight area gazebo empty and quiet prior to the non-stop arrivals to start shortly

I arrived early morning two days before the event. It was weird being at the Joe Nall airshow site while completely empty. I’m used to seeing it full with an overload of activity and airplane noise non-stop. And I do mean non-stop. Leave your camper at 3am, and you’ll find plenty of people around to talk with.

When planning the trip, I knew it was going to be hot and muggy and I would want to run my air conditioner. So I called early and managed to snag a premium camping spot. They are considered ‘premium’ only because they have water and electric, where the rest of the facility is dry camping only. Triple Tree has 38 premium sites, but can accommodate nearly a thousand campers and motorhomes. In that respect, premium seems to fit, as they are few and valued.


Camping area is mostly dry camping, but a few premium water and electric sites are available.

Aside from the electric and water, the premium sites are also in a very nice setting. Small walking bridges, streams and small ponds, lots of shade trees, and easy access to the the flight line. Every bit as nice as some resort campgrounds. No pool, recreation building, morning buffet breakfast, or playground, just a very nice setting in very cool airport.


The camping area empty. You would never see this a few days before Joe Nall starts.

Even before getting settled in, the buyer for the Decathlon showed up and we spent an hour or so doing the exchange. We exchanged the transmitter program between radios, checked that all functions and switches worked as programmed, and test started the engine. I went over the controls and setup for the new buyer, and they were on their way. Being a day early for the event and with the facility being empty, I spent a lazy day alternating between flying and working.

The next morning, you could tell the day was near as the air traffic picked up considerably. Aircraft are now arriving every few minutes. The ramp and camping area are filling up. Chatter about tomorrow is everywhere. I listened to the controllers on the tower and ground frequencies, and they were pretty busy. A nice done job getting everyone in and out during the event.


One of my favorite airplanes. Aero Commander 500B twin. This couple was from Pureto Rico on a month long flying trip in their Aero Commander.

Some very cool aircraft have shown up, as well as some of my favorites. Aero Commander, Swift, Cheeta, Maule, V-tail Bonanza, DC-3, and many more. Lots to look at and admire, talk with the owners, and immerse myself in aviation. It was an interesting mix of motorhomes, trailers, aircraft, and tents. It looks like a cross between a campground and an airport. Hmmm. With a 7000’ runway, hangars, hundreds of campsites. I guess technically it is.

But the event we are all here for is the eclipse. In the mean time, here are some very nice airplanes from the fly in. I was told by Tom Hartness that about 600 aircraft flew in for the event. I would have guessed more.


Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing. Designed and built in the early 1930’s as a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive.


Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing. Designed and built in the early 1930’s as a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive.


Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing. Designed and built in the early 1930’s as a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive.



de Havilland DHC-1 Super Chipmunk is a tandem, two-seat, single-engine trainer aircraft from the post World War II era. Often used for sport and basic aerobatic training present day.


de Havilland DHC-1 Super Chipmunk


Globe Swift, a two-seat sport airplane from the post-World War II Period. Designed and introduced in 1942, over 1,500 were built before production ceased in 1951.


Globe Swift cockpit


Globe Swift wing detail


Aircraft parked along the 3D pond


Camping, airplane style.


Even the ‘Grateful Dead’ flew in for the event. And sporting safety solar eclipse viewing shades! 🙂


I believe this is an RV4, as is the one on the left.



A gear malfunctioned on this twin while they were moving it. The wing was lifted by a group of people and the gear extended. It couldn’t be flown out until inspected and repaired by a certified mechanic. Not a good day for the pilot.


The ‘parking lot’ for non-campers at 1/4 full. It was full by 11am on eclipse day.


Camping area nearly full. Planes still arriving.


For those that made it this far on this post, and little aviation humor! Posted in the mens room by the urinal.



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