Solar Eclipse Fly-in, 1 day till Eclipse
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.
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.
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.
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.