Blakesburg fly-in

August 29 – September 1, 2014

We departed midday on August 29 trying to time things right to avoid the worst of the weather making it’s way westbound along our flightpath.  The flight was good and we really only had to skirt through one bigger line of showers when we were getting closer to Blakesburg, Iowa.  It had definitely rained in the area but it was hard to tell how wet the ground was.  We flew over the Antique Airfield and did a low approach to get a closer look at the strip.  The flagmen were waving us in, so we went around and came back in to land.

The touchdown was good but as we continued to roll along the grass strip that’s when Kurtis could feel the airplane “mush” in and the mud started spraying from the tires up to the underside of the wing.  The ground was obviously very wet!  We didn’t stop as we maneuvered to turn around and head to the aircraft parking because we did’t want to get stuck in the mud.

They parked us with the other 195’s that had managed to make it.  Since things were pretty wet we opted to join Darren & Teja at the Hampton Inn in Ottumwa for the first night.  It was probably a good thing that we did because it rained again overnight.  On Saturday morning we all arrived back at the field in Blakesburg and things were very soggy.  The airstrip was also officially closed now – no arrivals or departures until things dried out.  It was a bit weird being at a fly-in where there was no flying and everyone was pre-occupied about getting out.  Thankfully the sun was shining and there was a good breeze, which was definitely going to help things dry.  Not much to do but sit under the wing and relax and visit.

In the late afternoon the owners of the airstrip decided to test out the runway.  There were a few airplanes that made an attempt to take off.  A couple were successful and a couple had to abort their takeoffs.  The runway was still a bit too wet, so it was closed again.  We decided to pitch our tent and stay on the field for the night.  It was going to be our only opportunity to debut our crazy new tent!  We sure got a lot of comments 🙂

Sunday morning brought more sun and a bit of a breeze which was a very good thing.  All of the pilots were starting to get concerned though as the weather forecasts were now calling for more rain to hit the area during the overnight period.  The ground was continuing to dry but the runway was still closed as the owners wanted to try and wait for the softer spots to dry more so as to avoid adding more ruts.  So more relaxing under the wing was the order for the first part of the day.

When everyone got the official word that the runway would be opening around dinnertime, there was a lot of activity.  They were going to let the lighter airplanes go first and if things went well they would start letting some of the heavier airplanes (including the 195’s) take off.  In order to improve the ability for Kurtis to get CF-KCS off we decided it was best to empty out the airplane as much as possible.  We had found a ride to the Ottumwa airport for me and all of our gear from a very generous friend of Tom & Bob’s.  We waited for Kurtis to start up and taxi to the runway and then we started our drive.  Part way there we saw CF-KCS overhead – success!  I think this was the first time we had been happy to leave a fly-in.  We spent the night in a hotel in Ottumwa.

The flight home Monday was pretty smooth.  We started out VFR but had to stop partway to file and IFR flightplan for the rest of the trip.  It was our nephew, Quinn’s, birthday party that afternoon so we decided to stop in for a few hours on our way back to Toronto.  The weekend definitely didn’t go as planned but we still managed to have a good time!

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