2004 Copperstate Fly-in
My first opportunity to attend a fly-in was the 2004 Copperstate Regional Fly-in near Casa Grande, AZ from October 7-10. I flew "Blonde Streak" to the show Thursday afternoon around 1pm from KCHD. Its a short flight and only lasted 15 minutes. Two of my daughters, Alyssa and Brenna, accompanied me in the plane while my other daughter Kara and my wife Susan drove the van after watching us depart. We arrived to no other traffic and landed uneventfully, back taxiing on runway 03 to the center turnoff to limit the distance we would need to taxi on the grass. We were promptly escorted to a spot near the airshow announcer tower but the grass was rather patchy and we had a slightly rough time in a couple of spots with the nose gear bouncing. I had visions of the gear collapsing as has happened to some while taxiing into pot holes!
After shutting down the engine I cleaned up some of the dust off the plane and headed over to the registration area. I filled out the necessary paperwork for having the plane judged (even though I had no ideas of winning anything) and returned to the plane to call Susan. It took her a good hour to drive the van to the iarport from Chandler, so the girls and I spent that time cleaning the plane.
After Susan and Kara arrived, we headed over to the manufacturers tents and looked at their displays as well as the vendor tent. We noticed that Nat Puffer was not diplaying the Cozy this year and were dissapointed in that. We wandered around the display area for awhile looking to spot any other Cozy's, but being the first day we didn't see anyone. By about 5pm we had seen all there was to see and headed back to the plane one last time to make sure it was locked up. I wouldn't be at the show on Friday due to other plans, but would be returning Saturday to spend all day.
Saturday I drove in and promptly wne tot he plane to see how it had gotten along without me. Other than a layer of dust that had been blown up onto it, she was fine. I no sooner got my spray bottle out to start cleaning her off when people started to stop by and introduce themselves. Ray Kouns from Wickenburg, AZ was first to say hi. He is building a MK-IV at his airpark. Ray had visited my project a few years back so I remembered him. He and his wife looked the plane over while I cleaned and talked to others who came by. It went on like this for a good 2-1/2 hours without stop before I finally had made my way around the plane and gotten all the dust cleaned off due to stopping and talking, answering questions and getting pictures taken.
I finally had a lull in the action around 12:30pm and decided to grab a bite to eat and take in a forum by the Baja Bush Pilots Association. I made my way thru the display area after the forum and found no other Cozy's attended the show this year! What a shame!! By 2:15pm I had wandered my way back to my plane and again had non-stop visitors for the next 3 hours. One couple had driven over from California specifically to see a Cozy. Good thing I showed up! By 5pm the aerobatic show was over and most people were heading out for the night. I locked the plane once again as I wasn't planning on returning until after church Sunday afternoon.
Sunday dawned with the threat of winds and by the time I got to the fly-in in was pretty bad. The airport is surrounded by desert and any significant wind just kicks up a cloud of dust. I got to the Cozy and found it again covered by dust and getting rocked by the wind, so I just waited for a lull in the weather. And waited... Most of the organizers were already tearing down the tents and there was a long line of planes high tailing it out of there in between dust storms. I was a bit more concerned about taking off in this stuff, so I waited until about 3:30pm before climbing in and taxiing out to the runway. By then most everyone else had left so I made my way to the end of runway 21 during a lull in the winds. Just as I called to take the runway, the dust kicked up and I waited for a good 10 minutes for it to clear eough to see down the runway. Sometime during my wait a Cessna decided to depart at midfield and I never saw him - that's how bad it was.
Finally the dust cleared and I took off with no problems. The 10 minute ride to Chandler was pretty bumpy due to the winds, but I managed to nail a pretty good cross wind landing on Runwayy 22R. Next year I may display the Cozy at the manufacturers tents if Nat gets it arranged with Aircraft Spruce. Until then, I plan to visit a number of southwestern fly-ins during the cool time of the year.