“There is no sport equal to that which aviators enjoy while being carried through the air on great white wings.” Wilbur Wright, 1905
The fall season is full of flying activities in Kansas. Weather is generally more stable and cooler temperatures beckons one to the skies. Don’t misunderstand, flying is great any time of the year, but not having to battle hot windy days is a big bonus.
As a result there are fly-ins and fly-outs to all manner of destinations. I had almost every weekend planned with such activities, however, mother nature did not give in easily this year. Thus, some of my activities were curtailed, but the Kansas Air Tour lived on!
And We Are Off!
The 2019 Fly Kansas Air Tour spanned three days. This year took us from one end of the state to the other ending at the 56th Annual Wichita Experimental Aircraft Association
Fly-in in Wichita. Weather taunted us all week, but on Thursday morning the skies cleared and we assembled at Wellington, KS to begin.
My First Day began with an early departure from my home base Cook Airfield and a short 10 minute hop to Wellington. Kennedy Elementary had the 4th grade class out to visit the airport, talk with pilots and look at the airplanes.
Then it was off to Pittsburg, Kansas. Low clouds and head winds made this the longest leg I personally flew – two hours, but I found a sweet spot altitude where the air was smooth. After lunch and fuel, we were off to Garnet, KS for snacks and a tour of this beautiful town. A refresh and photo op taken by drone, we headed to Concordia, KS.
I have roots in this part of the state and met folks who knew my folks. I ran into my niece’s mother-in-law and was interviewed for the local paper. Love flying Kansas!
We were treated like royalty enjoying “The Aviator” movie under the stars on Broadway Plaza. We awoke to a beautiful Kansas morning with heavy dew on the airplanes. This made wiping the bugs off from the previous day a snap!
Day Two – 2019 Kansas Air Tour
My second day was to be a flight to Rooks County, where I grew up. This new airport has a long history in my family and I was looking forward to flying into it once again. However, a stubborn cloud bank literally got in the way.
About six of us diverted to Lucas, Kansas to regroup. I had hoped the fog would burn off and clouds lift in time to hop on over “home” but no deal. I had planned to leave the tour at this point anyway, but really hated not making it to my hometown.
After a hour or so, looking over the weather, the group at Lucas dispersed to their varied destinations. I headed home via a fuel stop in McPherson. This was one of “those” legs. The closer I got to home, the slower my ground speed due to increasing headwinds. Add to this the fact I was was to make my eighth crosswind landing in 34 hours, I was ready to get on the ground!
All in all I logged a total of eight hours of flight with eight passable – mostly crosswind landings within 34 hours. A Total of 525 NM of flight. One divert and one extra stop for fuel.
Great effort by a bunch of people makes this Air Tour happen. I won’t begin to try to list them, but with great effort comes great reward and satisfaction and FUN! Here is what the organizer, Lindsey Dreiling, had to say:
We did it! Another successful Fly Kansas Air Tour is in the books. Unfortunately, we had to battle weather again this year, but the 2019 Fly Kansas Air Tour was a huge success for many communities. We set a new record with more aircraft participating than ever before! 53 Aircraft- WOW! Based on our estimates over the entire tour: we had more than 53 aircraft, 60 pilots & crew, and 1000 students/community members engage in the activities at their local airport.
Our Fly Kansas website and will have more photos posted by the end of the week: https://flykansas.org/fly-kansas-air-tour
Due to weather moving in and many of us diverting, I did not get a chance to say a proper “THANK YOU, YOU ROCK, and HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!” We are grateful you are a part of the Fly Kansas crew. As I think of you all as my aviation family, please stay in touch throughout the year.
Meet you in the sky,
Lindsey R. Dreiling
Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education President
Kansas Air Tour 2019 Conclusion
Yes, I was worn out and my flying fund is spent but it was worth it. Only another pilot can understand why we do this sort of thing, so I won’t try to explain!
Is there an activity do you participate in that makes no “sense” but adds joy to your life? Please share in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe!