A Journal, with Pictures

COPA Mexico Adventure 2017

by on Mar.15, 2017, under Flying

Joyce and I took off early on February 17 on our way to meet 43 other  members participating in the annual COPA Mexico Adventure. Since we had to cross the country we planned to stop in Houston and visit our friends Clark and Julie Blackman and Christine Romsdahl. We made a fuel stop in Fair Hope, Alabama then dodged some storms to arrive at KCXO, Lone Star Executive airport. We had a great visit and dinner and launched for El Paso where we spent the night before leaving for our first Mexico stop Ciudad Obregon. We cleared customs, refueled, then flew the last 25 minutes to Alamos where the 22 COPA Cirrus aircraft gathered. We stayed at a incredibly charming resort and spa, Hacienda de Los Santos. The village was clean and safe as well as charming. Alamos was the northern most silver city and generated enormous wealth. The resort is made up of four of the former silver barons mansions put together to create a unique place. The second day some flew over the Copper Canyon in the morning and others explored the resort and village. The founder of the resort,Jim Swickard still acts as host at times since he is a pilot and caters to flying groups. He also owns the airport and was kind enough to give us a personal tour of the village. The gathering was great as people arrived they congregated for lunch and then in the tequila bar, where there were old friends met and new friends introduced. Over the two days of our stay there was lots of time to socialize, explore this beautiful place and soak up the unique history. The hospitality, food and drink were excellent and the only regret was we couldn’t stay longer.

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Manzanillo, Mexico

by on Mar.15, 2017, under Flying

On Tuesday February 23 we left Alamos to fly to Manzanillo with the COPA group. We had decided to fly in loose formation with Charles and Debbie Langdon down the Copper Canyon on our way. We got a great view flying down in the canyon, which is Mexico’s Grand Canyon. We stopped in Mazatlan for fuel, then continued to Manzanillo, flying along the beautiful coast and over Puerto Vallarta on the way. When we landed we had 22 Cirrus that had to get fuel at a self service pump, which turned into a social event as we all pitched in to push planes in place. We stayed at the Grand Isla Navidad, which isn’t in Manzanillo, but in Barra Navidad, about 20 minutes from the airport. The hotel turned out to be great, with fabulous grounds including a golf course and a little village a short boat ride away to explore. We had lots of time to socialize with fellow COPA pilots, and ended our stay with a grand cocktail party and dinner on a terrace overlooking the bay.

The Cocktails and Dinner on the final evening of the COPA event was particularly jolly. Lots of sharing of experiences, new friends made and old friends enjoyed. It was a perfect warm Mexican evening to celebrate the end of a great get adventure together.

Tomorrow, Friday, we all fly out to another Mexico destinations or on to home.

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Cabo San Lucas and Homeward Bound

by on Mar.15, 2017, under Flying

On Friday , Feb. 24 we flew the three hour flight from Manzanillo to Cabo San Lucas arriving in time for lunch. We flew in loose formation with Charles and Debbie Langdon and spent the next few days doing fun stuff. We landed at the General Aviation airport, MMSL and were treated royally, including cheap hangar fee and “free”  Cervazas and tequila. We checked into our Hotel, the Casa Dorado, which looking out at the cape and is where the action is. Great room, and a perfect place to get some sun and relax. Breakfast was at “the office” on the beach, which was a jumping place to start you day with a bloody Mary or Mimosa then brunch. We found some good restaurants, explored and generally had a great time.

On Monday Joyce and I started our journey home. We flew up the Baja Peninsula and crossed back to Ciudad Obregon about a hour and forty five minutes, cleared customs then flew to El Paso to clear US customs. We overnight-ed in El Paso and then left early to get ahead of a front causing very high winds. The flight was less than three hours to San Marcos, Texas where visited our friends Lou and Lynne Earle. The next day we again left early to beat the winds and flew direct to Fair Hope, Alabama again another three hour flight. We celebrated Joyce’s birthday at a great resort on Mobile Bay. On Thursday, March 2nd. we flew the final two hours and forty five minutes back to Hilton Head. We had tail winds all across the country, had to make a couple of instrument approaches and had gusty winds on landing at every stop, good practice. One day short of two weeks, 37 hours in the cockpit, 15 legs and over 5000 miles added up to a fun flying trip. We visited with friends, we saw lots of interesting sights, we made new friends and managed to learned a few things. GREAT TRIP!

 

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February Florida Visit

by on Feb.05, 2017, under Happenings

Joyce and I made a February swing to visit family and friends to Florida. We stopped in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday to see Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra for an afternoon and evening. Life continues at warp speed there with Alexandra growing up fast. We then flew to Sarasota on Thursday to visit some of our former NCR colleagues and friends. Elton and Gordy White hosted us for lunch and we stayed in the beautiful apartment overlooking the bay. We were joined for cocktails, by Chuck and Carol Exley, Joe and Nora Stephan, Rex and Pat Fleet. We had a great time catching up and everyone is ageing gracefully and most of all haven’t lost their sense of humor. We then had a great dinner at the Field Club, continuing the frivolity.

On Friday we flew to Naples to visit Rich and Linda Miller. They are doing fine as full time Florida residence and we again enjoyed catching up. Rich and Linda treated us royally, at their great club Grey Oaks. We then flew back to Hilton Head on Saturday, a quick but very enjoyable trip, reminding us of how lucky we have been to have met and works with such great people.

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Christmas 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Family

Joyce and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale to spend Christmas with Jen, Mike and Alexandra. We left a day early due to weather, arriving on Thursday. We enjoyed Thursday afternoon and Friday in the Montgomery construction zone as Jen and Mike are in the middle of a renovation project and the progress is impressive, with more to come. Some shopping, Mike and Gil visited the Wings over Miami aviation museum Friday, but mostly relaxing and enjoying family. Oh did I mention eating, yes eating is our strong suit, lots of food all the time, with a great Christmas eve dinner, then another feast on Christmas day. Back on the diet next week. Christmas morning was great with everyone enjoying the gift exchange and of course Alexandra was the epicenter of the gift giving storm. She loved it in a very mature and Christian way.  We talked on the phone with Heidi who was with the Prado branch of the family in Myrtle Beach this year, and all was well.

Joyce and I flew back to Hilton Head on Monday to prepare for the New Year. It was a great Christmas, we are so blessed as a family.

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2016 a great family Thanksgiving

by on Nov.27, 2016, under Family

This was the first Thanksgiving celebrated at the Chechessee cottage by our family and it was a great one. Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra arrived late afternoon on Wednesday and Heidi, Gary, Brenn, Caitlin and Kinsey on Thursday morning. Gary and Brenn launched their boat and caught a bunch of sea trout, the rest played games, watched football and enjoyed each others company. Joyce, Jen and Heidi were at work in the kitchen preparing the dinner. We all sat down and gave thanks for our many blessings then enjoyed an incredible feast. After dinner more games and football plus pumpkin pie to top off a wonderful day.

Friday was filled with activities for everyone, more fishing for Gary and Brenn, then they joined Alexandra and Caitlin in a fishing tournament. At the same time Heidi and Kinsey participated in a 5K fun run. Gil worked out and played photographer, then after lunch watched football, Ohio State vs Michigan, what a game. There was a young persons fun night at Spring Island and the adults had dinner a Chechessee Creek Club. Saturday there were more activities at Spring Island with the owners market, various kids activities such as face painting, barbecue lunch, a presentation of raptors by a visiting naturalist, as well as a dog show. Alexandra’s dog, Autumn’s brother was in the show so he got lots of cheers from us.  Again, it was a perfect fall day and everyone had a great time.

Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra left for Fort Lauderdale Saturday evening to beat the traffic and the rest of us enjoyed a  fresh caught sea trout fish fry at the cottage then watched a little more football. Sunday morning we watched another great sunrise over the Chechessee river, had breakfast then reluctantly left to go home. This was truly one of the best Thanksgiving ever at a very special place for our family.

 

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COPA Migration 14 Duluth

by on Sep.15, 2016, under Flying

COPA members from across the country and around the world started to arrive September 7th, with the majority on Thursday the 8th. Registration opened noon on the 8th. and our amazing registration volunteers, Donna, Kim, Justin and Stan made checking in effortless. The first evening welcome party the “COPA cabana” was a very jolly event held over looking Lake Superior in front of the host hotel the Inn on Lake Superior. Pat Wadick Cirrus President with other Cirrus management  mingled with COPA members.  Friendships were renewed and made as always at this kick off party.

The next two days were packed with activities, including the annual meeting, in which Andy gave us a update on the incredible progress that has been made, Membership grew 31% since 2012, Training is up 50% year over year, fatal accident rate down dramatically and much lower than general GA, over 30 Regional Events in last 12 months and much fun stuff going on. There were lots of seminars, the exhibitor hall was full with many new exhibitors and all of the regulars, Friday, evening Cirrus hosted a great hangar party at their facility with entertainment, a few commercials and Dale Klapmeier giving an update and recognizing the COPA and Cirrus people contributing to the training that has helped improve safety. It was a great evening appreciated by COPA attendees. Thanks Cirrus! During the cocktail party many walked out to look at the flight line, Over 100 Cirrus parked together is a impressive site.

Saturday Seminars and Exhibits continued and the day ended with the annual Migration COPA Gala dinner. Another great evening, with COPA Volunteers, outgoing board members receiving recognition, Rick Beach receiving a award for his work on safety, John Ylinen accorded Volunteer emeritus status, the key note speech by AOPA president Mark Baker ending with Andy turning the gavel over to Roger. A very fine evening, and a great Migration organized by Craig Albright and the incoming Migration chair Bill Meyer. Thanks Migration committee. Sunday the flock took off for their home bases in glorious weather. See you all next year in Nashville, TN.

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Fourth of July 2016

by on Jul.13, 2016, under Family

 

The family tradition continued with Joyce and I flying to Hilton Head on June 30th, Jennifer, Alexandra and Mike driving from Fort Lauderdale and Heidi, Brenn, Caitlin, Kinsey and Gary arriving from Savannah over the next two days. The first kids activity was the Spring Island Sports Camp Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The camp was mostly in the morning ending with the kids in the pool in the afternoon, which was good because it was HOT. The adults enjoyed a break from the kids and everyone gathered for dinner at the cottage. Gary brought the boat over on Sunday in preparation for the cruise Monday night.

Monday the fourth, we all participated in the Spring Island festivities. The kids were out early to decorate the horses for the parade. The parade seemed to be bigger and more elaborate this year with Tom Cameron again Grand Marshall. There were games, Brenn being a tug of war star, then a incredibly barbque lunch, then more games and swimming for the kids. There was entertainment with the weather warm but what the fourth in the south is expected to be. This is truely what a small community fourth of July celibration should be.

In the evening we boarded the Prado’s boat and cruised to Skull Creek for the fireworks after picnic dinner on board. It turned out there was a delay but just as we started to leave the display went off. It was a late night but the kids were up in time for Camp Spring Island (Nature Camp) the next morning. Another three days, with the kids busy with camp and the adults relaxing, going to the pool, playing a little golf and catching up on reading. At dinner we got the camp report. Did you have fun? Yes. They were pretty tired with camp and swimming afterwards. On Wedesday, Heidi volunteered to pick up the kids and the rest of the adults, cruised to Beaufort for lunch a a local favorite on the river, Plums.

Overall it was a great fourth of July week at Chechessee Creek and Spring Island. Plenty for the kids to do and the adults got to do their thing with time for the whole family together. It was a very happy 4th of July for our family.

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Jekyll Island Fly-In 2016

by on May.23, 2016, under Flying

Weather was unsettled in the South East prior to the weekend of the COPA Jekyll Island Fly-In, however the weekend turned out to be beautiful. There were attendee’s from Alabama, Texas, Indiana, New York, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Florida. They started arriving on Friday for a long weekend, or Saturday for the weekend or Sunday for the famous Sunday Brunch and some stayed on. Rick Dawson, hosted  dutch treat cocktails and dinner Friday evening. Saturday, COPA members took advantage of the many things to do on Jekyll Island and some flew with the Patty Wagstaff aerobatics school that brought up their Super Decathlon Aerobatic trainer. Saturday evening there were cocktails and dinner, and door prizes, including a demo ride in an Extra 300, donated by South East Aero. Sunday the final arrivals for the Jekyll Island Club Brunch and to hear aerobatic champion/air show star/super flight instructor Patty Wagstaff talk at the COPA Brunch. Some more door prizes, including a aerobatics flight won by Bob Marini from New York, were drawn on Sunday.

Saturday

Sunday

Patty Wagstaff spoke about her career and observations of stick and rudder flying  and  her schools approach to airmanship as well as upset/recovery and aerobatics. Patty and her chief instructor Allen then answered a large number of questions.

A Big Thanks go to Gerald Gaige, South East Region Lt. Governor and Event Coördinator for the COPA Jekyll Island Fly-In.

Thanks also to a long list of sponsors, with special thanks to lead Sponsors Cirrus Aircraft, South East Aero and the Patty Wagstaff Aerobatics School. 

A great group of COPA members had a great time, thanks to Gerri.

 

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COPA Bahamas Adventure 2016

by on May.02, 2016, under Flying

On Wednesday April 20, we flew to Fort Lauderdale, KFXE, and spent the afternoon and evening with our daughter, grand daughter and son-in-law. Great visit, then Thursday morning we left for Abaco, Marsh Harbor Airport, MYAM, in the Bahamas, to meet the 40 other COPA members and partners for the annual COPA Bahamas adventure. The one and a half hour flight was great, with views of the beautiful water as we passed Grand Bahama Island, into Marsh Harbor. Customs and tie down was effortless and we were by the pool having lunch and chatting with friends by mid-day. Some took to the water by boat, others just relaxed by the pool. We spent the afternoon on the beach and then joined the group for welcome cocktails hosted by Bahamas Tourism ministry. Joe McGonigle, our organizer had everything arranged including door prizes. Lots of socializing at cocktails then dinner.

Friday was a day to explore. Some went fishing, others took boat tours, others drove to near by Treasure Cay, there were also the relaxers on the beach and pool. We explored the town of Marsh Harbor, which is a short walk from the resort. Lots to see, along the harbor side, shopping, and a restaurant for conch salad for lunch, then relax and socialize by the pool.

In the evening everyone met on the beach for cocktails, then dinner.

The Abaco Beach Resort knocked themselves out with an incredible buffet dinner, we then had entertainment and a huge bond fire on a perfect Bahamian evening.

Saturday, there was an optional ferry trip to Elbow Cay and Hope Town. We did that trip, although we had done it before, others did the many island things available. Hope Town is a historic settlement, on its own little island with lots of pretty pastel colored cottages and little shops on winding streets. There is a great beach on one side and harbor view restaurants on the other where we had lunch. . The land mark is the Hope Town Lighthouse.

In the evenings we all met at Curly Tails, for final cocktails, took one last group picture as the sunset and then had our last dinner on Abaco.

It was another great COPA Bahamas adventure, with a great group of people having a lot of fun together and experiencing flying over the incredibly interesting and beautiful Bahamas waters. Sunday some continued their adventure in the Bahamas others winged home in perfect weather. Thanks again, to Joe McGonigle for organizing the trip and Jim and Nancy Knollenberg for their help, as well as the Bahamas Tourism ministry for their support.

 

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