Narration & Sound
307 West Fredericks Street
Anderson, South Carolina 29625
Proairshow, LLC Student Aviation
Pendleton High School (SC) Students
Nick Surls & JJ Gardner travel to Stanly County, NC
Newest USAF Jet Jockies
The "Intrepid Duo" prepare for Take-Off in a Cessna 172.
Nick got "Stick Time."
Event Co-organizer, Richard Almond, served as PIC and checks in with Ground Ops after flight.
Our Aspiring Birdmen Survived!
(And no need for the Sick Sack!)
Airshow Legion Charlie Culp with JJ, Hugh & Nick.
Two Pendleton High School students travel to the Stanly County (NC) Airport Open House.
The cool September air nipped at the small group gathered in the Pendleton High parking lot at 0600. Their mothers were dropping off Nick Surls and JJ Gardner. Good-bys and questions “do you need money” were quickly taken care of and the duo climbed into the Proairshow, LLC truck for a three hour ride to the Albemarle - Stanly County Airport (KVUJ) in North Carolina.
An airport open house was scheduled for the day and Proairshow, LLC (Hugh Oldham) was providing sound equipment and announcing services. Being an “old man,” Oldham required assistance stringing long cables and setting up heavy loud speakers; energetic Nick and JJ had been quick to volunteer for the grunt work in exchange for an exciting day on the “inside” of an airport/airshow operation. Of course, the possibility of an airplane ride was in the back of their minds.
On schedule, the truck and 20 foot equipment trailer rolled north on Interstate 85 even including a stop to re-fuel the crew with Hardee’s biscuits in Blacksburg. As the caravan rounded I-485, south and east of Charlotte NC, a sign directed “Albemarle Exit.” Road construction on NC Highway 24 slowed the group but they were just able to make their ToT (Time on Target) at the airport; the “briefing” was starting in 10 minutes.
Hugh had to manage the FAA required formal “Airshow Safety Briefing,” he barked a few orders to his charges who went to work stringing the cables along 800 feet of flight line. Nick and JJ joined the other “airshow grunts” setting up the airport for the expected visitors.
The limited airshow started at 1300 (Mickey’s big hand on the “12” and his small on the “1” for the non-aviators). Nick and JJ had real front row seats, right in the middle of the action:
First a North Carolina Air National Guard USAF C-130 Hercules transport made a short-field take-off.
Then the “Super Scale” Radio Controlled (RC) airplanes and helicopters took to the skies.
As the RC aircraft landed the C-130 returned to perform a CDS (Containerized Delivery System) air drop of “supplies” to a simulated American unit off at end of the runway. Oldham explained how this system had been used in Viet Nam to re-supply the surrounded US forces at Khe Sanh and continues to be used in Afghanistan today.
The C-130 then made an “Assault Landing,” spiraling down from several thousand feet directly over the airfield to land in less than 3,000 feet of runway. A six-passenger pick-up truck rolled onto the runway, up the back ramp of the “Herky Bird” and the big plane took-off again to deliver the pick-up to Charlotte.
To end the flying demonstration “Silas the Farmer” was to be given an airplane ride in payment for “cutting the airport’s grass” with his tractor. Of course this was the set-up for the classic “Flying Farmer” routine. Airport Manager, David Griffin had agreed to be the “patsy” and taxied “Silas” to the runway. As David exited the J-3 Cub to “fix the tail wheel” when Silas “accidentally hit the throttle” and took off in a wild exhibition of how not to fly.
Nick and JJ could not believe how 82 year old Charlie Culp (aka Silas) was able to fly his 1946 Cub, high and low, down through the trees, sideways, with spins and loops thrown in to keep it interesting.
It was now time to clean up and head home. Nick and JJ started recovering the speakers and cables; a hot, dusty job as the day had warmed up to the low 80’s. They were well into the task when David Griffin, the Airport Manager, came over and gave them the “word” that Richard Almond, one of the event’s organizers, would meet them over at aircraft N46561, a four place Cessna 172. After quick instruction on “aircraft tail numbers,” Nick and JJ were off to locate the airplane.
They got to fly for some 30 minutes over Stanly County; Nick actually got to fly the plane and did not make JJ sick!
When they returned, Hugh had just about loaded everything back in the equipment trailer. Load out completed the three jumped into the truck and headed to Charlotte for something good to eat.
The uneventful, but long trip back to Pendleton was accompanied by the excited pair recounting every aspect of their flight and all the action they had witnessed, over, and over, and over, and over…..