PDK Neighbor Day 2015
Having spent the evening at the Epps Air Service 50th Anniversary party on Thursday, the plan was to depart in the Kate from Falcon Field on Friday morning, May 29th. Although there was low fog initially that morning, the feeling was that it would burn off fairly quickly and that is, in fact, what happened. The Kate, the PT-26 and the North American AT-6 Texan all departed Falcon Field Airport shortly after 10:00 a.m. Arriving at PDK, we were marshaled to the flight line along Taxi- way B at the base of the Control Tower. The Dixie Wing Aircraft were all co-located, and we were guided by Mo Aguiari, a stalwart of the CAF Dixie Wing. After engine shutdown and as we were securing our aircraft, a TBM Avenger flew overhead and landed. The aircraft was a magnificent specimen as further inspection would reveal. In no time, the TBM Avenger tax- ied in front of our parked aircraft and it was positioned on the left wing of the Kate. After engine shutdown, we befriended Brad Deckert, the pilot and owner of the TBM Avenger. This aircraft is a veteran of WWII and features several patched bul- let holes to prove it.
PDK NEIGHBOR DAY 2015
Brad Deckert’s TBM Avenger
Brad Deckert’s TBM Avenger is a time capsule. It has the gyros, radios, and other gear that was installed in Aven- gers during WWII. It has the WWII radio s in the cockpit along with Second World War flight instruments. There is a navi- gator’s position complete with navigator’s table and altimeter in the belly of the airplane. It has a dorsal gun turret complete with a 50 caliber machine gun and a torpedo in the bomb bay of the aircraft. Also in the front cockpit of the aircraft are gun charging mechanisms to place a shell in the breach of the machine gun before entering combat.
Brad’s TMB Avenger is a massive aircraft. You don’t climb aboard the airplane, you scale upward on the wing of the aircraft as though climbing aboard a gymnasium set. We spent time viewing Brad’s aircraft and then had lunch with him and his confederates at the Downwind Restaurant. I felt guilty about playing hooky, and eventually made my way to work before returning to PDK for the party that evening.
Saturday, Airshow Day, and Giving Rides in the AT-6 Texan
I had been assigned to give rides in the Dixie Wings AT-6 Texan on Saturday, but the expectation was that there would be no rides that morning. That expectation proved to be false. Driving to the airport at 9:45 a.m., I got a call from Mo Aguiari asking me how soon I could be at the airport. I told him I could be in position to fly by about 10:15. I promptly called and got a weather briefing and arrived at the airport shortly after 10:00. Ignoring the Kate, I conducted a pre-flight inspection of the Texan, gave my passenger a briefing, had the aircraft fueled and service and conducted my first flight that morning. I could not get airborne until about 10:50 a.m., and by the time we returned, it was about 11:25 a.m. With the airport closing at 12:00 noon, there was no way I could get a second flight in that morning. So the Texan was rolled behind the barricades, and secured until later that afternoon.
I made my way to the Kate, removed the canopy cover, and in due course, my good friend, Rickey Smith, appeared in a golf cart with three other folks who announced that they were my support crew for the Kate. We had a great afternoon socializing, watching the airshow and visiting with other pilots including Brad and his confederate, Bill. The day was clear with wind from the east and the performers at the airshow all did a great job. In no time at all, the airshow was wrapping up, and it was time to give my second ride in the Dixie Wing AT-6 Texan. By 6:00, my second ride had been completed, and it was time to get the Kate back to Falcon Field. The Kate was wedged be- hind Brad’s Avenger, and it took the collective muscle power of a number of Dixie Wing members to move the Kate backward, and then for- ward and then around Brad’s Avenger. The departure from PDK and the flight home to Falcon Field was completely routine except that when I returned to the Dixie Wing, the hangar was mostly empty. It is a rare occasion when the Dixie Wing hangar is empty, since it is ordi- narily crammed with airplanes and looks like the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier.
Reflections on the Airshow
The DeKalb Peachtree Airport Airshow known as PDK Neighbor Day was very well structured. ATC did a good job handling all of the transient aircraft. A lot of very interesting aircraft were on display including Scott Yoak’s P-51 Mustang called Quicksilver and Jim To- bul’s Corsair. In fact, the Mustang and Corsair flew together during the course of the airshow. The B-17 Memphis Belle was on hand as was a Beechcraft AT-11 flown by John Hess, and a Lockheed Electra that was employed in the recent motion picture involving the adventures of Amelia Earhart.
As a pilot based at PDK, I was grateful for the fact that the leadership at the airport saw fit to conduct such a terrific airshow.