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Winter Haven 2001

It was another great year at Winter Haven. Like last year, it was a great bunch of people at a very nice place with excellent hosts in Faye and Palmer Gehring. This year we added a nicer day and a few more airplanes.

It is truly hard to imagine it getting any better than this.

We had 55 Cardinals and served over 120 meals. We parked the grass full of Cardinals, with a couple up on the asphalt ramp. It was an excellent sight! The picture to the right was taken Friday night, by which time we already had 20 some airplanes in attendance.

Once again we all benefited from the excellent efforts our our hosts, Faye and Palmer Gehring. They pulled out all the stops this year, including a paty the night before and a special program for the non-pilots in the group.

The picture to the right shows just a few folks at the end of the party.. frankly we were having such a good time we forgot to take pictures!

They received a lot of help from Russ and Loraine Boteilho, and we had help on the day of the event from Sandy Honeycutt.

Jim Eerkes and his son Josh put in a full day of work as well. They were the voice on the radio and the CFO sign on the golf cart that most people followed in. Josh also took on the task of photographing each arrival with their aircraft and did an excellent job of it.

Other people pitched in as needed, sorry if I missed you. These folks all deserve a great show of appreciation. These events come from hard work more than anything, and they supplied it.

That said, keep in mind the 'many hands' theory and consider helping out a little next year. We're still shooting for that 10 year pace, the level of effort that makes people want to do this for the next 10 years or more. We could use your help to achieve it!

I was amazed by the beautiful work that has been done on many of the airplanes. There were many nice interiors, many freshly updated with leather and all the trimmings. \

There were some beautiful paint jobs as well, and many examples of special fairings, modifications or enhancements under that paint.

In a couple of cases those enhancements were cause for pause.. the nose gear treatment on Jose's airplane, shown to the right, caught more than one eye.

We saw a few excellent engine installations, with pretty paint and nice baffle seals. Many airplanes had interesting gadgets under the cowl.

And many airplanes had nice panels. It really was no contest, however, once we got a look at Jim and Sandy Honeycutt's airplane.

This panel overlay was made by Aero Enhancements, an excellent source of panel upgrades that has updated several Cardinals. They took a look at the are now a CFO sponsor.

The radios need to be seen to be properly experienced. Starting with a pair of Garmin maps, a 430 and a 530, this panel just kept going and going. You owe it to yourself to track Jim and Sandy down at a CFO flyin and see what the ultimate looks like. We'll just have to see if he's really done with it.

We had the same caterer as last year and they did another outstanding job on lunch. We added ribs to the menu, and there was enough food for seconds. The Winter Haven pilot's association added another row of tables so there was plenty of seating for all.

Once again your ticket for food was a CFO hat, which came with the registration. The hats this year were a tan color, a little better for the dusty environment that Sun & Fun can become.

We did have a challenge keeping everyone spplied with liquids. The group went through 15 or 20 gallons of tea in a hurry and Palmer was hussleing to come up with more. Next year we'll have plenty and hope that doesn't change the weather.. it was really perfect.

A number of the non-pilots in the group wandered over to the Gerhing's house for the afternoon cooking class. The feedback was very positive, and the only challenge was that it was hard to pry the attendees loose when their spouses were ready to go.

I'd welcome direct input from one of the attendees, but my understanding was that they learned how to make a variety of exotic dishes from simple things around the house, and learned exciting was to present them. It was clear that they had a great time doing it.

The folks from Power Flow came by and shared their news: they have a new muffler system that reduces the sound level on the Power Flow system. Here Darren fills us in on the details.

As I walked the show at Sun & Fun a number of people remarked about the hat. 'Who are you guys anyway?" I was asked more than once. One vendor expressed his amazement with our knowledge.. "Whoever that group is, whenever I tell one of them something it seems like they all know it!" We may not realize it but our level of communication is unusual, and people notice.

From my perspective, it was a more relaxed event than last year. The experience of a year creating a bit of a routine. People knew better what to expect. And we had a few more tools to help manage the event.

For one thing, after last year CFO invested in a portable PA system with a wireless and a wired microphone. It was nice to have Paul wired up as he led the group around looking at airplanes.

With the PA system in place, people could hear without straining and the group could spread out and relax a little more. Side conversations did not interfere with the discussions, and when we needed people to know what was going to happen next they could get the word easily. This one item made a great difference in the flow of the event.

Our technical talk was a little different this year, more of a question and answer session that led to some extended discussion. One question was about speed enhancements, and led to talk talk by Jeff Kaufman, a CFO member who has spent a great deal of time working out the details of making our airplanes go faster.

Jeff showed us one of his projects, a set of main gear leg fairings that enclose the wheel well when the gear is up. He has worked up a couple of ideas for this fairing, and is currently working on a completely fixed set, no moving parts, that covers just the rear portion of the gear wells. We'll be interested to see how that project unfolds.

One thing we came up short on was, of all things, a photo from the air. If any of the early departures thought to snap a picture I'd sure love to see it.

We did get a picture of each airplane on the ground, and here they all are. Each image may be clicked on to open a larger image in a new window.

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