Last week, for those who park in this space on their way to the crossword puzzle, you may recall that my attempt to photograph with Southport's Leigh Sherrill was foiled by rain and fog. Well, I'm here to tell you, oh devoted Register readers, that Lady Leigh lifted off from Wiscasset airport at about 7:30 a.m. Friday, July 21.
Leigh soloed in 1957 from a small airport in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, home area of football famous Joe Namath, for fans who recall. Not sure if Joe flew, but Leigh sure did, every chance she had.
Her plane of choice, or perhaps default, then, was a Clipped Wing Taylor “T” Craft. This is a plane similar in some ways, but dissimilar in many, to the old “J3” Doc Andrews cruised in over us all. The “T-craft” was, and still is for those who adventure out, very maneuverable and sometimes used for aerial stunt flying performances and races. I think the originals used the old Lycoming engine, a very reliable power plant common to that era of craft.
Anyway, last Friday, Leigh, after a 60-year hiatus from flying by the seat of her pants, launched successfully from Wiscasset International accompanied by pictured Captain Sean Rafter, with whom I have had plenty of flying experience.
Although it was quite warm, which is not ideal for low-flying, prop-driven aircraft, the early start on the day helped. After fueling up and proper preflighting, I was even invited to fly along. However, the Cessna “172” is not the most spacious bird, and the “third seat” is tight. I declined, especially after my preflight bacon and eggs with toast and extra coffee breakfast. No need to elaborate -- my company could have shortened the flight.
Leigh and Sean overflew the Boothbay region then headed East toward the Bristols. It was a good flight and an adventurous outing for all the right reasons. We shall see if there is a repeat performance. Stand by.