I departed Santa Rosa this morning at 7:40 a.m. to meet friends in Willows for breakfast. The air was smooth, with one light bump on the lee side of the hills as I followed mag heading of 008. The sun was rising at my 2 o'clock. Down below I could see dust rising up off the rolling rear wheels of the early vinyard tractors. I tuned in on 122.75 using the monitor function of my Garmin SL40 to listen for the others. At about 8:15 I heard Doug make the first call. I responded. In the next 15 minutes the others made contact. I took my time...steady at 95 KIAS. A slight wind from the Northwest kept the groundspeed at 86-88 KIAS on the Garmin 495 GPS. Soon I had airport in sight. I went through the mental checklist and made the 10 mile call. "Right one-six" came a reply. Review the written checklist and set up for right pattern landing. Nice...the air was smooth all the way down. I arrived at 8:30 with the sun now reaching up and kissing blue skies in the Sacramento Valley to the South of the airfield. Doug arrived first, then the others one by one. Everyone safe. Everyone smiling and commenting about what a beautiful day it is.

Apple walnut cinnamon pancakes are delicious on Saturday morning...especially after an uneventful and lazy flight to where they serve 'em. The company was great with Bill, Woody, and another couple I just met this morning. They are right when they say laughter is contagious. By the time we left most folks in the cafe were laughing with us. The waitress invited us back, probably at risk for her job!

We took some ground pictures of our four Zodiacs each with a different motor...a Continential, a Corvair, a Rotax and a Jabiru. Each airplane a beauty, glistening in the sun. Each the progeny of many hours of fabricating, assembly, and testing. I can see the pride in each owner.

What a blessing to share.

On the way out of Willows airspace we wished each other a safe flight and a "see you soon" over the com. I flew South, they flew North. I flew home to Santa Rosa relaxed and content. With another safe and uneventful leg of flight, I parked my plane in the hanger. I walked over to another friend's hanger and shared some wisdom about children and other stuff.

Flying friends are unique. They share, and they care about your safety. Better folks would be hard to find.

Thanks for a great day, guys!

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Comment by Brad DeMeo on April 26, 2009 at 8:56pm
Check out Doug's pictures of the four Z's with different motors.
Comment by Woody Harris on April 26, 2009 at 2:01pm
Brad, what a great bunch! At one point, I thought we must surely be well on the way to getting thrown out of Nancy's, but when I looked around I saw the whole place was in stitches.

After Doug and I finished our various errands at Rancho Tehama, it was obvious that the only sensible lunch option was to stop back at Nancy's on our way home. The waitress was still chuckling over our morning visit and the manager had a bit of that "Oh no, they're baaack!" look when we walked in. Sadly, we were good boys, almost. When we arrived, there was a CT Design light sport on the ramp, and a second one taxied in just before we left. As we walked out, a couple at a table asked Doug if he had flow in in the CT, to which he replied, "No, I wouldn't fly one of those. They look like an egg." When we got to our planes, the realization hit him that they were probably the people who flew the second CT. They did manage a weak laugh, but I'll tell you, you just can't take that boy anywhere!

Doug and I flew together to Williams where our flight paths separated for Cloverdale and Nut Tree. All-in-all an incredible day. You guys are a bad influence, when do we do it again?
Comment by Doug Dugger on April 25, 2009 at 7:56pm
Brad after your departure we [the rest of the group at nancys cafe in willows glen ca] headed on up to our homes at rancho tehama a low key association with a 37 hundred ft runway that is chip sealed what a way to retire plenty of friends on the airport most with homebuilts three with 601xls. The saturday morning flight with all of you comeing from different towns and meeting for breakfast is and will always be what the fun of flight in aircraft that are built by us is all about. Till we meet again in flight may your days be filled with more of the same.
Comment by Peter Shean on April 25, 2009 at 6:58pm
Sounds spectacular. I continue work today on my XL so that one day I can write posts like yours.

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