3/28/15 To our surprise we received a visit from an FAA Inspector who showed up at Wharton because of a complaint lodged by someone at the Wharton Regional Airport. We were officially Ramp Checked and we passed with flying colors! A Ramp Check is generally a dreaded procedure in aviation which routinely results in Fines, Groundings or other corrective measures. The Inspector did not know who filed the complaint. Although he was very thorough and firm, he proved to be quite pleasant to deal with. He was even able to help us with questions we had with regard to FAA rules. He did not find anything wrong with the way we operate at Wharton Regional Airport. The Inspector suggested that we initiate communication with the person who complained about us. He indicated that the Airport Manager can help us identify who complained. After today we might just be able to solve this perceived conflict.
3/19/15 The Wharton Airport Manager came to me today to tell me that
he had recieved a phone call from some who flies a jet at Wharton. The
Manager did not tell me the name of the person. This person
complained about hang gliders operating from the runway. The Manager expressed how it is his duty to solve any conflicts on the airport and
he asked for my side of the story. I explained what happened on March 14
and why we were operating from the runway. the Manager proposed
that we use another part of the field that stays dry even after heavy
rains. While it might be possible to fly from there, Tiki and I want
to first try it out in ideal conditions. We have decided to
suspend solo towing operations from the runway. Only tandem gliders with
fixed landing gear and an aircraft radio, manned by a FAA Licensed
Pilot, will be towed from the runway. I explained to the Airport Manger
that we would much rather fly from the grass field and would go
backto doing that once the field had a few days to dry out. Therefore,
Solo operations from the grass will commence on Wednesday.
3/14/15 Mark Moore, Niki Longshore, Jeff Kannard, Ted Sullivan and
Don came out to fly with us. The field was flooded. We chose to use
the runway. Before the flying started we discussed how we should
observe proper airport ediquette. We decided to only stage on the grass
next to the taxiway, monitor the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency
and only get on the runway when no other airplane was setting up for a
landing. When we were ready to go we would make an announcement, get
on the runway and take off immediately. The dolly was retrieved
immediately, and we protected the runway lights with tires. We were
very efficient, never in the way of other traffic and we certainly did
not cause any other airplane to abort and go around. It was seamless. A few of days of no rain and our field will be fine for flying solos again.
9/12/14 Texas soaring weather continues to amaze me. This one is taken September 2014. People who never flew Cross Country took Robin Hamilton's course and all but one left the field.