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Paul Smith’s L-4H Delivered to New Home

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Jul 3, 2007
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Paul’s L-4 is safely at its new home. Roughly eight hours flying to cover 600 miles from Hagerstown, MD to Huntsville, AL

New owner is a longtime friend of mine from our days as Army Majors serving together at Ft Sill, OK in mid-90s. It was a great opportunity for Noel and me to catch up on the past two plus decades. We are both retired from the Army; he as a full bird colonel with 30 years.

Noel has a bunch of time, but is newly minted tailwheel endorsee. I was mostly along for the ride with a little coaxing and coaching and occasional jab rudder or brake and to satisfy the insurance company Open Pilot Waiver coverage until he can get five hours dual in a J-3/L4 before he is covered. Nothing was bent or damaged in the process and the plane is home. I have to call that a success.

We talked about Paul a great deal and shared stories of him. It was an enjoyable trip over three days spent with one old friend and one new who tagged along in the Arrow to deliver us to Hagerstown and then shadow us all the way home. Fortunately, aside from a bit of oil leak and an over filled oil tanks, there were no other real issues with the airplane.

Day 1-I departed my home field at 0700 in my RV-4 for Noel’s strip. From there, we all drove over the Executive Airport and met new friend Doug and jumped into an Arrow for an IFR flight to Hagerstown. Within about an hour of arrival there, Noel and I jumped in the L-4 and launched on the first leg of the trip home to Shenandoah Calley Refional Airport. We overnighted there and were delay from our planned early departure by ground fog. We finally got off the ground headed to Virginia Tech/Blacksburg Executive, where we met a nice young Line Girl Cub pilot who is a big STOL and Fat Tire Cowboys fan/member. Several more stops ensued, each between an hour and an hour and a half. The late start put us 28 miles short of the final destination when we ran out of daylight and landed after sun down but before end of twilight in Winchester, TN where we jumped into the chase plane and flew to Huntsville for dinner and a good night’s sleep. This morning we, after Doug finished with a student pilot, we launched to go get the L-4 followed by the final leg. We were lucky to have had tailwinds the entire way, frequently seeing ground speeds of 90+mph.

I just got home from from the airport following my RV-4 home. Again I had good tailwinds covering the 175 mile trip in exactly one hour takeoff to touchdown.

It was a fun adventure, but his guy is worn smooth out. Please excuse any grammar or spelling errors or other errors.


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