Hi Craig - thinking of Oshkosh -- reminds me of the time that I was flying low over the tulip fields of Mount Vernon Washington.
And I know - it was totally a no-no - but we sure were having fun and I was following a Robinson B1 RD and we were playing follow the leader. I had paid for a coworker to have a short introductory ride in ultralights. Arlington Washington is just down the road from Mount Vernon Washington where there are thousands of acres of tulip fields. Giant splashes of color as viewed from our ultralights. Following one of the head guys of the Robinson's B1 RD's and my coworker we headed out from Arlington Washington for a short flight to the coast and over the Mount Vernon tulip fields.
The B1 banked and descended sharply and what fun that was to follow that move and in seconds we are in a low-flying formation only feet above the tulip fields.
Coming up to the end of the tulip fields was a few lines of electric and telephone wire on your typical telephone poles. I had just watched the B1 RD pull-up and head for altitude and the coastline. I firewalled the throttle and pulled back on the yoke, my little 40 horsepower 447 Rotax Super Cadet pulled me right up to 40 ft. above the telephone lines and the road and then seized.
Silence and 40 ft. instantly turn into 35 ft. and luckily I had hundreds of acres of flat farmland spread out in front of me to land. And just like that -- what - three seconds at the most I went from good time flying to sitting in the cockpit of my little plane, intact and on the ground, stunned at the silence and stillness. Still watching B1 RD disappear into the distance I jump out of the plane and ran swinging my arms and my helmet hoping they will turn and see that I'm not behind them. But it becomes clear in seconds that they're not going to hear me hollering or see me................ and I'm not alone.
All my jumping up-and-down and running and hollering had captured the attention of a small herd of dairy cows. As an experienced farmhand, I had little concern for myself but mostly what those big old Holsteins could do to my airplane. I took a last look at the boys in the B1 RD and by this time they were just speck in the sky. And that herd of Holsteins was moving fast.
By the time I got to the airplane the cows were on me, easily overwhelmed by their size I was pinned between them and the airplane. Suddenly I have cows sniffing my butt, rubbing their head in my crotch, sticking their wet mucus dripping nose in my helmet, then the big one stuck her head into that group right in my face.
She sends that tongue out and runs it up into one of her nostrils and I'm thinking oh no, isn't the engine quitting bad enough? Then she sent that tongue out again and it went up the other nostril and I screamed -- not the tongue! And in that startled dairy cow moment they blinked twice and I was gone sprinting for the fence line with a half a dozen heifers behind me. My adrenaline sent me up and over the fence line and into the country road of, the tulip country of Mount Vernon Washington, where I had just buzzed the community's prize tulip fields.
One minute it, you are on top of the world and looking down -- -- and then -- -- the next minute you are standing in the middle-of-the-road next to the tulip fields you just buzzed and with a bunch of dairy cows standing at the fence looking at you with hungry eyes. It was a humbling experience to stick out my thumb that day. It was 1987.
So here we are in 2008 and hopefully only a couple of weeks away from the test flight of my series one project. Turning 60 this year and sometimes these days I sort of feel like Iím standing on the side of that road again wondering what the heck just happened --