Tailwheel or nosewheel, everyone we interviewed at the RAF Triple Tree weekend June 3-5 agreed that the grass at SC00 is the finest their tires have ever touched. Imagine 8,000 feet of putting green with no bump to blame for that second bounce!

We wish to thank Pat Hartness and his amazing crew of Triple Tree volunteers for welcoming the RAF and dedicating their weekend to making sure everything was perfect. Weather cooperated with midday highs in the 80’s and comfortable nights in the 60’s.

Families eager to experience South Carolina’s southern hospitality started arriving Thursday, setting up camp on prime spots along the tree-lined river banks or at the shady edge of the Monet-styled ponds.  

Friday evening’s festivities began with a wonderful outdoor meal followed by local volunteer Eric Myers demonstrating his remote controlled aircraft, from electric helicopters to a jet-powered fighter doing 150-mph low passes in front of the astonished crowd. Then local pilot Dale Ellis told of a hijacking that took his C-310 into the hands of Mexican Federales only to be rescued with the assistance of his fiancé.

Saturday morning, folks chose between a Biltmore Estate tour (courtesy of Signature Flight Support), the Navigational Challenge Fly-out (using only charts and dead reckoning through the mountains) or relaxing. The evening featured the trademark Triple Tree “grill your own steak” meal.  After dinner RAF VP Tim Clifford updated the crowd on all things RAF and Georgia State Liaison Eric Davis gave an excellent presentation on preparing for and flying the backcountry even if your plane is a Bonanza.

Throughout the event, attendees enjoyed daily exhibition flights of Triple Tree’s P-51, and late night fire-pit s’mores. RAF member Jerry Cromwell’s grandson James caught a record bass; and a father and three sons stopped in for a visit on their month-long canoe adventure to the Atlantic.

Sunday morning departures went smoothly with lots of hugs and promises to “do it again real soon!”  You would swear that a few of those tires just hated to lift off that grass and say their goodbyes, as well.

Submitted on June 17, 2016.

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