Wind and Heat Doesn’t Hold Back Ranger Airshow
Grass cut? Check. FAA Waiver? Check. 30 briskets? Check. Performers? Check.
Everything was set up for another record year at Ranger, but a stationary front to the north and compressional warming caused by a high to the south had different plans. More simply, it was very hot, and very windy. What a difference wind makes. In total, 66 aircraft braved the wind and attended Ranger‘s fourth fly-in and airshow. One pilot said he had cruise speeds of 35 mph on part of the flight over in his Piper Cub. One gentleman bucked a headwind in his Cessna 120 all the way from OKC.
The VFW’s Friday fish fry was great, the Lions served a good breakfast on Saturday and 24 of the 30 briskets were had for lunch before Saturday’s airshow. While only 66 aircraft flew in, many pilots and spouses drove in. Some of the older aircraft to attend included a Howard DGA, Culver Cadet and Bücker Jungmann. A 1944 P-51D performed in the airshow. David Martin piloted “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy”, the 2008 Oshkosh Grand Champion, for its first appearance at Ranger. Other performers included Tony Wood in his Sukhoi, Julia Wood in her Pitts, Ron Cain in his 1950 de Havilland Chipmunk, and Scott Lane in his Pitts S-2B.
Ranger Airfield’s First Landing Centennial occurs this November. To know that this small plot of land has been serving aviators for 100 years is exciting. That first landing on November 24, 1911 by a Wright B was long before Ranger’s main street was bustling with Model Ts, long before P-51s were kicking butt in Europe, long before a Cub was parked in a barn, and long before I was hosting fly-ins at Ranger. So much has changed. It took that wood crate 112 days to fly from California to Florida 100 years ago. We’ve come so far in so many ways as Americans and yet at times we yearn for the old days. While so much has changed, Ranger Airfield hasn’t. We don’t have a paved runway, we don’t have lights, we lack fuel, we don’t even have a telephone. What we do have is a grass runway and a brick floor hangar. And for one weekend a year, that’s all we need.
Photos are by Dennis Price