I recently attended a fly-in airplane rally in Camden South Carolina. There were so many wonderful aircraft to walk around and ogle, and their owners were the most fun group of pilots I have ever hung out with. Pilots in general are smart, dedicated, and obsessed with flying and airplanes and engines and everything about flight. They can talk for hours about which model airplanes in the 50s used which engines and how much horsepower they had and the wing dihedral … I learned a lot and laughed a lot and was generally treated like a long-lost cousin by a hundred total strangers who are now family. And I got to fly my friend Captain John Shearer’s Piper Aztec. I’d rather fly than EAT, and even exhausted and sleepless and strung out, when I climbed into the cockpit, all that fell away and it was pure exhilaration.
The airfield itself, in Camden, is a former air force base which is not a private airfield. As you can imagine, it has fallen into a bit of disrepair, but is well loved and well used. These hangar doors were pushed all the way open for the 3-day rally and the hangar overflowed with pilots and their families sitting at tables eating together, or with their folding chairs lined up facing the runways, watching every arrival and departure.
The highlight of the weekend was a privately owned DC-3, which I will talk more about in another post.