A friend of mine was nice enough to wrangle an invitation for me to attend the annual invitational BBQ at the Antique Aero shops of Chuck Wentworth on the Paso Robles, CA airport (KPRB). The weather even cleared up between Reno and there after a week of on-again-off-again storms and wind. It was a nice 2-hour flight to KPRB in the Swift on Friday morning. I was welcomed into the group that showed up early to help set up for the Saturday event. The main hangar was cleared out and tables were set up. Sixty of us went out to dinner Friday night at a really nice place in Paso Robles. Friday morning most of us were out at the airport again by 8:30 am to see what would be flying. Javier Arango, owner of most of the planes in the museum collection flew his Le Rhone powered Sopwith Camel (see the video below). The museum and Antique Aero have probably the largest collection of Rotary engines. There are 18 either on flying airplanes or on display. Since parts are no longer available Mr. Arango is having some more scratch-built. A recent article in Air & Space Magazine gives more details about their effort. In the photos you will see one of their “rotary engine kits’ on display in the hangar.
It was really fun to watch the wide range of aircraft show up with people invited to the event. Everything from a 4-ship of beautifully polished PT-22s to a DC-3. After the BBQ it was even more fun to watch them all depart and ‘wave goodbye’ as they left the area.
The only drawback to the weekend was the 104 degree temperatures on Saturday. I probably went through ten bottles of water during the day. By late afternoon everyone was totally baked. I was really glad that I had decided to spend Saturday night there. Sunday morning was clear, calm and cool. When I took off it was probably 60 degrees. I climbed up to 10,500 and then 11,500 for the trip across the Sierras and was back in the hangar at Stead after another beautiful 2-hour flight.
It was a really great weekend event. The Antique Aero facility is well cared for and the crew helping out with the event was super-friendly and efficient. This year was the 18th annual BBQ. I am really hoping that I will be invited back next year.
NOTE: I’m trying something new this time with the photos – a thumbnail gallery. If you click on one of the photos it takes you to a page with only that photo on it – click on the photo again and you will see the large version of the shot. I took most of the photos, but some were taken by my friend Richard Savell