Every Sunday since 1985, Art Chard has flown to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire Wisconsin to have Breakfast at the small diner in the terminal of the airport. On Sunday November 25, I had the opportunity to fly with him in his home built airplane .
April 4th, 1986. That is the the date Art stated building his Glasair. Art Retired in 1985 and moved to Hastings with his wife. He spent long hours and devoted any free time he had to the construction of his plane. He finally finished his plane June 6th, 2002.
On Saturday I asked Art if it was ok if I went along with him to breakfast. "Yes," said Art with happiness in his voice. So I showed up at the Red Wing Airport at 7:30a.m. to help Art pull his plane out and pre-flight it before take off. at 7:50a.m. We crawled in to his 2 seat plane and started the engine. As we taxied out on to the runway a huge smile came across my face. It is such an amazing feeling to be looking down a 5,000 foot runway and start rolling faster and faster toward the end of it.we take off runway 9, we climbed to 3,000 feet and then leveled out at 3,500 feet. As we were flying there we had a 40 mph tail-wind. We were flying at a cruising speed of 228 mph.
As we got closer to the Chippewa Valley Airport, I radioed to the tower our position and asked what runway to land on. We got cleared to land on runway 22R and we entered the pattern. As we entered the pattered we slowed our speed to 120 mph and lowered the flaps. As we turned for our final decent we got one last clearance from the tower to land. We landed at 74 mph on the middle of the runway and then taxied off the runway over to the tarmac in front of the diner.
We shut the plane down and climbed out. We walked in the terminal and into the diner. We sat down at a table and waited briefly for one other plane with two other guys who we were eating with. When they arrived we ordered and talked about aviation's and old stories. We ate quickly and then headed back out to the planes.
We hopped back into the plane and started it and taxied to the end of runway 22L. Art radioed to the tower and got clearance to take off. We rolled on to the runway and took off. We climbed to 1,300 feet and were going 125 mph. Now that 40 mph tail-wind turned in to a 50 mph head-wind. We finally climbed and leveled off at 3,800 feet and we were going 138 mph.
As we flew along, I looked around at all the scenery below us. Before I knew it we were 10 miles out from Red Wing and Art radioed and let other planes know we were landing at Red Wing. We entered the pattern and landed on runway 27. We taxied back to the hangar and got out and put the plane back in the hanger. As We standing there talking about the flight i asked Art "How does it feel to build your own plane and finally fly it?" After a few seconds of thinking Art said "It is an amazing feeling. You are finally seeing the finished product in action."
We walked of the hanger and drove back to the terminal and started work. it was an experience I will never for get. I hope my story has inspired you to try flying. I know you will love it just as much as I do.
Created By: Dave Safe