Saturday, April 27, 2013

40th. Annual Bensen Days 2013... And I was there !

The picture  is of a good friend, Tommy Milton and me.  Tommy is as hooked on gyros as I am and has been involved with gyros for many years.  He is a gyro pilot and is also  a DAR.  DAR means he is a designated airworthiness Representative for the FAA and is qualified to conduct airworthiness inspections of gyros to determine if they are airworthy.  We met up again at the annual Bensen Days fly-in in Wauchula , Florida.   

It was my first visit to Bensen Days .   It was the 40th anniversary of the annual gyro fly-in that  honors the birthday of Igor Bensen, the man who designed the much loved Bensen Gyrocopter that stole my heart so many years ago.    The event is hosted by a gyro club known as SWaRC  , Sunstate Wing and Rotor Club, PRA Ch. 26.

My daughter Donna, accompanied me on the Florida trip.  She was a great help to me in many ways.  I gave up freeway driving awhile back so she took over that chore.  She made sure I got on the right airliner for where we were going and she kept me from sounding off whenever someone mumbled making it impossible  for me to hear what they were saying to me.  She kept me out of trouble in other words!  I was glad to have her assistance.   It was her first time in the deep south and she told me the people down there speak another language!  It  took her a bit to get used to the good old southern drawl spoken down there.

We landed in Tampa, got a rental car, exited the rental shop  right onto the freeway and were instantly lost !  It was rush hour with a zillion cars out there.  None of the street names  on the Map Quest print out I had were coming up on the freeway signs.    We stopped a total of four times to ask directions to Wauchula  and got different directions each time.   Finally with another stop to purchase a Florida map we located the small town of Wauchula on the map and then  even found the town itself.   We found our motel and turned in for the night.  

Next morning the challenge was to find the Wauchula airport where the fly-in was .  It was pouring  rain and the huge puddles all around said it had already rained a bunch.   Not finding a sign anywhere to show where the airport was, we started asking locals again.  Three times  we were sent the wrong way .   I suggested that perhaps we should ask a delivery person as they get around  and should be able to direct us.  Donna spotted a  Sheriffs station.  Thinking deputies get around, she pulled into the parking lot and went in to once more ask directions to the airport. 

The only person in the sheriff's office was a female receptionist.  She gave directions that took us out of town aways  then  dead ended.    Finally  we received a  call from someone at the fly-in who was wondering where in the heck we were.   He gave us perfect directions and we found the airport in short order.

When we arrived at the airport it was still raining but that was  not a problem because the down time from flying gave everyone a great time to visit new and old friends.  For me it was Heaven.  I met gyro types whose words I had read  for years in PRA's gyro magazine and on the rotary forum.  It was great to put faces with the names I knew for so long.  I met Chris, another female gyro pilot...there's not many of those creatures around!  We  had good times visiting and getting to know each other.  Her husband Jim, is a big ole huggable teddy bear.  I loved  him on sight.  After awhile the rain ended and gyros  of all  kinds took to the air .  

There was a spot landing contest where no one actually landed on the spot and I wondered how come they couldn't  hit the spot...they were allowed to descend to three or four feet above the ground and drag it in.  Hey, guys, you need to work on that !   For the spot  landing contest we old timers  used to set an altitude for the pilot to be ,  of say not lower than  100 feet above the ground and  then bring the engine  back to idle , and then land on the spot or try to.   But that was the good old days.  

Then there was the egg drop contest where the pilots were given three trys to drop eggs and try to hit the target which in this case was Gabor Kovac.  Gabor  sat out there in a chair  on the runway dressed in a bright red angry bird outfit and he was as safe as could be from the eggs raining all around but not on him.   Good fun but lousy bombardiers !

Recent times have seen a crop of  new big two place gyros, some fully enclosed on the market and they were well represented at Bensen Days but my heart  is still with the smaller open type gyros and they were also well represented .    Seeing Gary Goldsberry  fly a demo in his light weight ( awesome powered ) gyro was a thrill.  He flys a gyro the way it ought to be flown!  

There was never a moment  when someone wasn't asking if we needed something to eat and it was all cooked right there on the field by the fly-in attendees ( guys and their better halves ) , except for a night when we went to the unforgettable Soloman's Castle for a fine dinner and the last night  on the airport  when the dinner was catered and served under the big tent on the field.  

For me a highlight was flying with Steve McGowan , a friend from way back.  We flew in his open tandem gyro called, The Black.  

The week  was over all too soon .  I returned home with a bunch of new memories to add to my  stash of gyro  good times.     My thanks to the good group of volunteers who made  Bensen Days a wonderful time for me and also for a whole lot of other visitors.  
 Till next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too bad being stupid isn't painful

I've often thought that if stupid people had real pain from being stupid they would do something to make the stupidity go away, you know, like take an aspirin or something.

I am severely hearing impaired and wear two hearing aids. The hearing aids help of course but there are many things that interfere with my ability to hear and understand clearly. Loud talking, fast talking, accents, background sounds and other things impair my ability to hear well. Occasionally when I inform a salesgirl that I am hard of hearing and am using hearing aids she will begin talking to me at the top of her voice. Sometimes I think they can be heard out in the parking lot. When I tell the person that she doesn't have to shout and would she please slow her speech down a bit then often she will get all cutesy in a different way. She will give me the slow speech treatment.

Last week I had to go to a UPS store to mail a package. My daughter was with me and she said to the clerk , " my mom is hard of hearing". Well, that set the stage for the 50ish redheaded gal clerk who jumped at the opportunity to have a little fun at my expense. The first words she
addressed to me were spoken at the top of her lungs and spoken very fast.

I told her that she didn't need to yell but to please speak a little slower...then she said this,
" O.................K...................I...................will ". I just lost my cool and said to her in front of a roomful of customers ( she was playing to them ), " You are being stupid!!!". That got her attention and she treated me in a more respectful manner while she finished waiting on me.

She apparently thought she was being cute while in fact she was ridiculing a customer , but as I said, she was stupid. I guess she had a need to prove her stupidity to the other customers.

Needless to say, that UPS store has been crossed off my list.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old friend, gyro pioneer, Ed Nielesky has passed on

He was a special person, soft spoken, gentle and an old gyro pilot from way back. His name was Ed Nielesky.
He loved gyros and in fact, he told me he taught the late Ken Brock to fly gyros. He said he had his gyro out and Ken's wife, Marie happened by. She stopped to talk with Ed and told him that she thought her husband would love that machine. Marie brought the two guys together and the rest is history.

Ed's love of flying wasn't limited to gyros. His son told me that when he was a kid one day he and Ed took off in an airplane before dawn. They flew all day arriving back at home base after dark. He said they refueled and his dad said to him, " let's go fly some more". That sounds like Ed, all right.

In the photo above Ed stands in front of a table displaying a tee shirt with a picture of two gyros in flight. Ed is flying the gyro in the foreground and Ken is in the background. The picture on the tee shirt was taken by Dr. Igor Bensen at a gyro fly-in on the El Mirage dry lake. I believe the photo was taken in the early 70's. Bensen had the photo put on tee shirts and they were sold in retail stores all over the country.

Ed loved the McCulloch engine and always flew the Mac on his gyro as I do and as Ken brock did. I always say the best gyro pilots fly the Mac!

The picture of Ed in front of the tee shirt was taken at the 2010 gyro fly-in. It was the last time he was able to attend the annual event that he enjoyed so much for he passed away just before the fly-in this year. I knew and loved him as a gyro buddy for many years and I will miss him.

Till next time,
Marion Springer

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New blog on my Authentic Indian doll web site

I mentioned before that I have another passion besides gyrocopters. That passion is creating original hand-made Indian dolls. The dolls ( called dolls for lack of a better word) are not toys but rather they are art dolls. The figures represent what an Indian of that time period might be doing on an average day. I make warriors, chiefs, mothers w/babies and cradleboards w/babies and others.

Recently Matt, my web master, put a blog on the doll website. I thought it would be neat to post items of interest about what I was working on in the art doll world or mention ideas I have for future art dolls and maybe even receive comments from readers about my work.

There is a link to the doll blog on the website or the blog can be accessed by going to the doll website. . The abreviation for the long name is

If you look it up I'd be interested in hearing from you.

I still am involved in gyrocopters and always will be . The annual Ken Brock Freedom gyro fly-in is coming up next month on the El Mirage dry lake. The dates are Sept. 23-25. Plan to join us for a weekend of camaraderie and gyro flying or just watching gyros fly.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birds know

It never ceases to surprise me that birds know when you will help them. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a pigeon with a string tightly wrapped around both his feet. He could hardly walk so picking him up was easy. The surprising thing is that he seemed to know that I would take the string off his feet.

He never struggled no matter how I turned him in an effort to cut the string. For a few minutes I had him flat on his back and still he was patient and didn't struggle to get loose. I finally freed his feet from the string and he flew away.

This evening just before dark I was shooing the pigeons into the pigeon house when a small sparrow landed about four feet from me. I said a few words to it, ( yeah, I talk to cats, dogs and birds), and it sat there and let me walk up to it. It looked up at me and even let me put my hand around it but before I could close my hand on it it flew about six feet away and landed. I went into the house and got the bird net and went out and simply dropped the net over the little bird.

I took it out of the net and carried it in my hand while I went looking for a small cage for the bird. During the fifteen minutes or so that it took to prepare the cage and put in food and water the little sparrow was sitting peacefully in my hand and not struggling. I think he knew that I was trying to help him. I put him in the cage and covered it with a towel. In a few days I will release him when a flock of his kind come by and hopefully he will join them .

I think it is a young bird that got separated from it's flock and with night coming on it was lost and terrified . Scared as he was, he still let me help me.

The photo above shows feeding time and some of the pigeons that live here.

Till next time,


Up-date on the little sparrow.

Next morning I checked on the sparrow. I guess daylight brought his courage back. He was flitting about the cage and rarin' to go. I reached in the cage to pick him up and the little devil bit me ! Guess he didn't remember how grateful he was the night before when I picked him up and brought him inside.

There was nothing wrong with him so no reason to keep him caged up. I took him outside and set him free. He joined a flock of his own kind and flew away with them.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Empty Chairs in the Hangar

How quiet it was in my hangar today when I went down to cover my gyro. Nothing but a half a dozen empty chairs and the gyro in there. Yesterday the hangar hosted several gyro friends , my two daughters and me. There was talking, laughing, sharing gyro stories and just a good feeling .

Yesterday my day had started at 6 AM, before I was out of bed even. I was awake and thinking of getting up but hadn't made the move yet when I heard a gyro coming our way. There was no doubt in my mind who was flying. It had to be my old gyro buddy, Dave. Dave, like me , loves the very loud un-muffled McCulloch engine on his gyro. Real gyro pilots are about the only ones who love the Mac. We like the light weight of the engine and the fact that it makes the gyro so nimble. Other folks just say it's too loud.

Sure enough, it was Dave. He he did his usual fly-by , some might call it a buzz job, but fly-by sounds more FAA approved. I went out on the porch bare footed and in my jammies and waved to him as he came by. After a couple of passes he signaled me to , " come on down", meaning come on down to the hangar where he planned to be.

I shirked my morning baby bird feeding duties and went on down to the hangar. To my surprise, Ben , a gyro friend from Arizona was there. After awhile, another gyro enthusiast came along. Ben had just had an unscheduled landing while flying Daves gyro. We stood around for awhile talking about Ben's exciting unplanned landing then we moved into the hangar to get out of the hot sun. After awhile my two daughters came down and joined us and we just talked the talk.

It wasn't anything special, just a few gyro friends and some of my family spending a couple of hours talking and laughing and sharing memories but it was nice .
After awhile, we pushed my gyro out to the run-up pad and started the engine. The gyro hadn't been flown or even started for several months but that Mac started right up and ran great. After awhile the guys had to leave and I had to get back home to take care of my responsibilities. The engine was too hot to put the rags in the ports and the carburator so I left that until today.

When I opened the hangar doors this morning to take care of the gyro I saw the empty chairs. It was a lonely feeling like the lake bed on Sunday after the fly-in when everyone has loaded up and headed home. It was a quiet and lonely place. The friends and family had gone home but the memories remain.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lookin' Out My Backdoor

This morning around 7 AM I looked out my back door and saw hundreds of sheep walking down the road that crosses our property.

They have been grazing in the area for several days. It is amazing that so many sheep are controlled in the large open countryside by one Shepherd and two sheep dogs.

They have been grazing about a mile or so north of us for several days being moved here and there until they were just outside my fence a day or so ago. My Doberman, Connie went to the fence and barked at the sheep but they paid her no mind and just kept on eating. Connie isn't used to being ignored when she barks at other creatures so she got embarassed and came back into the yard. Today she didn't even bother looking at the sheep as they marched down the road. I guess if they were not going to act frightened when she barks at them then it's no fun.

We have very little traffic out here but now and then a car or delivery truck does venture out this way. If the sheep are in the roadway, the driver slows way down but usually keeps driving while the sheep just kind of flow around the vehicle. It's wierd when you are in a car on the road and finally come to a stop because you are surrounded by slow moving sheep. It's like being stopped near the railroad tracks when a train is passing and suddenly you feel like your car is moving and you step on the brake which you are already stepping on.

I wonder about coyotes getting the sheep especially at night when they have so little protection from predators . Other night Linda heard coyotes barking and immediately she heard the sound of two shots . I would imagine the shepherd fired into the air and scared the coyotes away for all was quiet afterwards.

The shepherd has a water truck which he fills every day. When the sheep stop to drink, they all stop at the same time and drink then they all lie down and rest. After a nap they are on the move enmasse looking for food.

Living way out in the open country as we do we get to see some interesting things that you just can't see in metropolitian areas.

Till next time.
Marion Springer