LOCK HAVEN - The 26th Annual Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Fly-In got under way Wednesday.
"Chaotic Circle" is the nickname Fly-In Director Kim Garlick has given the Sentimental Journey office at the William T. Piper Memorial Airport, appropriate given the amount of phone calls, faxes, copies and visitors she deals with for the biggest event of the year at the airport.
"Things are coming along great. People came in as early as Friday," she said. "Years ago, people started coming in on Tuesday (the day before the fly-in), but every year it gets a little bit earlier.
Garlick said 65 people pre-registered for the event, the most in its 26-year history.
In addition, she added, many come during the week unannounced and the final number is mostly dependent on the weather.
"If it's a good year weather-wise, we'll get as many as 500 planes," she said.
Forecasters are predicting hit-and-miss thunderstorms through the end of the week.
Thunderstorms a few years ago damaged several planes, and Garlick said officials now require all pilots tie down their planes when not running.
Hopefully, she said, this will prevent what happened at the Sun and Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., from March 29 to April 3 this year when about 70 Piper Cubs were damaged from a tornado that ripped through that area.
She said the energy and the enthusiasm of fly-in is something officials look forward to all year long.
"Then, it seems to be over in a blink of an eye," Garlick said. "On the last day, when they're pulling up stakes, you get a little melancholy about it ... I hate to see it end."
Nearly everybody in attendance hates to see it end, with the scenic beauty of the area along with friendly people and many other Piper Cub enthusiasts to share many a story with.
Ray Senf of Hastings, N.Y., just started coming to the event last year, with his friends Richie and Scott Revoir, who have been coming for several years to judge the Piper Cubs.
Senf brought down his 1948 Vagabond PA 15, the featured plane at this year's fly-in. He said the plane has up to 100 horsepower and can cruise at speeds of up to 95 mph.
"It only uses about four and a half gallons of gas an hour, too, so it's easy on the wallet," he said.
He said he likes the Lock Haven event because it's full of friendly people, and the food and activities are "cheap."
"I'm learning how to fly a plane," he said, noting he flew ultra-lights previously, "and this is a nice place to train because of the length of the runway and the nice grass turf."
instead of asphalt... And, you get a scenic view of the Susquehanna Valley.
Right next to Senf's Vagabond was David Roosevelt's RV-8 kit plane, which took him "two years and 1,900 hours to build."
However, the plane can fly at up to 205 mph, making short work of the trip from Wilsonville, Ala., to Lock Haven David shared with his father, EV Roosevelt, who brought his kit Cub Crafter Super Cub airplane. The trip only took about four hours.
Both still come to the fly-in, even after they sold away their Piper Cubs because of the friendly people, good times and scenic area.
"It's a good fly-in," David said. "There are a lot of nice people and it's a lot of fun."