Beating the Winter Blues

With Doc Hecker at Bulverde Air Park

Beating the Winter Blues

After a seemingly endless winter, (apologies to our northern Minnesota friends) the weather was picture and flying perfect yesterday in South Texas. So perfect that unlike February’s groundhog, I was ready to take these old bones outside for a walk-around the Bulverde Air Park.

Thanks to an invitation from our friend, Doc Hecker, owner of several vintage aircraft including a beautifully-restored PT-17 Stearman, we joined the monthly fly-in group of aviators at Bulverde Air Park, about 16 miles from San Antonio.

When we arrived, Paul Celio, a friend of the Doc’s, was helping with maintenance and repair of the plane. In addition to being part owner of the PT-17, Paul, like Doc Hecker, is a licensed mechanic for vintage aircraft. Also, like Doc Hecker, when he’s not working on the plane, Paul practices medicine. Doctor Celio is a full-time cardiologist.

After admiring this beautiful plane again, which still has a special place in my heart as I soloed in one just like it. Paul explained to Charlotte that these trainers were made tough; tough enough to put into the “care’ of 20-year old boys. The pipes and fittings of the bi-plane were made to withstand hard landings. Can you imagine the special talent and yes, bravery, it must have taken for an instructor to climb into the back seat with a novice pilot?

Time for lunch. You would have thought I was really special! Everyone greeted me like a visiting celebrity. What a great group. Roxanne Markline, the owner of the operation and Air Park manager, Dana Anderson, Anderson Aviation, were both there, welcoming everyone for the fly-in and barbeque lunch.

Days like this are perfect. Ideal flying weather; kind, considerate companionship, seeing beautifully restored aircraft kept in tip-top flying condition and surrounded by friends.

No better way to spend a day.