July 1964 at BRSS
by Pat Barber(1998)
Thirty four years ago we were all fairly new to the sport of soaring. We were full of energy and enthusiasm. We lived and breathed soaring. It was in July 1964 that Frank and I, with our children Nancy and David, spent the entire month at New Castle, our first real soaring vacation.
This was before there were any improvements made on the property. The white house was bare except for several army type bunk beds. There was no bathhouse, no "Orchard Lane", no fuel on the field and no hangars. The club owned a 2-22 and a winch. The runway was formerly a hayfield and cow pasture, with some bare spots and rocks. It took years to see it become the smooth green turf that we enjoy now.
The recently restored white house should be a monument to Ginny Cole and Carolyn Reas who struggled, at times in vain, to create some semblance of "gracious white house living". Furnished at first with odds and ends from various member's attics and basements, it gradually evolved from a bachelor quarters/flop house to the relatively elegant club house that we have today.
The men and boys occupied the "bare bones" white house. The "gals" enjoyed Lanier's comparatively plush red house, his country home in those days. The red house was to be our home for this wonderful month.
Pat and daughter Nancy arrived on July 2nd in the PA18-135 Super Cub N1642A from Burlington, NC. Frank and son David drove up with all our supplies and our little dog, Ruffin. The Cub belonged to the FBO at Burlington and was the main source of tows for the Burlington based Tarheel Soaring Club. Soaring pilots tended to go wherever there was a tow plane so many of the TSC folks came to New Castle during the two weeks their Cub was absent.
BRSS still had the winch but it was not as satisfactory nor as safe an operation at New Castle as it had been at New River Valley airport. Eventually the winch was sold to a soaring club in Hawaii where it may still be in use. Lanier's Shinn 2150A N5142V arrived at New Castle in July 1964. It looked like a little military fighter, had excellent visibility and was great fun to fly but it was a mediocre tow plane at best. But tow it did and it was an excellent, easy to fly trainer for power students.
My logbooks show that we flew on 22 of the 28 days we spent at BRSS that July. Summer weather must have been better then than it is now. I got to fly the famous Buckley/Feldbaumer serial #1 Schweizer 1-26 N91889. Its logbook reads like a "who's who" of soaring at the time. Lanier let me fly his beautiful Ka6 "Blue Bird". I also flew Bob Poling's 1-23H15 N8619R, Forty Hopkin's LK10A and had a winch launch with Bill Feldbaumer in the BRSS 2-22. Towing and giving dual instruction in the Shinn and Super Cub kept me busy most of the time.
Frank took the Cub back to Burlington on July 13th, much to the happiness of TSC. From then on, the Shinn was the tow plane. Frank had enjoyed some great soaring flights, too. He flew Bob Poling's 1-23H15, George Squillario's Ka6, Forty's LK, Lanier's "Blue Bird" and one very short flight in Ray Shamblen's 1-19. Lanier and others also flew the tow plane so there was much more flying that just the 97 tows that our logbooks show for July 1964. Now, BRSS can have more flights than that in one weekend.
July at New Castle is always blackberry time. We feasted on cobblers and pies with berries picked along the fence lines and near the swimming holes. One weekend we had guests who sent their children up to the trout farm for an afternoon of fishing. They came back with buckets full of trout which was enough to treat a large crowd to trout almondine for dinner. We always did eat well at New Castle!
This just briefly describes one month of our long association with BRSS. It is my intent to write a complete history of BRSS as many have indicated an interest and I seem to have been appointed as unofficial club historian. Our logbooks, scrapbooks, and club archives will provide much of the needed facts but for this to be complete I am requesting that members and friends of BRSS, young and old, past and present, send me whatever information, stories and pictures that could be included. Does anyone have a complete set of the UPS AND DOWNS? Please dig out the logbooks and put your memories to work. Send anything you might have to:
Pat Barber ([email protected])
2615 Glenhaven Lane
Winston-Salem, NC 27106