With the support of EAA chapters and individuals across the country,
J.W. French (EAA 226844) has continued to make steady progress in his quest to re-create the late Sam Burgess’ 1974 flight around the lower 48 states in an open-cockpit Acro Sport. For the past week he has been making his way through the mountainous terrain of the southwestern United States, visiting several EAA chapters from Texas to Arizona and meeting some of the most interesting people in aviation.
Stop 6: San Manuel Airport (E77) in San Manuel, Arizona (Tuesday, June 24, 2008)
Supported by Mark Rhoads (EAA 85180), Britta Penca (EAA 792266), and EAA Chapter 1406
French landed safely at San Manuel Airport (E77), Arizona. He reported some apprehension between stops because of “serious stretches of nothing” over the Arizona terrain. “Big wide valleys with serious mountains on each side offered no place to go if the engine took a dump,” he said. “I tried to stay within gliding distance of the interstate highway when I could.” After claiming the 39th state of his journey, French met with Mark Rhoads and Britta Penca to enjoy lunch with members of EAA Chapter 1406. “The chapter is having a potluck dinner tonight to celebrate my visit,” he said. “The hospitality of the EAA chapters and my hosts has really made this trip a pleasure.” French stayed in San Manuel overnight before heading to Casa Grande, Arizona, to visit EAA Chapter 1445.
Stop 7: Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ), Arizona (Wednesday, June 25, 2008)
Supported by Terry Emig (EAA 529825) and EAA Chapter 1445
French arrived at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ) early morning and was immediately greeted by members of EAA Chapter 1445, along with a photographer and a reporter from the Casa Grande Dispatch. He gave a speech on the life and times of Sam Burgess and answered people’s questions regarding Sam and the airplanes he built. “My hangar host for the Acro Sport was Terry
Emig, an officer of the Arizona Antique Aircraft Association, Inc. (AAAA) and an old friend of Robert Taylor,” French reported. “I saw a number of beautiful airplanes that belong to the AAAA members, including a pristine Stolp V Star and a 1941 J-3 Cub.” French planned to stay overnight in Case Grande before heading to Payson the following morning.