Bill and Sue joined us yesterday after an 8-hour flight in their Lancair IV from Virginia – just an easy short hop for these record setting world-hoppers! Then today, Dave Fretwell arrived in his Legacy FG from Paso Robles along with his Australian Lancair 320 owner Andrew Fotheringham. Lancair aircraft are well represented on the high desert airport of Taos!
We started the day with a driving tour of the mountains east of Taos to see the scenery and the beautiful colors guided by our able navigator Sue Harrelson. Fall in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado are some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US.
After lunch, a couple of us dashed up to Los Alamos to tour the museums there and learn more about the genesis of the nuclear age. The drive up to Los Alamos and the town itself were a treat and it was very interesting being on the site of the Manhattan project.
The final education event of the tour was a riveting account of Bill Harrelson’s polar circumnavigation of the earth for a world record that eclipsed the former attempt not by minutes or hours but by weeks! It was really interesting to hear of all the preparation he and Sue put into this feat and of the flight itself. Bill flew 8 legs totaling 175 hours in the aircraft. You do the math; over 20 hours per leg on average! This guy is amazing and we are fortunate that he chose a Lancair to set these records and shares his stories with us. There is something for all pilots to take away from his experiences no matter your level of proficiency.
Our final night on the Great American Lancair Rally was a real treat as our tour director, Kelly Goforth, had set up a secret mystery dinner for us in a private home in the foothills of the mountains of Taos. We socialized under a crystal clear and star-studded sky overlooking a vast Rio Grande river valley. Dinner was prepared by a team of chefs that travel all over the world teaching their craft. The really crazy discover tonight was that Chef Chris Maher had been in Uvalde cooking for a family there less than a year ago – what a small world it is!
The Great American Lancair Rally will end tomorrow and we will all disperse back to our homes but we take away a treasure trove of experiences, new friends and some real educational content. The tour spanned more than 3,000 nautical miles, 7 awesome venues, 11 days together and 20 hours of flying each aircraft through 9 states. While I might be jinxing our flights tomorrow but as of today there has not been a single maintenance issue or weather complication the entire trip – again a testimony to the incredible aircraft we all fly. Our intent was to combine education with flying experiences and throw in some great social time with fellow Lancair owners and enthusiasts and without a doubt we exceeded all expectations.
Based on the 2018 GALR we are committed to an eastern US tour in 2019 and will start the planning and promotion shortly. Bookmark the website at rally.lancair.com as well as watching the Facebook page for more information including a recap of this years event.