There I was..... Isn't that how good stories are supposed to start? There I was sitting on a golf cart in front of the Tom Huf's Bobcat for a brief break during the 2010 AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in. I had just finished a nice chat with Jim White about his Clipwing Monocoupe when Elaine Huf walked up to me and said; "Ben you know what we should do". Somehow, my mind being occupied with other matters, I was not comprehending all of what was being said. But almost immediately I snapped back to reality to catch the last half of her brilliant suggestion. The idea was to disassemble the APM's Link Trainer, load it in the back half of Dave Lamb's horse trailer/camper and haul it to West Virginia where Dave resides. Sounds simple right? Well simple isn't the word I would use but as you will find out, it worked out just fine.
This all started a few years ago, probably over a cocktail under a wing somewhere here on Antique Airfield when either Bob Taylor or Brent Taylor got Tom Huf talking about the Link Trainers he had restored. Somehow Tom either volunteered or got volunteered to restore the APM's Link and the snow ball started to roll.
Fast forward to a hot and wet August. I was searching Barnstormers.com when an add nearly jumped off the computer screen and punched me in the face. I don't recall the exact wording but Monocoupe fuselage was the important ingredient. To make a short story even shorter for the next few weeks I played middle man in Dave Lamb's purchase of the aforementioned fuselage plus the few parts and drawings that came with it.
To clue you all in, Dave and I are building not one but two homebuilt Clipwing Monocoupes.
So I planned a trip to Dave's to then go with him to PA to pick up the Monocoupe stuff. The trip was to happen after the AAA/APM Fly-in this year and would be taking us within an hour of the Tom & Elaine's beautiful private strip in northeastern (Kingsley) PA. So we made arrangements to swing by, see them and go to dinner.
All these arrangements were made sometime before Sat. of the AAA/APM Fly-in. But by Sat. Elaine had hatched a brilliant "kill two birds with one stone" strategy and it was set. We would load the Link in Dave's trailer, he would haul it to Nitro WV, I would meet up with him a month later and we would haul the Link to the Huf's for its impending cleanup/restoration.
That time came later than we had planned and the beginning of October found yours truly doing the TSA shuffle. With belt and shoes in hand and butt cheeks pinched together I hoped the full cavity search would be for the little kid in front of me or the old lady with the walker behind me. Surprisingly enough, I made it through just fine and off to WV I went. After an all day event (time to spare, go by air) I found myself landing in Charleston WV. The approach to the airport was like something out of a Gann novel with fog in the valleys illuminated by the city lights lying beneath, while the peaks and ridges poking up would either guide us or kill us, depending on how good the throttle jockey up in front could really fly. Needless to say it was a fun approach, except I think I am the only passenger that enjoyed it.
The next morning Dave and I got to work loading the Link from the horse trailer to the flatbed in the rain. Once two o'clock rolled around we finally hit the road, still in the rain. Twelve hours later we were sitting in the Huf's beautiful home, that Elaine designed herself, sipping a cold beer and listening to stories being told. The next morning after unloading the Link, which went well, we decided to just hang loose at Tom & Elaine's for a while. They have a stunning setup, great views, beautiful runway and a few good airplanes to play with. That afternoon we bid fairwell to our gracious hosts and headed to Allentown, PA for the Monocoupe parts. We ended up loading in the dark but we got all the stuff home to WV safe and sound the next day.
The three day trip had turned into five and I was ready to get home to my beautiful and understanding girlfriend and back to work also. This time the TSA shuffle went even smoother and I made it home without a problem. All in all the trip was alot of fun, even with all the driving. But the Link is in Tom’s shop and the 'Coupe is at Dave's. As for me, I am in my office writing this tale that will probably get chopped up and edited to death (editor:not to badly) by my dad. So enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for more Monocoupe and Link updates as they happen.
Just Fly It,