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Thread: J-3 cross county segment 3

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    J-3 cross county segment 3

    More than anything, good short field performance is about the ‘feel’ and the ‘sounds’; the feel of the stick in your fingertips, the feel of the elevator, the feel of the ailerons, the sound of the air over the plane. You are operating at the lowest possible forward speed while still maintaining control----you are on the very edge of control while in this mode and it is all very important and super critical, there is no room for error.
    About now I see that I am gonna be lucky to make it over the trees that surround the clearing. Even now, after all these years, I can still feel the wheels dragging through the tree tops at the edge of that clearing----------I literally couldn’t have been any lower, not even a foot lower.
    Even though things at this point were playing out rather quickly, one right after another, I can still remember every step along the way, every isolated event, every minute as it ticks away and as these events played out that day, all in slow motion. I remember how good I felt when the wheels were in the clear after having been dragging through the trees----that certainly was a close one. Now I am zoned in on sticking this landing. Now that I am down in it, I realize that the clearing is bigger than it seemed earlier----hoorah!
    And, more importantly, the surface looks to be bare and rocky with grasses growing and I see no stumps!! As I get closer to wheels-down, I can see that the rocks are of no consequence. Boy, have I been lucky today!
    I touched and rolled out on one of my shortest landings ever. There is no doubt, the practice paid off! About now, while I am busy being thankful for how things worked out so far, I am starting to come to grips with the realization that I have a problem to deal with, a very serious problem and that being ---- survival. Here I am on top of a mountain in a small cleared off space with an airplane that doesn’t run----hmmm. And, worse, no one knows I’m here. Now what?
    I moved the prop around and could feel a ‘dead’ spot, like it would feel with a bad rod bearing----- a free movement before parts are shoved. I could see no holes in the crankcase, no parts trying to punch out, so this was starting to look more like a failed piston or--?
    While I contemplated my future, I paced off the usable runway space just to see if I would ever be able to fly outta there and was happy to find there was 320’ to the trees however the roadway into this clearing on the far end provided a channel to fly through on the way out----lots of room, maybe as much as 15 feet on each wing tip, So, it looks good if I can make the engine run again.

    For the last 5-minutes or so, I hear a vehicle running and coming closer. Then, up the road and into the clearing comes an old, yellow, Jeep pickup truck, about a ’53 model! What a crazy day this has been----------near disaster to pure jubilation----all within the span of 20-minutes!
    Into this troubled time, rolls my newest friend, Jim Ostermann or as he preferred, JD. His face told a tale of vast experience, the story of wins and losses, happiness and sorrows-----it was all listed there in plain sight, registered in the wrinkles. JD displayed a smile big enough to welcome the whole world as he rattled to a stop in front of this surprised and thrilled, vastly inexperienced young guy.

    He stuck his weathered paw out the window for an intro-shake and asked, “what the hell are you trying to prove, dropping in here like that?” I remember that his hand was big. It was like grabbing hold of a pot roast. I told him my story and learned that the spot I stumbled onto was more a heli-pad than anything else and that he and Puncher, his old dog and trusted companion lived only about a mile away to the south. He explained that this was a fairly busy place during the fire season and that the choppers used it as a fuel and repair spot as well as a place for pilots to camp out. He said that he and Puncher had heard me rattle by overhead and could see I was headed this way, so they came up to pick up the pieces and haul anything to the doctor that might still be living. As he talked, I found myself wanting to give him and maybe even ol Puncher some hugs. He was saving my butt and we all knew it.

    JD had been a machinist and Ford dealership mechanic for the entirety of his working life and before he retired to the mountains and his serenity. After I secured the Cub, we drove to his place. I kept thinking about how danged lucky I was----------this was too good!
    JD and Puncher’s place was cool! The cabin was a big one, at least as cabins go and it was quite well crafted with thick walls, copious insulation and a fine wood burning stove. He had a work shop that was to be envied. It was big enough to park two rigs inside and had a full complement of machine tools, including two lathes, big and small drill presses, vices, gas and electric welders and several tool boxes loaded up with good stuff.
    He had a solar set up on the roof of the cabin that charged a dozen 12-volt series 31 truck batteries for his reading lamps.

    The shop was powered up by a rescued, military gen set. This whole thing was a very cool setup, indeed. Turns out that folks around these parts relied heavily on JD for any welding or fixing. He had the skill to repair practically anything broken, regardless of what it was. He had a natural ability with things mechanical. He had a particular fondness for Ford engines saying that they exhibited the level of engineering not exhibited not found in those by GM.

    He told me that his favorite Ford engine was the 215 and 223 straight six Ford produced in the 1952 through the 1961 time frame, that these engines were superior to any done by GM during that time. He was impressed with the fact the block was extended below the crankshaft centerline, that there was considerable structural integrity lent by this design feature, that the bottom end was a very sturdy one. He had built a number of these for circle track cars back in the day and that they had done quite well against even the small block Chevys of the time. He liked the flow characteristics of the Ford six cylinder head and was convinced that these had a torque output curve that was tough to beat. He said these old sixes could easily stomp the newer, more modern Chev on soft surface, short tracks. Of course, these ramblings seemed to be those of a crazy old guy who lived on a mountain--------what could he know??

    Even as these first few hours slide by, I was beginning to see that my new friend, the guy who looked like a hermit, was no dummy, he knew stuff and lots of stuff, stuff that mattered. I had always been a gear-head and I probably knew more than most, but I soon realized that JD, had forgotten more than I knew. He was way ahead of me in every regard.
    That first night with JD and Puncher was a good one. JD put a meal together that would rival any you could find in any of Seattle or Chicago’s finest. He served a venison steak with baked potatoes and carrots, a meal to die for. When you consider what I had been through, considering that I really ought to be dead, this a really fine situation, indeed! The luck I had found was pretty crazy!

    The next day, JD, Puncher and I went back up to the Cub to diagnose the problem, to figure out what had failed. We found that there was no compression on number one, so we pulled that jug to find that the wrist pin had broken in two, that the piston had been slapping the head. Things were a mess.
    The wrist pin was broken in its middle , I have since talked with a number of A&E’s who had never heard of a wrist pin failing like that before. 42383 had 1143 ttae so was all standard and original. Now, remember, this was before cell phones and the wide spread use of credit cards, so once I confirmed the availability of the parts, I called my buddy in NC who mailed a check to El Reno for the parts.
    All of this took time, time for the mail, time to process the check and then time to ship the parts. I had become a resident on the mountain with JD and Puncher. These were good times, indeed.
    That time when I was unable to leave, turned out to be precious time for me. I was learning to ‘live’, I was learning that the important things in life were not found in the city. I was becoming a hermit, in the footsteps of my friend JD, I was becoming a hermit and it was feeling mighty good.
    I had always tended toward the fringes and this was suiting me perfectly. I was enjoying the company of my new found friend and I was reveling in the peace and quiet of this mountain retreat. Most guys my age would never want what I had found and they likely would never know what to do with it if they found it. I had little choice in the matter, I was stranded and boy what a stroke of luck it turned out to be.
    17 days after I called my buddy in Jacksonville, NC, the parts arrived from El Reno. JD and I looked them over and I recall we were impressed with how things looked. Included in it were the connecting rod, one rod bearing shell set, a complete jug assembly and all the gaskets. We cleaned all the broken parts and pieces out of the engine and out of the oil sump and put it all together with the stuff from El Reno. When it was all done, I gave the prop a tug and was surprised that it fired on the first pull! It sounded great! We ran it there for about 5 minutes before we shut it down to check for leaks and such. There is something to be said for these simple, sturdy, low compression engines .
    After we had run the engine for a few separate 5 minute runs, I decided to see how well it would do on a takeoff run. On several take off runs I took it to the point of lifting off and pulled the power. I wanted to see how it felt in getting up to speed and it felt fine. About now, the reality of the situation was beginning to soak in. I had fairly well fallen in love with JD and Puncher. I wondered how in hell I would be able to leave them. This crusty ol guy and his dog had pulled me in , they had captured my heart, they were making it difficult for me to leave. They saved my bacon and saying ‘thanks’ just wouldn’t do a good enough job. I owed them everything.
    We decided I would take off at daybreak the next day, while the air was about as good at it could get, so we loaded the Cub that night before. That next morning, as I was getting myself all ready to go, I realized I may have some trouble keeping my emotions in check. When it was time, I told JD and Puncher that I would never forget them and the kindness they has shown me and that I would return. The reality was that I lived 1800 miles away and that the chances of me returning were slim. He knew this, he knew when we said our goodbyes we would not see one another again. He had the experience to know while I did not.
    I gave the prop a tug and it fired right up. After I warmed it a bit and did my run up, I moved to the very edge of the clearing, gathering speed as I turned back toward the other end and the channel in the trees. I was off and before long, I was committed. There was no turning back now.
    42383 was running well on this cool morning and I cleared the deck and drove out through the trees without getting killed! I was on my way once again. I circled around the area there a few times to say good bye before pointing us northwest again. Next stop was Whiteriver airport for some fuel.
    After riding the pattern at Whiteriver long enough to see no other planes in the air, I landed for fuel. The guy running the fuel truck asked if this was the J-3 that landed on the mountain top with a broken engine. He had been there with an uncle who had something to do with the fire service and was impressed that any plane could go in there and get out again. I told him it was bigger than it looked.
    I busted up out of Whiteriver and headed for Snowflake to see Bobby. We had some catching up to do. When he was in the Marine Corp and stationed in Jacksonville NC, we flew stuff together and palled around, too.
    I had taken him on his first Ercoupe ride, a ride he said was like flying a little fighter---he really dug on the sliding windows. Now I was going to have to try to find his place which he said was between Taylor and Snowflake. - More to follow.
    Last edited by SJ; 01-05-2015 at 07:00 PM. Reason: fix formatting

  2. #2
    SteveE's Avatar
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    Great story Shorty,,, I would suggest you not start a new thread when you start a new chapter. Keep them all in one thread so others can find them easily. Maybe a moderator can fix this for you..

    Also, it might be easier to read if you put paragraphs in there. The way it is, you read across the line and when your eyes scan back to the start of the next sentence you are not sure you are on the right line or not. These are just suggestions at cleaning up composition,,, other than that the story is great!

    Steve

  3. #3
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    You have a great knack for telling a story!

  4. #4
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    Love the story but the no paragraph composition looks like a text message from my 15 year old. Hard for my old eyes to follow.

  5. #5
    12Geezer2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    Great story Shorty,,, I would suggest you not start a new thread when you start a new chapter. Keep them all in one thread so others can find them easily. Maybe a moderator can fix this for you..

    Also, it might be easier to read if you put paragraphs in there. The way it is, you read across the line and when your eyes scan back to the start of the next sentence you are not sure you are on the right line or not. These are just suggestions at cleaning up composition,,, other than that the story is great!

    Steve
    Have to agree with SteveE here. Perhaps it is a "geezer" thing but I didn't realize Eaton was getting THAT old---HA !----GREAT STORY keep it rolling !!!

  6. #6

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    KEEP Going.. and remember all good story tellers have an editor
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  7. #7
    SteveE's Avatar
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    I just noticed when I pull it up on my phone with Tapatalk, all the paragraphs are there and its easy to read.....??????? SJ might want to spain it.....

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    my lap top is giving me fits. after only a couple of words, it jumps to another line with whatever i am trying to type----it has been a battle. i certainly agree that the lack of paragraphs hurts things. the configuration of the words, the lack of paragraphs did not look like this before i put it onto the site------? i am going to the computer store today.

  9. #9
    gdafoe's Avatar
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    Yes, it reads very nicely in TapaTalk. The original may have been done in Tapatalk. You notice all the formatting markings in the above version did not work in this version of vBulletin Which makes it very difficult to read. So it appears to me that Shory did what we asked but in the wrong program. I think you can write in Microsoft Word and copy it over here and the formatting works correctly.

    Now there is an example of a similar problem. I got in a similar mess just copying a couple words and inserting them into a post as it brought all the formatting with it and goofed up the formatting of the post. So I ended up deleting it all to get rid of the messed up formatting.
    Last edited by gdafoe; 01-05-2015 at 10:42 AM.
    Gerald

  10. #10
    SJ's Avatar
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    Folks, there are lots of little tools for formatting help, including the "paste as plain text" button (third from the left). This will remove the formatting that messes things up!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  11. #11
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    More !!!!! (thanks for the great story)

    Jim W

  12. #12

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    we learned that my lap top was going crazy which had been making things really tough. now that this is fixed, things ought to work well. i have many stories to tell and i enjoy telling them when others enjoy hearing how they go. your inputs are appreciated!!

  13. #13
    brown bear's Avatar
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    Shorty
    Great story , lap top and all !
    Doug

  14. #14
    SJ's Avatar
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    Shorty, I finally had time to read this all the way through. What a great story, and moreover, what a great life experience!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  15. #15
    Curtis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shorty View Post
    my lap top is giving me fits. after only a couple of words, it jumps to another line with whatever i am trying to type----it has been a battle. i certainly agree that the lack of paragraphs hurts things. the configuration of the words, the lack of paragraphs did not look like this before i put it onto the site------? i am going to the computer store today.
    i've noticed similar issues when typing with my iPad on this forum here recently.

  16. #16
    Tim's Avatar
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    Great story

    Posted Using the Free SuperCub.Org Android App!

  17. #17
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Another very entertaining story!
    I have read 2 stories, the one to NM & this one (segment 3). Did I miss one along the way?

  18. #18

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    great medicine for one without a plane for the moment.............

  19. #19
    SteveE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    Another very entertaining story!
    I have read 2 stories, the one to NM & this one (segment 3). Did I miss one along the way?
    Just as I predicted, threads lost in the shuffle.... Darrel,, there is a segment 2 on another thread... wish the moderators could put them together on one thread.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    Just as I predicted, threads lost in the shuffle.... Darrel,, there is a segment 2 on another thread... wish the moderators could put them together on one thread.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  21. #21
    SJ's Avatar
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    I am working on it. Everybody just relax. Shorty will have his own little area.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  22. #22
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Shorty, write the book!

  23. #23
    phdigger123's Avatar
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    Next chapter! Please!

  24. #24

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    Thanks to all. I am away on travels just now, but will post next segment as soon as possible.
    Shorty

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