The “Just For Fun Poker Run” held on April 14th was a most successful day’s out exploring, for some, new and unfamiliar airstrips in our mid northern area.
24 people in 14 aircraft turned up at Paul Hopper’s Silverdale airstrip, several for their very first visit.
I think my threat to eat all of the scones must have had something to do with it as the huge pile of them, with ample supplies of jam and cream, quickly started to disappear soon after the first aircraft and people startedto arrive.
Ample evidence that Robyn really knows how to make great muffins and scones.
The great turnout was in spite of the heavy rain clouds in the local area which forced Brian Leach to turn
back twice to wait it out at Omaha until it was safe for him to proceed.
(We all thought the weather was going to be better on Sunday. We were wrong)
The first aircraft away was Cliff McChesney in his always beautiful Pulsar with Sally and Ellie (his dog)
on board. After Cliff’s departure there was a steady stream of aircraft taking off and disappearing into the
low clouds and misty rain that was to confront everyone for most of the morning.
We could follow progress on the radio and it became very obvious that no one had clear skies to enjoy.
One aircraft found Makarau to become heavily clagged just as they arrived so they decided to go to Omaha
for their first landing instead They then returned to Makarau for a second attempt at getting in safely.
Peter Karl floated along the strip and eventually managed to get his wheels on the ground but decided a go
around would be the wisest option as the runway appeared to be a bit to short from his perspective owing
to the latter part being hidden by the downward curve ahead. His next attempts were thwarted by
turbulence and he wisely decided to depart for Springhill instead.
When we landed at Springhill we were greeted by Tony Lloyd who had come out to meet us and make
everyone welcome as, apart from Tony, there was not a human in sight and the only other onlookers were
the many sheep grazing in the adjacent paddocks.
I was flying with Sandy and we had opted to be “Tail End Charlie” so we could collect the unused cards
that were left. That of course had us wondering if we would get to Dargaville for lunch before it had all
been eaten by those ahead of us.
The longest leg was now upon us, Springhill to Ruawai, and there was a marked improvement in the weather as we continued our flight to the north west.
We could hear the others as they arrived at Dargaville and again wondered how much food would be left
for us as it was becoming very obvious that we would not arrive until after 1pm.
After what was now becoming a most enjoyable flight we landed at Ruawai to pick up the last of the cards.
Jim Sharp was about to take off on a practice search and rescue mission to locate the missing occupants of
an empty canoe. He kindly held back for Brian Leach and ourselves to take off on the final short leg to
Dargaville where we arrived to discover there was still plenty of lovely roast chicken dinner for everyone.
When the poker hands were played it was to great applause when the winner turned out to be Paul Hopper.
Unfortunately Paul had been unable to participate as a close friend’s father had died and Paul was expected
to attend the funeral, so Sally had picked up the cards on his behalf.
Of course he was totally unaware of all this until I presented the winnings to him when we returned later
that afternoon. He was totally gobsmacked and embarrassed. He is now thinking of putting the money
towards replacing the weather worn windsocks on the airstrip.
Article by Brian Millett, Club Captain Northland Microlight club inc.