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EAA Volunteers Rise to the Occasion.Again

Sun 'n Fun
The Riter's Cessna 170 rests up to it's wheelpants in the soggy sod of the vintage parking area at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. Much drier conditions are expected for the rest of the week.

Sun 'n Fun
The Sun 'n Fun vintage parking area was soaked by a series of storms that left it too soft for parking. Officials were looking forward to drying conditions forecast for the rest of the week.

Sun 'n Fun
(Above and below) A dump truck delivers a load of mulch, which workers raked over the soggy ground at Evektor's display at Sun 'n Fun.

Sun 'n Fun

April 8, 2008 — Challenging. That's the first word that came to mind when I saw the extraordinarily wet field conditions at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In on Monday. Later in the morning, as I spoke with Phil Riter, one of key volunteers in Flightline Safety for the Vintage parking area, he pointed out how the volunteers responsible for parking had adjusted. "We've been given a few rows in the Seaplane parking area to handle arrivals for today," Riter said.

On Monday, much of the regular parking area was filled with standing water making it so soft that only vehicles like ATVs with very high floatation tires could venture into them. Thankfully, the storms that dumped nearly 4 inches of rain on the airport had moved south by early Monday morning, and by the end of the day much of the standing water was gone, helped along by a nice breeze and a bit of sunshine. Tuesday's forecast for temperatures in the mid-80s and a steady breeze will do much to help the drying process, and Riter, who was camping with his wife next to their Cessna 170, looked forward to later in the week when he hoped the ground would firm up so that airplanes could be parked in their regular areas.

Riter and his wife, DeAnn, arrived nearly a week ago to help set up the parking area. As the rain soaked the ground, the main wheels of their 170 began to sink into the sandy soil, to the point the bottoms of the wheel pants were resting in the grass. "I'll have to plank it out," he said.

One thing's for sure - he'll have plenty of volunteer help when that time comes.

- H.G. Frautschy

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