Pilots hold over at Huntington airport: prepare for fly-in
Two adventurous cross country aviators, Wendy Lessig and Victoria Bond, landed their Piper Cub airplanes at the Huntington Airport on Sept. 8. The women were flying to Salt Lake City and Tooele where they reside. The rain clouds were so thick over the mountains they did not dare an attempt to fly over those mountains Sunday.
Bond and Lessig were returning from Marble, Colo. where they had been camping for the weekend enjoying the scenery and learning about that portion of Colorado along with several other pilots. They had been attending the Back Country Pilots Association Fly-In event at Marble, Colo. Marble, Colo. has a small grass airstrip at an elevation of about 8,000 ft. in a beautiful mountain valley. Marble, Colo. is notorious for making the best marble outside of Italy. Marble from Marble, Colo. was used in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There were 32 airplanes at the Marble Colorado event. The pilots and passengers explored the surrounding area and visited with local people to learn some of the history. Part of their adventure was the hike to a waterfall in the mountains. On one of the evenings while in Marble, Colo. the group enjoyed a barbecue and fun night.
Bond has been flying for 13 years and owns her Piper Super Cub airplane. She trained to become a pilot at Sky Park Bountiful near Bountiful. Her first flying lessons took place in a Cessna 152, a small plane with a nose wheel. When Bond got her license she purchased her own airplane and decided she wanted to participate in Back Country Flying. Because as she said, "Back Country Flying is full of adventure, excitement and you meet new people. You get to do wonderful things. You meet local people in small towns. When you land you usually can go fly fish or go hiking." Bond said she has learned how to fly fish because many of the airstrips are near rivers and streams where cars cannot get. Those streams are filled with hungry fish.
Wendy Lessig has flown since 1985. She started flying in California and onto Texas before coming to Utah. Her airplane is a Piper Super Cub Cruiser painted white with a red stripe down the middle. She bought her plane in 2005 and she flies it all over the country. She goes camping, fishing and hiking. She has flown to 25 states. Her airplane has taken her as far as North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Montana, Idaho and Oregon to name a few states visited. She has flown more than 25,000 miles in her Cub. Lessig's plane has large over-sized tires for landing on grass or dirt airstrips with a smaller tail wheel, which leaves the propeller high so it won't pick up rocks on landing and take off. The plane is designed for the backcountry flying. Lessig's plane is more powerful than Bond's and it is wider which allows for more carrying capacity.
Bond's Piper Super Cub is painted red over white with a maroon stripe in the middle. Victoria's plane is smaller with a 150-horse power engine and weighs 1,100 pounds.
Both women said they enjoy flying the Piper Super Cubs because the planes can fly low and slow while the pilot enjoys the scenery from above. The planes can land many places where there is only a strip of bare level ground without obstructions. They related stories about several adventures and exciting places where they have flown to and camped.
The pair first met at the Johnson Creek Idaho Fly-In. Wendy thinks that she and Victoria are the only two women flying Super Cub type airplanes in the state of Utah.
Victoria and Wendy were happy to enjoy the Huntington Airport lounge and especially the shower after spending days camping out in a tent and sleeping bag. They also used the Huntington airport courtesy car to go to a local restaurant for meals.
Flying together, as they do, provides a bit of security in the case of plane trouble. Both women perform airplane maintenance and are capable of repairing several things on their planes in an emergency.
Wendy Lessig works at the Tooele Army Depot, where the government destroys chemical weapons. Victoria's husband is a commercial jet pilot and flies private jets for various companies.
When asked about the cost flying a plane these days. Wendy said, "You can't put a price upon something that you have a passion for."
Victoria said, "I love flying because of the adventure. There are so many beautiful things that you can see. You can work really hard during the week and then fly over beautiful Utah and relax in some of the great outdoor places that Utah and the west is famous for."
Monday at daybreak Wendy and Victoria flew from Huntington up over the mountains to Salt Lake after spending the night sleeping on the couches in the Huntington Airport Lounge.
Emery County will be hosting the Back Country Flyers at the Huntington Airport Sept. 27-29. There will also be an Antique Car Show, sponsored by Wards 4X4, at the airport during this event on Saturday at 1 p.m.. Wendy Lessig has been to the Fly In at Huntington in the past. They both expect to be back for this years Fly In at Huntington Airport.