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Alyce and I had an interesting trip to the convention this year in St Ignace., Michigan. We started out in Portland, OR on Saturday morning with an on time departure and flew to Minneapolis St Paul arriving about 5:00 pm with a scheduled 2 hour layover and a 1 hour and 15 minute commuter flight to Sault St. Marie leaving at 7:10 pm. We had dinner and boarded the Delta Connection/Skywest CRJ 200 on time with an on time gate departure. We taxied out onto the tarmac away from the terminal building and sat there for an extended time. Finally, the captain came on the intercom and said he was having trouble getting a "GPS signal". He didn't want to return to the gate as that would involve more paperwork on his part and he had called maintenance for help. They told him we were just 1 of 100 flights held up by a software issue that they were working on. Finally, about 9:30 we were requested to return to the gate. Initially they said we could stay onboard or go into the terminal, our choice. Then they decided to unload everyone. Once in the terminal I had a chance to talk with the pilot personally and he said he couldn't get a transponder code but had told us it was the GPS signal because few would know what a transponder code would do. Finally, about 11:00 pm they decided they would cancel the flight as the crew was running out of hours of service and they would run a special flight at 7:00 am the next morning. We were to be back at 6:00 am for boarding. Well where did they expect all the canceled flight passengers to stay for the night. Here it is after 11:00 pm no hotel rooms available, no rental cars available, their answer was they would bring out blankets and pillows so we could sleep on the floor of the terminal. A CRJ 200 has very little overhead room for carry on luggage so the gate checked bags and terminal checked bags were still onboard. One poor gal had a small child whose diapers and personal belonging were still on board. The young captain took pity on her and did go out to the plane opened the baggage hole and retrieved her bag. The rest of us had to do without. Alyce used her "teacher voice" about sleeping on the floor so they took us aside and very quietly issued us a hotel room voucher for the Inner Continental Hotel on the premises which turned out to be a short walk away. We were lucky to get a nice room for the night and the hotel did come up with a couple small emergency travel bags with toiletries for the night. With about 4 hours of sleep we had to go through a special TSA security gate just for hotel guests and back to our plane gate at 6:00 am. When someone from the airline finally showed up at the gate about 7:00, they said the flight was postponed until 12:30. The food venders hadn't shown up for work yet so the airline brought out airplane snack food plus bottled water and a few fruit drinks. No vouchers for breakfast or lunch. I finally realized correctly that the company plans were to put the same crew back on the flight, which is what happened. The crew showed up about 12:30 and the flight attendant told me they didn't get to bed until 3:00 in the morning but they got the plane ready to go. I asked the captain if they fixed the problem and he said "no the FAA issued a nation wide waiver to fly". What the problem turned out to be was the planes had been updated with Collins ADS-B transponders and because every 2.5 years the government adds 1 second to the national clocks, Collins hadn't allowed for the change in their software. That meant the satellites weren't in the right place for the transponders to recognize where they should be according to the clock. We just happened to be in an unlucky spot at an unlucky time. Remember if you have ADS-B equipment installed you are not allowed to turn it off, you are not allowed to fly in Class B airspace, in this case, and you are not allowed to fly above 10'000 feet. That is why we couldn't fly Saturday night. With the waiver on Sunday we were able to depart for Sault St. Marie. So our 2 hour layover in KMSP turned into a 20 hour layover.

Once we got to Sault St Marie, we picked up our bags and our rental car and drove the 35 minutes to St Ignace and everything started coming together.

The Sunday night pizza party was held in the brand new Breaker Resort Club that didn't have an occupancy permit yet but they made our pizzas and had beer on tap along with some wine and spirits.

The Monday opening breakfast was held at the Driftwood Inn and we almost overwhelmed the place but it worked out.

Monday afternoon was the Voting member's luncheon back in the Breaker Resort Club. At the meeting I presented the financial report for the fiscal year ended and we are in good shape financially. We did have one board of director change and that was Larry Woodfin. He decided since he has sold his plane he would not seek reelection. So the 2 board members elected for another three-year term are Bruce Herrington and Greg Young and newly elected again is John Yohey. Throughout John's long time tenure with the Society he has been on and off the board a number of times. Then at the following Board of Directors' meeting the existing officers were reelected, that is Rick Mills, Secretary, Rusty Herrington, Vice President and I will be President again. The officers are only elected for a 1 year term whereas the Director are 3 years terms so every year we elect 3 board members.

One other item, the voting members voted to have next year's convention in the Black Hills at Spearfish, S. Dakota if possible. I just got word from Rusty that that looks like a go for June 21 to 27, 2020.

Tuesday morning saw good weather and Rusty was ready with a speed race. Once completed, the weather looked so good it was decided to run the efficiency race after a short lunch break the same day. A number of nonrace people took advantage of the nice weather and flew out to Mackinac Island or took the ferry over to the island.

Flying the efficiency race on Tuesday turned out to be a good decision because Wednesday was not good flying weather but we did make our evening boat cruise and dinner. It was a little chilly but everyone had a good time sailing on Lake Huron and under the Mackinac Straits bridge.

Thursday morning saw more iffy weather but by afternoon we tried to run the Proficiency race and told everyone that if they were uncomfortable to not fly or return. We did have 3 planes complete the course.

On Friday morning the weather was good again so the people that wanted to fly the proficiency race could do so but those that ran the race the previous day weren't allowed a retry. It did change some placings.

May you always have blue skies & tail winds,

Gary


 

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