We went on a photo trip to Monument Valley recently, during which we met Morris. Morris was a Corpsman (medic) with the 22nd Marines for the the invasion of Guam and after they were moved into the 6th Marine Division the invasion of Okinawa, where he lost a leg. He went on to be a successful businessman in the chemical industry and for his upcoming 90th birthday decided to treat himself to a rather strenuous 5 day photography workshop. He was fun company and we had some great discussions with him during the week. I hope I'm half as sharp and active when I reach 90. Hell, even reaching 90 is an accomplishment.
A Schweitzer 300C prepares to leave after paying a visit to the facility.
Drill this weekend was livened up a bit by a visit from this S300 operated by a local flight school. They were passing near the facility on a photo flight when the pilot noticed an unusual vibration and a reduction in engine performance. This is not the sort of thing you want to be troubleshooting in flight and the pilot wisely decided to make a precautionary landing. Nearby Sky Harbor tower pointed out our facility as the nearest safe place to put down, which he did. The pilot and photographer were then introduced to Army paperwork and spent some time talking with Operations, Security and the Phoenix police while waiting for a company mechanic to come out and look at the problem. (No, they weren't in trouble, it's just that the right process has to be followed.) As it turned out they had a fouled spark plug, a not unknown condition with that type of engine. After fresh plugs were installed and the ship tested, they proceeded on their way back to their home airport. While it was a bit of an administrative hassle for them, at least they didn't land at an Air Force base where security rolls out with loaded machine guns when an unexpected civilian aircraft shows up for whatever reason. We enjoyed the visit, and this being the first time this had happened at the facility Operations developed a standard operating procedure to use should it happen again. Good job on the pilot who made the correct decision for the situation.