Big Bend Real Estate Guide November 2022 | Page 10

Continued from page 6 .

There was a pool and common area that made the atmosphere hospitable . That evening the three pilots gathered with our entire group and recounted the excitement about stories of Marfa ’ s preeminent place in soaring history . Would we find these stories to be true ?
My mom , brother , and I served as my dad ’ s crew . We assembled the sailplane by rolling the fuselage off the trailer and carrying the wings into position for attachment to said fuselage , thus creating an intact aircraft . On a daily basis , all flight surfaces were checked , controls checked , oxygen cylinder and mask checked , parachute checked , lunch and water loaded . This was done with all three sailplanes . Each pilot would climb into his cockpit , the aircraft was hooked one at a time to the towline , launched , released , and then silently soared to thermal air lifting from the hot ground below .
Our first full day at MAAF had fantastic flight conditions . Towering cumulus clouds displayed proof of powerful air masses at work . Daytime heat rose in rotating columns of super-heated thermal air currents from the desert floor to heights of 40- to 50- thousand feet . Thermal activity was often observed as prolific dust devils through the shimmering heat mirages in the distance . These orbiting columns of rising air were exactly the thing that brought
the sailplane pilots to MAAF . Marfa displayed its amazing qualities of premier air for soaring . The flyers ’ days consisted of goal and return flights to places called Mt . Livermore , Chinati Peak , Cathedral Mountain , Emory Peak and more . These aviators were experiencing the truth about Marfa ’ s profound air !
While the pilots flew off for a full day of soaring , those of us left at MAAF were on leisure time . The adults , my mom included , tended to relax over iced tea and a book in the shadiest and breeziest spot possible in a corner of the hangar . Lunch consisted of freshly made sandwiches and ice cold Coca-Cola from a big ice chest . This leisure time meant exploration time for my brother and me .
The MAAF had been a large military operation at the height of the war . Clearly visible were numerous empty foundations where structures of all types were hastily built for the war effort in the 1940s .
The airfield was impressively large with three 7,500 foot-long runways and miles of connecting taxiways .
The large ramp area could accommodate many dozens of aircraft . The highlight was the main hangar , which still stood proudly . Amazingly , two abandoned AT-17 aircraft were parked inside . The hangar had office and storage spaces along both sides of the structure . Within many of the storage rooms were boxes of
10 Big Bend Real Estate Guide • November 2022