Having flown over Lake Lanier 10 years ago in a biplane based in DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, I decided to have lunch in the 57th Fighter Group restaurant next to the airport, where I had taken off that day. Their hamburger still puts fast-food offerings to shame.
I spent time with Mike Van Wie, assistant director of the airport. We had a lengthy conversation. Being a golfer, Mike was envious when I told him I had played the Augusta National four times in the 1970s. I was fortunate to have known Bryce Newman, who was a member.
I met Jean Bradbury who has a thriving business called Bird Bath, which cleans incoming aircraft. She is a talker. Of course, running into Pat Epps is almost a certainty when visiting the airport. He is a landmark. He has been there 45 years. Epps is one of a group of airplane enthusiasts who recovered one of the P-38 fighter planes lost in 1942 on a Greenland ice cap.
We talked about the growth of the airport. However, no one is immune to Washington’s mishandling of the economy.
Operations (takeoffs and landings) dropped from 221,000 in 2007 to 151,000 in 2009. That’s a severe economic battering.
Bill York of Stone Mountain is a novelist, freelance writer and retired furrier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org