History, Rose City Soaring Club
By Hartley Falbaum
The Rose City Soaring Club was formed in 1990 in Thomasville, GA through the effort of Irvindale (Irv) Nesmith, Cliff Wilcox, Frank Murphy, and Bill Lardin. They bought a SGS 2-22 , N3941A and a SGS 1-26E, N2520H. Frank Murphy owned a working Pawnee, ready to dust or spray, so a tow hook was added, and off they went!
Cliff was a retired English Professor from FSU in Tallahassee, FL but more important, an old Harris Hill CFIG! He has since passed on, but his memory lives in all of us he trained. He tirelessly gave dual flight in the 2-22 in the hot South Georgia sun, till everyone had two or three dual flights each flying day.
Irv Nesmith is everything in aviation in a small town- A&P, IA , CFI-eveyrthing, Crop Duster, Corporate Pilot for Sunnyland Packing Co. (King Air) and Towpilot. To call him "colorful" would be an understatement. He can distill the most complex concept into utter simplicity and capture the essence. He knows how airplanes work, and can fix whats wrong. He owns a Laister LP-49 in which he did all three legs of the Silver badge in one flight!
Frank had the Pawnee, and he knew how to FLY! A handsome fellow, and quite dashing, he improved the scenery around the Gliderport by attracting nubile young ladies.
Bill Lardin came in shortly after the club formed, but has been the "sparkplug" and "fuel supply"
He is not one to sit idly by while others are running the show, so soon he was "President for Life". In addition, he was one of the few who could use a PC then, so he was Newsletter Editor too. Bill flies a pristine C-210 in addition to his SZD 55-1 glider, and works as an Anesthesiologist in order to support his flying habit.
Jimmy Buffett was the first Vice President of the club. He had a "farm" nearby and flew his Lakes Amphib in from time to time.
Jack Scoggins, DPE and Dauntless dive bomber pilot from Valdosta joined, and in Sept. '91 added a CFIG rating. A slightly gruff exterior hides a really fine guy. His son, Glenn , campaigned a Discus, which Jack would occasionally bring by and amaze us with how easily it assembled, and how well it stayed up. In comparison, assembling a 2-33 was an all day chore. He encouraged us with stories of the Standard Class Nationals at Hobbs, and Warbird stories.
Hartley Falbaum joined in June of 1990, added a glider rating in Oct 1990, Towpilot endorsement (Cessna 182) in Feb 1991and CFIG in Sept '91. Used to "Big Iron" (Navajo Chieftain), Gliders were a whole different world. He spends his spare (non-flying) time as an Orthopedic Surgeon.
When Irv added the CFIG rating in Oct'91, the club really "took off" as midweek flying could be done with the usual "airport bums".
Marshall Black became the 182 Towpilot after the Pawnee crashed on a dusting job. Frank Murphy was not hurt-Pawnees are sturdy. The straight-tail 182 , N 6395A was fitted with dual oil radiators, to stand the summer heat at low airspeeds. Marshall was also the treasurer, having experience in the accounting department of Sunnyland Packing Co.
The 2-22 was destroyed in a thunderstorm, on the ground, in August of 1990, and was replaced by a SGS 2-33 N1173S. What a Joy- 23:1 instead of 18:1(or less) a real Variiometer and a wheelbrake! We had landed the 2-22 on grass, and just pushed forward on the stick-the nose skid makes a great brake on grass.
A Blanik L13- N171DE was added in April of 1991. Flaps, Gear and all were new to us. Since it was our "hot ship" we required a private license or higher to fly it, as well as 10 or more solos in the 1-26. Many years later it met it's end when the hanger roof fell in on it during a rainstorm!
The club continues to fly locally, and Bill Lardin flies cross country in South Georgia. The grass beside the runways is wide and long, and power traffic is not a problem. When the ships are put away at the end of the day, the lock comes off the ice chest and "co-beers" are distributed, a tradition started by member Roy Sellers and CFIG Dwayne Knauff, ex Ridge Soaring instructor.