THE ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FEST--Norm Saves The Day!
Story as told by Norm Lincoln: On Thursday, Oct 6th, toward the end of the morning, a SCAT developed major engine trouble approximately 3 miles upriver from the beach. Bill Taylor in his SCAT and I in the Weber went to assist. When we arrived at the sand bar it was determined that Andy's SCAT was not repairable on the river and must be transported out, and Bill's SCAT died and would not restart. We were now faced with the problem of 2 down craft and the only way to get them out was to walk them 1 1/2 miles to the nearest take-out point. To add to the problems, the weather was turning with increased wind and it started to sprinkle.
These pictures were taken by Andy Chappa, the owner of the Yellow SCAT.
Bill looked at me and said "I know this is a crazy idea, but why don't we load Andy's craft on the Weber and walk it out." My reply was why not--it beats the other alternative, which was dragging it down river across all the sand bars.
We loaded the SCAT crosswise in the passenger compartment padding the side walls of the Weber with the "Saddles" from the SCATs. We then increased the lift and started walking the crafts downriver with one person in front pulling and the other two walking along each side to steady the Weber and keep it on cushion. This worked well and we got Andy's craft to the take-out point. We then lifted the SCAT up a 4 foot embankment to get it clear of the river.
We then went to get Andy's truck and trailer, Andy went for food and I took coffee back to Bill, who was feverishly trying to get his craft to start. NO LUCK!!
We loaded Bill's craft onto the Weber in the same manner, but were able to balance it better on the Weber by hanging a full can of gas off of the nose of the SCAT. When we started to walk it out, Bill turned to me and said "It wants to FLY. " Bill then climbed onto the SCAT, and laid across it on his stomach so that he could reach the Weber handlebars. He then flew the Weber to the beach 3 miles down river.
We started the recovery at 11AM, and had all craft safely on the trailers by 5 PM. The only damage to the Weber was some surface scratches on the sides above where the padding covered.
As with all good cruises, they must come to an end...
I asked Norm how the SC4 got a Band-Aid across its nose, and he said...
"I think that pride was hurt more than the SC4. Carla was returning to the beach, and with 100 yards of shore she decided to park in the same spot that our SCAT II was parked. To make matters worse, she was the last one back so everyone was watching. Chris Reed of Utah told her that a "Snoopy" Band-Aid would fix almost anything, but with Snoopy unavailable, we settled for a "Looney Tunes" Band-Aid. The craft is now repaired. Norm"
You know, Carla, I have been in the same situation a great number of times, and there is always a crowd around to see me screw up! Never fails...but then there are the good times when I land it perfectly and feel good...job well done! Linda.
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Here's Norm's StarCruiser up close!