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My Time Machine
By Phillip Ibrahim
Katama Airport, refueling N66VJ when Ava 2 years old decided she wanted to unclip and explore the static wire.

I am waiting for my 3rd airplane, I bought it on Barnstormers. It is almost June 1st and I just found out it will not arrive until August. Each great day I look outside at the sunny blue sky and I have to settle for a drive, usually involving traffic. It is then that I realize how blessed my family and I have been. Flying is a privilege and we are so lucky that God gives us the opportunity. I share my joy and I hope that many others will follow our relative freedom to the skies.

My first plane was a 1985 Maule M5 180. My second was a 1967 Beech Super Musketeer 200hp. My third will be a 1996 Maule MXT7 180 tricycle gear. I wanted to share my experience picking up the 3rd plane as my first story. Today, I wait for the plane to get deregistered from overseas. I have been thinking about all the great times I have enjoyed in my last 2 planes.

When I fly, my perspective on time changes. Normally I carry 2 phones and receive 100 calls in addition to texts and emails per day. When I go flying and scuba diving, I usually get some peace. I sometimes forget how much fun an afternoon off can be when I have a sky bound time machine to go exploring with. The two trips below are special, so here goes, flying down memory lane.

I live in Norfolk, Massachusetts, just southwest of Boston. If you want to go have some fun, you can drive an hour and a half down to Woods Hole, then take a 45 minute ferry to Martha's Vineyard, where you can jump on a bus or taxi for a quick dip in the ocean... Total time two and a half hours each way. It is terrific, unless you know the secret. I can usually make that trip to Katama in under 30 minutes from wheels up. I enjoy the process as well as the destination. You can imagine reducing a 5-hour round trip to about an hour + preflight. That is how my time machine works.

Bella 6, Josh 8, Rebecca 6, buckled into N66VJ getting ready to depart OWD for Katama on Martha's Vineyard

I have more than a few Martha's Vineyard trips under my belt. Here are the two I want to share today:

One day my wife, and my friend Paul's wife, were away separately on business. Between us we had 4 kids, ages 2, 6, 6, and 8. Josh is the boy at 8. The rest are Ava, Isabella, and Rebecca. It was a steamy Monday night and about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I called Paul and asked him if he was up for a trip to the Vineyard. He gave me an enthusiastic “that is a great bad idea” in his British accent. We loaded up the plane, 3 across the back in the single seatbelt configuration and the 2 year old strapped onto Paul's lap in the right seat. We took off and by 6:15 pm the kids were swimming on South Beach in Martha's. It was super memorable especially because from liftoff, Ava screamed like a banshee the whole way. I can imagine what flight following was thinking with every transmission. That night I was flying light, so before we headed back, I grabbed 15 gallons at Katama's self-serve pump, and during that refueling on the high wing Ava wandered over and grabbed the static wire off of the front wheel. Paul decided to shoot a picture instead of reprimanding her. It is such a cute memory. He made it into a post card with the plane juxtaposed on the grass and a cute blond baby holding a wire. We loaded the kids and lifted off at about 8:00 pm, and by 8:50 I was sitting on the couch watching TV. I just could not get the grin off my face. Definition of: Time machine: making memories that could not have happened otherwise.

Paul, Phillip, Ava, Bella, Joshua, Rebecca, all on South Beach, Martha's Vineyard adjacent to Katama Airfield
Left To Right: Nizar, Anton, Mark, me, George, Rami, Fady, Joe at Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard. The cliffs behind us are Moshup Beach

Another trip that truly was amazing! We decided to have my newly minted cousin's bachelor party on the Vineyard. We got an old beat up van and loaded all the gear for the 5 day trip and sent the scouting crew of two on ahead. As you can imagine everyone has a schedule and some could only come for shorter jaunts. I volunteered to shuttle each of the groups over in the Super Musketeer. It has a 1050 lb useful load. I ended up making either 4 or 6 trips over and back in total. The efficiency of 30 minutes each way really made it possible for some guys who could only join us for 24 or 36 hours. I will share some great pictures of us on the island, but the video was most interesting. When I left on Thursday morning, I had to sit at Katama around 8AM, for a bit, watching the sky. I kept talking to people who had just been up for more info. I am a VFR pilot and I am careful not to get into gethereitis. It is not unusual for the area between Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard to get a scud layer of clouds at 1000 to 1500 feet, just above the island and near the inner part on the elbow of the Cape. It is also not unusual for the areas of water on either side to be moderately cloudy or even clear. The timing and local knowledge is very helpful to time the departure and destination carefully. I also carry enough fuel to keep going for a while in case I need to go inland to land. On this day it was truly a classic example of low lying fog above Martha's Vineyard that would surely burn off and the sky was clear above it. I waited for a cloud break above the airport and I jumped in and roared off to the South over the beach where I climbed through a good size hole. I kept climbing into clear blue skies before making my 180 to go north. You can see my views above the clouds in the picture below. It is really clear in the video if you extrapolate an hour before hand what it would have looked like on my departure. The video which was shot on my way back with passengers was about an hour after I had left.

Departing through the cloud hole above Katama, climbing out over the Atlantic Ocean to get above the clouds.
Flying above the clouds over the ocean, Nantucket Sound, to get to OWD and pick up Rami and Nizar and bring them to Katama.

I had never landed over the bovine/farm approach and it is a largely open field with very little in the way of runway markings. You can see me turning left and right on approach looking for the “runway” to line up my landing. I made a few more trips and by the end the plane was finding the cowside runway on its own. We had a great time that weekend and by the time I was back at OWD, I think 6 trips had ensued. I think of it as saving 12 hours at 6x2. My time machine hard at work again.

This video link shows our return on a day with spotty clouds as we poke around looking for the “Bovine” runway at Katama... might be Runway 24

I have lots more to share and the pictures to prove it. I have flown to Teterboro, Oshkosh, and the SFRA. I own Imotobank. We sell cars online. One day this past summer I had drivers going to Connecticut and they needed a ride home. I flew Norwood to Hopedale, Hopedale to New Haven, New Haven to Hopedale, Hopedale to MVY, then MVY to Norwood. I was able to work all morning, have some fun in the afternoon and make it back for dinner. My time machine made my otherwise hard day easy. Can't wait until we get number 3... we named it Ruby since it is a red Maule. The Beech was named Spinney. The first one was just N66VJ John Garabedian's old plane... Thanks, John... and Thanks to BD Maule and his amazing family. Today Brent is managing the Maule team and they are terrific. God Bless them, the last family-owned manufacturers of certificated aircraft. You make amazing time machines that more people should experience.

Ava age 2 chillin out under N66VJ as we get ready to depart Katama in Martha's Vineyard.
Phillip Ibrahim
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