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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Al Dowalter – the Voice of the Everglades

As Everglades Airpark is what the FAA calls an ‘uncontrolled field’, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is no control over flight activities. At Everglades if you are flying in on a weekend and enter the pattern at 1000 feet AGL, flying a left hand pattern for Runway 33 or a right hand pattern for Runway 15 while calling on CTAF 123.075, you will most likely hear back from Al Dowalter (Big Al to some), our man on the air who provides whatever information you may request to make your best approach for landing at our outpost. Once on the ground, he will direct you for fueling and parking instructions – occasionally with a bit of subtle emphasis if needed - and will offer any suggestions for your movement operations. Inside the terminal building Al can rent out a bicycle or two, phone a restaurant or other business for passenger pick up, or just chat with you about the Everglades City environs and it’s unique cast of characters. Al has been in, around, and experienced hundreds of aviation operations over the years, from his own J3 Piper Cub back on the farm to the latest and greatest Cirrus SR22’s - one of which went through our fence some time back - but you can ask Al about that, plus be regaled with dozens of other tales from the 10,000 islands wilderness. Try to set aside a weekend to visit and spend some time with our Voice of the Everglades.