On the fourth Saturday of every month, a group of Mooney pilots gathers at the Prop Stop Deli on the airport at Rome, Georgia, for an hour or so of the usual pilot stuff - mostly swapping lies and looking for the Step. Larry Ford has been organizing these for about three years now, so you could say he's started a Mooney institution.

Sometimes there's a short program after lunch. For instance, last March we converged on Glacier Girl in Middlesboro, Ky. But that's another story.

In November 2003, the speaker was Mike Knobler, who last summer flew an unmodified M20J to continental Europe and back. Mike's presentation was interesting and educational enough to attract 20 Mooneys full. A CAVU day in Rome didn't hurt, either.

An early arrival taxis in.

Here are some of the Mooneys, parked.

Mike Knobler's plane was conspicuously absent.

Honorary Mooney.

The Prop Stop's chef took care of all of us except Mike, who is absent here too. He had a problem with the starter on his plane, so Ken Shoup went to pick him up at Fulton County.

Mike finally got there, and treated us to the story of his two North Atlantic crossings, how he prepared for them, and what he saw and did en route. Although there was a large screen, he used his laptop to preserve the intimate character of the meeting room.