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[December 13, 2014]


Every year there is gathering of pilots and their airplanes to run holy down to Tangier Island. Tangier Island is located off the eastern shore of Virginia in the southern Chesapeake bay. Here is a brief history of the Holy Run.




Fourty-five years ago, a local pilots named Ed Nabb realized a need on the island for evergreens to decorate for Christmas. He loaded up the family Ercoupe with boughs of holly and flew them to the islanders. The tradition grew annually as other pilots joined what became know as the "Holly Run" and was passed along to his son, Ed Nabb Jr., upon Ed Nabb senior's passing.

Beginning in 1975 a progression of Santa Clauses joined the run, the most famous of whom was Jim Schultz. For those of us who knew Jim, Jim was Santa Claus, no doubt about it. Jim spent the year saving his meager income as an Ocean City cab driver to buy gifts for the children on the island. His arrival of Santa Claus was anticipated by young and old alike until his passing shortly after the Holly Run of 2012.

Today, 45 years later (the year that the runway was being repaved the run was skipped), the Holly Run is often composed over 100 attendees with registration being halted at 50 aircraft, the maximum that will fit on Tangier Island. Ed Nabb Jr. still joins us as an honored guest, but Chesapeake Sport Pilot Flight School organizes the run out of their Stevensville, MD facility (W29), offering an enjoyable breakfast with Santa and other pilots during the morning staging


The weather for the day was on the soupy side. Visibility never really got better than 5 miles.


Out of the 45 total airplanes, 7 of them were RV's! We decided to do a formation flight of 6 RV's down to Tangier. The formation didn't last all that long, as some passengers weren't into the whole formation thing. I decided to break off also.


Even though the weather was not optimal, we still had great view of the Chesapeake bay and all of the rivers off of it.


In addition to bringing holy to the island, the local school requested we bring some school supplies. They can't exactly easily run out to office depot!


I got a real kick out of the mounting base of the Coke machine.


After a fantastic crab cake lunch, it was time to head out. This has got to be the biggest day for aviation on the island of the year.


Even though my RV is unpainted, I still get a lot of compliments on it. Just think of the praise I am sure to receive when the gear leg gets primed!


Heading back we crossed nearby the Bay Bridge, which crosses a 4.3 mile span of water. As you can see, it was tough to see the far shoreline.

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Last Modified: September 4, 2017