Wednesday, August 10, 2011

AirVenture 2011

On our first morning we found that in addition to frequent buses circling the 'North 40', drivers of golf carts and cars would offer open seats to people walking. Rarely, did a vehicle pass that wasn't full. This morning as Jeff and I began walking towards Camper Registration a driver in a VW stopped to ask if we wanted a ride. The driver was Tom Poberezny, Chairman of the AirVenture Fly-in since 1977 and President of the EAA from 1989-2010. Thanks for the ride Tom!

Breakfast that morning was at the Warbird Cafe on the north end of the show and closest to our campsite. As you probably guessed from the name it is adjacent to an area filled with warbirds. Hundreds of them! I counted at least 2 dozen of my favorite, the P-51 Mustang.

On display is "Glacier Girl", a P-38 that made a crash landing on the Greenland ice cap in 1942 where it sat for 50 years while becoming covered with 300 feet of snow and ice. In 1992 it was recovered and then restored to flying condition. There is an interesting read of this aircrafts' final flight, and its recovery half a century later at: Glacier Girl

With over 12,000 aircraft arriving and departing AirVenture this is the busiest airport in the world during this week.

The Taurus G4, Pipistrel's electric powered entry for the CAFE Green Flight Challenge. Rules for the flight: 2 hours duration at 100 mph with a 30 minute reserve. Economy must be the equivalent of at least 200 passenger miles per gallon. One way to double passenger miles per gallon is by doubling the seating to 4!

Hundreds of vendors with parts and expert advise. Here, Jeff is discussing his options concerning the oil leak in his Lambada. This Rotax supplier has a good stock of parts on-hand and can have almost anything here within a couple days.

More interesting, around the corner...

The legendary Bob Hoover spoke to a crowd of over a 1000 in front of "Ole Yeller" the P-51 he performed in during the '90's. Bob answered questions and shared experiences from his early flight school days, interesting flights as a test pilot, and a great story of his escape from a German POW camp in a stolen Focke-Wulf similar to one parked a short distance away.

Focke-Wulf 190

Custom paint and the HP to back up the statement it makes!

I'd never seen this before. Helicopter aerobatics in the "Red Bull" BA105.

A centerpiece in the static display area was a collection of Burt Rutan designs. Thursday was Burt Rutan day and we were treated to both the Boomerang and the Starship taking to the air.

David, Jeff and Warren during show.(right to left)

Jet powered cars or trucks are real crowd pleasers. Lots of smoke and flame, very fast and very loud. In fact they are so fast, it almost doesn't look real. In the act a couple planes compete with stunts to decide who gets to race the car. Then with the jet engine on the car spooling up, the airplane makes its run. As the plane passes the car at over 200 mph the car driver goes to full throttle, releases the brakes and with an air shaking roar the afterburner kicks in. Within a few seconds the car is moving well over 300 mph and passes the plane like it is going backwards. Then add a little pyrotechnics...

The show was stopped briefly as we all were reminded that a go-around, even one in front of a crowd, is the best decision when things don't look quite right on final. The F-16 ran off the end of the runway collapsing the nose gear. Fortunately there were no injuries. Video of this on youtube I have to add that I don't know all the details on this incident and whether equipment malfunction might have caused this.

Mornings and evenings were special times while at Oshkosh. The brief time between the heat and humidity of the day and the mosquitoes at night was wonderful.

We had planned on leaving Wednesday by noon. However the night before we were already watching a line of showers on radar approaching from the west. We knew it would be a small window between when the airport opened at 7:00 and before the front arrived. Upon waking I rolled up my sleeping bag and readied my pack for loading in the plane. Stepping out of the tent I was greeted by the first light of the day illuminating, in brilliant red, a wall of clouds and showers approaching rapidly.

From the looks of the clouds I was convinced that the end of the world was approaching. We made sure everything was as secure as could be, grabbed what we could carry and quickly walked through the fence off airport property and to the Hilton for shelter. As it turned out the storms passed with only moderate rain and no significant wind.

While eating breakfast and waiting on the weather at the Hilton, I noticed that Harrison Ford was there for breakfast as well. I did take a picture of him from a short distance away that came out quite well, however I will not post it as I feel it is an intrusion on his privacy.

When the kids were young I used to joke with them that the Indiana Jones movies were based on my life before settling down. In fact Harrison Ford got that part because he looks so much like me. I would even stand next to the TV so the resemblance could seen.
I don't know why they would laugh.

1 comment:

Kathleen Jacques said...

laugh? why? I see the resemblance!