Monday, July 23, 2007
Oshkosh - Monday July 23
With the RV BBQ requiring a tremendous amount of shopping and set-up -- I usually start in earnest on Tuesday -- Monday was the only day I really will have for the first half of this week to get around and see what's at AirVenture this year. Turns out the most impressive thing is this huge brat grille I found on the back of a trailer truck. I could use that!
For the most part, Oshkosh doesn't change from year to year. What makes it such a fascinating experience -- aside from the social gatherings -- is the range of aviation.
While covering the Cirrus news conference this morning -- they announced a new "light" airplane -- a couple of F-somethings screamed by for 10 or so passes. A little later I saw a couple of flyboys walking around in their Navy -- or was it Air Force -- flight suits. Kids. They're just kids. Not far removed probably, from calling mom and dad late at night to announce they wrecked the car on the way to the malt shop.
This afternoon I was helping Rob Riggen at a forum presentation on using online resources. As usual, I had my spiel prepared on the meaning of community and the habits of online resources and those who use them. Fortunately I was done before turning it back over to Rob, but when I did, the Harrier arrived.
This is the jet that hovers and can land like a helicopter. To do it, it has huge jets that can rotate. And they make lots of noise, a fact that has been known to anger all of the 10 gazillion people here who are trying to sell things to 10 gazillion other people.
And selling they are...
That's one of the big hangars where exhibitors have all set up. Here's the gang from PMag. They've donated a Pmag and harness as a door prize at the BBQ.
And here's Rob Hickman and if you click on the image, you'll see Advanced Flight System's fine product. I want one. Memo to self: buy lottery ticket.
Unfortunately, at the same time as our forum, there was a hands-on forum next door on working with fiberglass. I've put off doing any fiberglass work on the plane, because I really don't know anything about fiberglass work. Oh, and I also hate sanding.
I visited one of the exhibit halls today. One of my favorite things here at Oshkosh -- and remember, I'm a simpleton capable of excitement over cheap thrills -- is the Shell Aerospace posters they give away every year, based on a "cow" theme.
Here's this year's version featuring Amoolia Earhart.
I also ran some BBQ tickets to the folks at P-Mag, and found fellow RV builder John Tierney instructing at a sheet metal workshop.
When I first started coming here -- 1999, I believe -- I took one of these workshops and decided that a sheet metal airplane is for me. You have to give credit to guys like John, who are so willing to share their knowledge. Oshkosh is full of thousands of people like this. As much money as the EAA makes on this place, 99% of it is run by people doing it for nothing.
While filing my ... excuse me I had to pause while a pair of F-18s just did a low-deck flyby... story for MPR on the Cirrus announcement today, I met Corey Emberson of Kitplanes Magazine, who told me about their arrival at Oshkosh on Sunday. Now, keep in mind there are thousands and thousands of planes flying into this airport (this week it's the world's busiest airport). All was well on short final when a Lancair came screaming out of nowhwere went across their nose, circled around under them and cut them off in the line of incoming plane.
The more stories I hear like this, the less I feel compelled to fly my plane (should it ever actually, you know, fly) here. If I were to, however, I'd be sure to have a passenger. I can't imagine doing it by yourself, as my camping partner, Warren Starkebaum, did when arriving on Sunday.
I mentioned the other day that the Goodyear blimp, errrr... airship, arrived last night. Today, Rob Riggen told me he got a chance to sit in the pilot's seat. I think flying an airship would be plenty of fun. I'd probably try to ram a Harrier, though, so I'm best left groundbound.
One other photo. I'm beginning to like the idea of a nice motorcycle to tour the country with. What's more, my wife, Carolie, has also expressed an interest in riding around the country on the motorcycle if she gets her own.
Wrap up two of these, please.