Tuesday, August 12, 2014

July 28th: Good Morning, AirVenture!!

Dave and I woke up to gorgeous weather the next morning. It was the official first day of AirVenture!

Oh darn, we had to walk through Warbirds to get to the rest of the show. I'm going to miss starting my days with a walk through rows of beautiful planes!

We grabbed breakfast at the cafe over in Warbirds again. I had just paid for my food and was waiting for my sandwich when a man came up to the register next to me in full 40's era military gear. He plopped a metal canteen down on the counter and said "One coffee, please." It's the little things like that...Oshkosh is great.   :)

We spent some time in the Homebuilt section, too. I found Judy's plane! She heads up the Ladies Love Taildraggers website; I was featured on there a few years ago, shortly after I got my C120, and I even won a LLT shirt in a photo contest.

Dave with the AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair. They're giving this plane away in a few months...I've already said that if I win it, I'm going to turn my C172 into a club airplane. This one has the newest and best everything and would make a great trip plane!

Republic (or as I know them from work, Brickyard) had one of their Embraers on display in Boeing Plaza. It was kind of funny to see an airliner sitting among so many unusual and experimental planes.

The Air Force had an area off to the side, since the Thunderbirds will be flying in the weekend airshows. A few soldiers were doing drills in one corner; I managed to catch them with their guns in the air.   :)

They also had one of the planes on display, and you could climb up a set of steps to check out the cockpit.

After checking out the Thunderbirds, Dave and I made our way over to the center of Boeing Plaza. HondaJet was presenting their first production plane to the public that morning, and we got to see it! That's the HondaJet CEO at the podium. They make these down in North Carolina; the plane was beautiful, and we even got free HondaJet hats for coming to the presentation. Neat!

We spent some time wandering around Boeing Plaza and managed to find one of the planes I really wanted to see: the MVP! Mark had sent me an article on this the day before; it's like the Swiss Army knife of seaplanes. You can fly it into remote areas, lift the cockpit up out of the way, and fish off the front of the plane. You can also convert the cockpit area into a built-in tent, and it has a hammock between the fuselage and the tail.

Dave and I got to talk to the CEO for a few minutes, and he told us about some of the cool design ideas they're working on (like how they're trying to make it with as much fabric as possible so it'll be easier to repair in the field so you won't have to worry about getting stuck someplace). He also told us about what it was like when he learned to fly in Papua New Guinea...crazy! He was a really cool guy, it was a really neat plane, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this makes its way through design and certification.

A little further down, we found another thing I had really wanted to check out: EAA's One Week Wonder! They had started that morning with a big box full of Zenith CH 750 Cruiser parts, and the goal was to have a completed airplane by the end of the airshow on Sunday afternoon. They were only a few hours in, but had already made some good progress.

Even cooler, they were letting people help build it! I got the chance to play with the Cleco pliers (and impressed the volunteer guy since I already knew how to use them from working in the shop years ago), then got to pull a rivet on a practice board.

After that, I got to pull a few rivets on the actual plane! The volunteers were great, and man...I want one of those rivet guns. Something about pulling rivets was so monotonously satisfying...I think I'm really going to enjoy building a plane.   :)

Dave and I wandered around a bit more, wandered through some of the hangars and bought some stuff, then eventually came across...

...Sean Tucker! He was signing autographs, so there was no way we were going to pass that up. When it was my turn I told him that I remembered when he'd been out at HWY a few years ago to practice for the Andrews Airshow. He immediately started talking about how much he liked HWY and hoped he'd get to come back someday, and even hugged me. He is seriously the nicest guy. 

We wandered back over to the North 40 after a few hours to drop off some of the stuff we'd bought (including the shiny new pitot tube cover I'd bought for the C172) and grab some lunch. There were still more planes arriving and the row of Stearmans had filled in nicely.

After grabbing lunch in the North 40 we walked back out toward the flight line to get good seats for the afternoon airshow. We passed by this Dyke Delta along the way; I'd only seen them in magazines, so it was neat to see one close up,

We got some good seats out on the flightline and waited for the airshow to begin. There was plenty to watch while we waited, including the EAA's Ford Trimotor giving rides. 

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