Saturday, July 23, 2005

Oshkosh - Trial Run

In preparation for the journey to AirVenture 2005 on Wednesday, I met up with an RV-6A owner based at Madison Co. He's been up there a few times and is experienced with flying in and out. Since there are thousands of planes flying in, there are special procedures established for arrival. Amongst them is the requirement to fly for an extended period at 90 knots, following the airplane in front of you. We went up north to a little town called Mechanicsburg and practiced having me follow him around the town at 90 knots and 2000'. I didn't anticipate having any problems with that, and none arose. I'm sure it will be a lot more hectic up near Oshkosh, but at least controlling the plane won't be a distraction.

After doing that for 10 - 15 minutes, he was heading up to Put-in-Bay and asked if I'd like to follow him up there. I figured I might as well - I had full tanks, it's only 35 - 40 minutes flying time in the RV, and the weather was July superb. Very few clouds, low-ish humidity, and light winds - really just about the best you can ask for. I knew it would be crowded up there since this was the day they celebrate "Xmas in July," but I again thought this would be good practice.

We flew up there at 7,500' where the air was relatively cool and very smooth. We had a bit of a headwind, so I was only able to wring 150 knots out of 466PG in cruise. Get that: only 150 knots. Ha! That would have been 90 - 95 in the Tampico!

It was, in fact, quite the party atmosphere on the island. The other guy had a folding bike in the back of his RV, but I had to walk down to the ferry to rent one. It was worth it, though, just to be able to see some of the quieter parts of the island. We rode around on the south end for awhile, then headed downtown to have a bite to eat.

Downtown was reminiscent of a frat party, but the partiers were mostly on boats in the bay. The bars were hopping, as were the touristy shops. We had lunch at a seafood place near the docks. I had a small cup of excellent lobster bisque, not wanting to eat too heavily on a hot day when I knew I was going to have to fly again. That's a recipe for getting sick in the plane, and that is definitely something to be avoided. That's a shame, because that was the best lobster bisque I've ever had, and the Maryland crab cakes looked phenominal as well. Maybe I'll go back sometime in the fall when it's not so hot, noisy, and crowded.

Xmas party in July. I like the dress code much better than the normal December Xmas!

Best bisque ever!

While getting the (very hot!) plane ready for departure, I spent some time talking to the folks that had stopped to take pictures of 'Papa.' As I was talking to them, a group of partiers drove by on a golf cart. They gave me the 'thumbs up' on the plane, and I heard one of the say to another, "Dude! That thing is f**king AWESOME!" I got a real kick out of that! The Tampico always stood out on the ramp, even when surrounded by far more expensive planes. Well, so does 'Papa.' I was parked right next to the other guy's RV-6A, a plane that he could easily sell for 50% more than what I paid for mine, but no one even glanced at it. The paint job and the rakish look of a taildragger really attact attention!

These guys were selling rides. I asked them how business was going. Their reply, "It's up on the air right now." Ugh.

The flight home was at 6,500', and with a little tailwind I was cruising at 160 knots. During the descent back into MadCo (I needed to refill the tanks so as to be ready early Wednesday morning) I was getting 180 knots. Man!

So, a very enjoyable flight and excellent preparation for the trip to Oshkosh.

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