Posts Tagged ‘Oshkosh’

Headed to Airventure? See the GAMA/Build a Plane Glasairs

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


Many of you are on your way to AirVenture 2013, and many more of you are planning to head to Oshkosh in just a few days.

Dan Lutgen (left), Julia Garner (center) and a Glasair employee work on a wing.

Dan Lutgen (left), Julia Garner (center) and a Glasair employee work on a wing.

I hope there’s time in your schedule to stop by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association/Build a Plane tent and see for yourself the Glasair Sportsmans (Sportsmen?) that were built by eight teenagers last month. (I blogged the build and you’ll see a complete feature article in the October 2012 issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.)

The teens themselves will be at AirVenture—look for a group of kids in matching T-shirts.

The GAMA/BAP exhibit is 299,  which, according to the map in the Sporty’s app, is right next to Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Hangar A.

See you at AirVenture!

EAA confirms Jetman negotiations

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Slow flight for Grand Canyon cameras.

Slow flight for Grand Canyon cameras.

EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski has confirmed that talks have taken place to have Yves Rossy, the Swiss pilot who flies with a wing on his back and a prayer in his brain, perform during EAA AirVenture 2013. His only flight controls are, like Superman, his body and a throttle for his jet engines. By adjusting his legs and moving his arms, he can perform a loop when and where he likes. He has flown in formation with a Douglas DC-3.

Landing at the Grand Canyon

Landing at the Grand Canyon

There are still details to complete, including an agreement with Rossy’s main sponsor, Breitling. “I am optimistic,” said Knapinski. Known as Jetman, the airline pilot uses four JetCat P200 jet engines intended for model airplanes. In this country, JetCat distributors grit their teeth and hope no one will attempt to copy Rossy’s carefully engineered flights. The engines are intended to power model airplanes, not humans. In Germany, where JetCat is headquartered, the company is an enthusiastic sponsor.

Rossy has flown down the Grand Canyon after the FAA classified him as an airplane. As this is written, he is preparing to perform at air shows in New Zealand. He has enough kerosene mixed with five percent turbine oil to fly 10 minutes. He averages 107 knots but has gone faster. When it is all over, he pops his Parachutes de France Spectra 230–another fine sponsor–and steers to a target on the ground. If he needs to dump the wing, it has its own automatic parachute, but usually he lands with the 66-pound wing still attached. The wing’s takeoff wing weight, accounting for the mixture of fuel and oil, is 121 pounds.

Rossy aims for his Grand Canyon target

Rossy aims for his Grand Canyon target

An FAA official in Milwaukee said Rossy’s act must still be approved for an AirVenture appearance. Previous approval by the FAA for Rossy to fly the Grand Canyon has no bearing on the AirVenture decision, the official said. However, starting the flight at a high altitude and ending with a pinpoint parachute landing are generally reassuring factors to FAA officials.

China came to learn from Oshkosh, not buy it

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

China’s participation in EAA AirVenture this year was largely under-reported. They rented one of the $40,000 chalets on the flight line where they briefed American officials and reporters on what their country is doing to improve general aviation and other infrastructure. I made a visit, although I could not attend the briefing, and found a nice group of people eager to learn and to explain their culture. Serving as guide to Chinese officials was Francis Chao, managing director and publisher of China Civil Aviation Report who also operates a “virtual office” in California that informs American businesses about China. Both of his efforts are located in Pittsburg, California (which explains the spelling of the city name). Chao seems to get it–he understands both the American and China perspectives, and was a great supporter of the China visit to Oshkosh. Chinese officials at first wondered why they needed to go to Oshkosh when so many U.S. aviation companies are already traveling to China to seek new markets and joint ventures. Chao felt that Chinese officials needed to see Oshkosh where new, old, and future aerospace are all in one place–and in perspective. Many Americans

China Chalet at EAA AirVenture

are concerned that China is buying every American airplane company in sight, but as airshow star Michael Goulian pointed out to me minutes after I left the China chalet, general aviation needs Chinese money to survive.

Working on her birthday at AirVenture front gate

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Sharon’s birthday party at AirVenture main gate

Son Stacy with model of Dad’s airplane

The DeSotel family of Luana, Iowa, has made EAA AirVenture a family vacation since 1970–make that a working vacation. They are all EAA volunteers, with Dad Wayne and Mom Sharon working outside at the main gate when the lines get long, and son Stacy issuing credentials to the media. Stacy keeps a model of the family plane with him that was carved by his Dad. Wayne DeSotel not only carved the model, he built the plane, a Piel Emeraude (think French CAP 10 and you’ll have the same airplane, only this one’s not aerobatic). Sharon had a crafts shop she shared with her husband while he built it, but was little encouragement. “I’ll never ride in that thing, and you’ll never finish it,” she said. She is happily wrong on both counts. “I just love the view. People who fly in small aircraft get to see how beautiful this country is.” It was her birthday when this photo was taken and she celebrated with a candle in a muffin the day before AirVenture 2012 began.

Catching up with…Matt Pipkin

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Chet and Matt (right) Pipkin at AirVenture with Commit 65's airplane.

Back in December, Matt Pipkin’s Commit 65 project–an endurance flight in which he and his dad will seek to remain aloft 65 days nonstop–was just starting to gather steam. Matt had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish and he knew he had a lot of work ahead of him.

I’ve kept tabs on Matt and Commit 65 via Twitter, and yesterday I got to meet him in person here at AirVenture. Thanks to the generosity of EAA, Commit 65 scored a booth in the Innovation Center. And they didn’t come empty-handed.

Some months ago, Commit 65 procured an essential component of the flight: an airplane. The Pipkins removed the wings from the 1958 Cessna 172 and trailered it to Oshkosh. The trip wasn’t without its issues. Rough roads in Wyoming jolted the trailer so much that a mount snapped. Attempting to reattach the wings, something slipped and a flap was damaged. But Matt wasn’t fazed. (Not too much, anyway.) After all, he told me, the airplane needs an engine overhaul, avionics, and a new prop anyway. What’s a couple more dings and dents here and there?

As the campaign builds momentum–and it has gained quite a bit, Matt said, thanks to national press and fundraisers in Boise–he’s continuing to work toward raising public awareness of childhood sexual abuse by incorporating other “out-of-the-box” ideas. One of these is a multi-college campaign in which students at 65 colleges around the nation would participate in an endurance challenge (Matt’s thinking paddle ball played while standing on a chair). The challenge would culminate with a 65-second “moment of noise” (as opposed to moment of silence), because Matt’s hope in raising awareness is to convince victims of sexual abuse to “speak their silence” and free themselves of guilt and pain. Now that’s what I call out of the box.

Airplane becomes a scooter

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

This year’s hot ticket discovery at Oshkosh may be the airplane that converts into a scooter. You can place an order for one. I call it a scooter-plane, but the manufacturer prefers the name Plane Driven PD-1. Follow its progress on Twitter. Or, you can read comments on a blog about it here.

If you are going to EAA AirVenture, go to the new EAA Homebuilders Hangar at 8:15 a.m. Monday morning, July 26, and you’ll see it.

There is an extra 80 hp engine between the wheels, and the wheels are larger for use on the road. Due to center of gravity issues, the wheels need to be slide back to the tail on rails. The wings are then folded and you hop back into the pilot’s seat and drive away, using a steerable nosewheel. Be careful when parking, because one ding means a trip back to an authorized aircraft mechanic.

As this was written, the scooter-plane was at 9,000 feet on its way to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2010. Is this cool or what?

An ode to Ardy and Ed’s, kinda

Friday, July 31st, 2009

I blog today in praise of the ice cream and hamburger joint in Oshkosh known as Ardy and Ed’s. It is to the body’s circulatory system what concrete is to the builder, yet it is an essential risk. A root beer float shoveled between the lips near Lake Winnebago is the same as cabernet savignon sipped in Napa Valley. I take pills to fight what Ardy and Ed serve, and yet I return again and again. Drivers passing by get high cholesterol just from breathing the air, even when speeding. Fry my burger in a river of grease, Ardy. Pour me a bucket of root beer, Ed. Roto-Rooter will clear my veins.

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE (Photo by Alton K. Marsh)