“How’d you get that airplane in here?”
If we heard that question once, we heard it a hundred times this past weekend at the Festival of the Arts on Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick, Md. This annual two-day festival is spread up and down a three-block stretch that is bisected by a creek. More than 100 arts and crafts vendors spread out their colorful wares on either side of the creek, and thousands of people amble through. But this was the first time that they’d seen an airplane here.
Folding the wings and transporting the Fun to Fly Remos was a two-day affair. On Friday evening, we worked with Remos demo pilot Luke Stouffer to fold back the wings and secure them in a special brace that holds the wing tips stationary. (Two brackets are installed at the strut attach point and the wing root, also to keep the wings from moving around in transport.) Bright and early on Saturday morning we loaded the airplane onto a roll-off truck and secured it with many, many straps. We then drove the two miles to downtown Frederick. Early birds out for a morning stroll stopped to stare the sight of an airplane on a truck rolling into town. That’s something you don’t see every day, either.
Reverse the process: airplane off truck, and pushed to its spot right alongside Carroll Creek. Wing unfolding commenced, the airplane was chocked and secured with some railroad ties–no place on the concrete to secure a tiedown–and the Remos was ready to meet the public.
And did she create a sensation? Yes she did. Several people told us they had never been this close to an airplane. Everyone wanted to climb inside, even those who commented, “It’s so small!” We had plenty of learn to fly materials and coupons for discounted introductory rides at local flight schools to pass out, and we weren’t stingy.
Thunderstorms threatened the area on Sunday afternoon, and we were forced to pack up the airplane and get her back to KFDK sooner than we’d planned. Still, we were glad to get a chance to share the fun of flying with the general public, many of who just don’t get exposed to GA very much. And folding the wings was good practice for November, because we’ll be doing it again in Long Beach, California. That’s when the airplane goes on display at AOPA Summit and the Fun to Fly Sweepstake winner is announced. And like they say, practice makes perfect…