Monday, July 28, 2008

Oshkosh Diary - Day 3

The slideshow
I transferred some more wealth to the estate of Sam Walton today and bought a power cable which allows the audio cable to work out of my Marantz hard disk recorder. Bottom line? I've been able to add audio to the RV slideshow. Meet four really fabulous people. Now, you may not be able to see this especially if you use Firefox. If not, please go here. You should be able to view it there regardless of what browser you're using. I hope you enjoy it. Please note: It WILL take a long time for the audio to load. So be patient.

Last night's dinner

The WiFi in the campground crashed last night (too many people? Maybe) so I couldn't post an update.

Here's the "trio" from Trio Avionics. We had a very nice dinner down at Wendt's on Lake Winnebago.

Even if I had decided not to come over for the week, I'd have driven over for the evening to spend some time with Sid Tolchin, Chuck Busch, and Jerry Hansen. They're what makes Oshkosh Oshkosh.

Some famous aviators stopped by the table while we were there. Mark Scheuer of PS Engineering (I profiled his product years ago in the Hotline) stopped when he saw the Trio Avionics shirt that Sid was wearing.

And the people from Grove Aircraft stopped over to say "hello" to the guys. Their headquarters is next to Trio's in the San Diego metro.

Later in the evening, Paul Trotter stopped by for a visit. He and two friends drove straight through from the Westchester County area. Paul was one of the forces behind the RV BBQ and we discussed bringing it back next year.

Here's the thing: It takes up-front money and I don't have it. So if there is a sense that we should return the BBQ next year, I'll need some help on the initial round of donations.

But there's more to it than that. The BBQ started as my -- and a few other folks -- desire to be around friends who shared a passion. As it grew, it became great fun, but we also started to lose the friendship part. Without getting too specific, there were a few folks who came to the BBQ and ate the food and drank the beer and then over the winter posted on the RV Yahoogroup that I was out of line for objecting to my treatment in Kitplanes at the hands of another writer "because he had a great Web site and it would be a shame if he got mad and took it down."

I have to figure out how to tell those people to stay home. I haven't figured that out yet. Shoot, I didn't want to go off on that old wound...

Happy happy hour

I struggled about whether to come to Oshkosh this year, as you may know, and I'm glad I did. Some old acquaintances have been stopping by, and some new ones, too. Fine people, all.

Ben Beard of the great state of Wisconsin, by way of Texas, dropped over. He's a 6A builder and pilot. He gets together over in Eau Claire for pancakes with some of the Minnesota Wing of Van's Air Force. It was great to meet him and have a chat.

And old friend Bob Kelly of Indiana then stopped by so the three of us had happy hour, accompanied by the next-door camp, led by Steve R. Bob is an RV-9A builder and pilot. Last year at Oshkosh he gave me a DVD he made of building his airplane, which has served to provide occasional inspiration for my project, which -- I've joked this week -- will be on display in the vintage aircraft section here at Oshkosh some year.

And Doug Reeves of Van's Air Force stopped me as I was wandering aimlessly around the grounds. It's always good to see Doug and thank him for the good work he does. His big news? He's got termites. Always fear the call from home!

On the air
If you'd like to listen to the Oshkosh tower live, go here.

What's hot?

So what's hot at Oshkosh this year. Hard to say because the show technically doesn't open for 45 minutes. A lot of folks go streaming for the Van's tent but I generally ignore it. I've got my project. Supposedly they're going to announce the RV-12 fuselage is now available (See their Web site).

But it's amazing how many people are talking about this demonstration coming up later this week with a guy marketing a jetpack. Allegedly it uses gasoline and can last up to 20-30 minutes, plenty of time for my commute to work. We were chatting last night about how the FAA would license such a thing. Is it an ultralight? Is it a light-sport aircraft. If I take off from my backyard, would that violate Woodbury, Minnesota's ban on airports?

Forum on wiring
I attended the "aircraft wiring for smart people" forum this morning. That's the first forum I've attended this year and one more than I attended in 2007, and 2006. Greg Richter (above) of Blue Mountain Avionics was the presenter. I've written an article for RV Builder's Hotline which you can find here.


A quick trip to the SteinAir booth this morning netted a picture of a couple of smart electrical engineer types attempting to smile.

For you non-aviation Minnesota types who are following along, Jed and Stein are based in Farmington. At least one of 'em, I believe, is a former Northwest employee. Stein made his money in the radio business like everyone else and then, subsequently not needing to work for a living, decided to build instrument panels for homebuilders.

At least one of those statements is not true.
More as it happens.

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