Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW!

What a day.
We woke up to a grey overcast and a threat of rain.
After the morning ritual we headed off to try to get a ride in the ford trimotor. With the low base nothing much was happening so we split up. Darryn and Geoff went down to the flight line and I went for another look through the hangars to get some replacement strobes for my aeroplane.

In the afternoon we met back up down on the flight line to watch the airshow. The clouds were burning off and conditions soon became perfect for an outstanding airshow with incredibly polished acts and some exotic machinery that we will never see in our neck of the woods.

After the show we met up at Harvey for a beer and a yarn. Lots of fun.
Just on dark we went down to the flight line again to watch the night show. It's impossible to explain. Suffice to say it was the most amazing spectacle I have ever and will ever likely see again. First a jet powered glider then an Ag Cat doing night aerobatics with huge pyrotechnic trails off each wing and dropping fireworks. Just totally totally brilliant. Awe inspiring.

Followed by a fantastic ground based firework display viewed over the top of two DC3s in full period paint schemes. It could easily have been a celebration in the 50's. It ended with a massive explosion and a sheet of flame about 3 - 400 meters long and100' high. Bloody fantastic.
It's going to be hard to go to sleep any time soon to go into the final day.

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Lt Dan

Spent an hour or so last night in the theater in the woods listening to the Lt Dan band. Lt Dan, if you can remember was a handicapped war veteran in the Movie Forest Gump. Played by Gary Sinese, he also leads the band playing bass guitar. It's a kind of show band I guess. They play at various military camps largely overseas.
It was a pleasant night before starting to get a bit cold.
Had a reasonable night sleep. Woke up to grey overcast with rain threatening and forecast. We'll see what it brings. Derwood was out just after 6am taking photos.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Maaaaarrrrrrmmmmm. My feet hurt!

Started out much better today. Both Derwood and I had a good sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for the massive undertaking.

The plan of attack was to start out outside and around mid day when the sun is way up. Move inside to the shops.
So off we went.
We slowly worked our way over to the couple of Falcos that were here and ran into a couple of guys to talk to.

After a few plesantarys we headed off to cover a couple of the hangars for some shopping, or at least, looking. There is just soooo much stuff. A homebuilders heaven really. I feel for Derwood a bit since looking at a bag of clecos for a non builder has got to be a tad boring.
After a few hours of that we had a bite to eat. (yuk) and went back to the Falco park for a bit.

We ran into Dan, a Falco owner from Switzerland who uses my forum a bit and during a brief chat with him the show started. With some military kit that I will never see anywhere else I imagine.. Over some loud explosions a chap came up to me and introduced himself as Alfred Scott. Funny how he spotted me in the flight line out of all those people.. I was close to the Falcos but so was a few hundred others. He says he thinks I look like Bill Clinton. He took me over to meet Susan Arruda and gave me a free tee shirt. Susan started to give Alfred a nudge to leave since they were leaving today so with that Darryn and I headed back to the hangars. I saw a few things I wanted to buy but by the time I got back to them the hangars were closing for the night. Oh well. Whatever. There is always tomorrow although the plan is for it to be more of an airshow day for us tomorrow. There has been a steady build in the number and type of aircraft arriving so I think with tomorrow being the weekend it has to be a great display. F15's, F18's an F16. C5, T38, Osprey, A10, KC135, F86, etc etc etc etc.. It's going to be a great day. There was a tiny bit of rain today but hopefully it will come right tomorrow and my feet will be happy again ready for another hiding!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mega - phew!

Well after a very short night ( about 4 hours sleep for me and 1 for Derwood we woke up earlyish (WI time) and headed off to pick up Harvey the RV. A quick orientation and we set sail for Oshkosh. I took the first sector and in about an hour and a half we were pulling in to Camp Scholler at Oshkosh. We arrived at a very quiet time which was great and it didn't take to long to find a site, Since our RV is small by comparison of some of these mobile cities we managed to find a site with power since a lot of powered sites had be left as being too wet. Ours is actually quite dry. Just lucky I guess. Camp scholler is huge. It's like Levin but all camper vans. You stand outside and there are campers in all directions.

Not to much of a break and we were off to investigate this place show called Airventure 2010. After about an hour the only thing I really felt was completely out to sea. The place is so damn huge and there is just so much.. well.... stuff that is was clear that our first half day was basically just a very brief introduction to the basic layout. Even by 6PM I can honestly say that we didn't even really get that sussed.

I was supposed to go to the Falco builders dinner but I had been having a few issues with my phone (let's not go there) and we didn't really have good transport so I had to flag it which was a bit of a bummer. In fact we had only got a small glimpse of one Falco all day so day one was a flop like that. I will miss the Falco guys this year.

Right now we are sitting in Harvey the baby RV having a beer trying to come to terms with the enormity of it all. Hopefully when we wake up tomorrow we will have it more under control in our heads and go and make some more enjoyable progress.

I'm going to sleep well that's for sure.

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Sunburnt Ginga

So yesterday Derwood got sunburnt. That's great now the git is redder than ever.
What a day.
We got up reasonably early any jumped on a bus back to Santa Monica. After feed and a short look around we went back to the bus stop. The first bus was route 3. Being a total idiot I said "we don't need that rubbish, we'll get a rapid 3. That misses more stops. No sooner had the door shut that I remembered there was no mid day R3 service. So we sat for 30 mins waiting for the next slow route 3 bus. Idiot! Fortunately we had heaps of time.
Back to the hotel. Pick up bags then out for another route 3 bus. We had to run to that one but we just made it.
At the airport the que was about 6 days long. There was no way around it so we just had to wait. After that there was security then we could enjoy the pleasures of LAX. All in all one of the worlds most unpleasant airport experiences.
When you check in for a southwest flight you get a que number. This puts you in the starters gate. When the gun goes off you go find whatever seat you can from your position. Luckily I had decided earlier that morning to check in using my iPhone so we didn't have to sit with the bags. In actual fact we did quite well and I must say I was pleasantly surprised with Southwest. We came prepared with movies on our ipads and some food. Soutwest provided a very comfortable seat with excellent legroom. A lot more than our own domestic offering. A very comfortable flight in fact.
The flight had us go via Vegas with a 1 hour odd turn around.
On the break Derwood went up and spoke with the pilots. I was going to go myself but as I was about to I noticed some of the remaining Pax rifling through the other seat pockets so I decided to look after our gear instead so unfortunately never really got a chance to chat. Never mind. Derwood said they were great guys. The skipper even gave us 3 vouchers each for food or drink so that was very nice of him.
One thing we found most amusing was that for a long time on the turn the skipper stood at the door and chatted with his crew. Smiling and laughing. All their staff seemed to have a really great attitude to their work and it certainly appeared that they enjoyed it.
On arrival at Milwaukee we jumped in a shuttle to the hotel. In the shuttle we chatted with another captain who had paxed up from Texas to start work the next morning. A nice chap.
Back at the hotel, now 1am it was time for sleep.
Quite a big day really but everyone has been super nice and apart from LAX which is nothing more than nasty it was quite an enjoyable day I thought.

Note to self. Check in early at LAX for any domestic flight.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Apple pilgrimage

Well having two Apple nerds so close to Steve Jobs' local Apple store we had to make the trip in to see it and buy a bit more paraphernalia.

Last night we had been for a walk down to Venice beach and quite frankly I was a bit disappointed. Mind you 15 degrees didn't help.

So this morning we took a cab up to Santa Monica. As we got closer the scenery went from crappy to nice. I started feeling better about being in L.A. A place I've never really enjoyed. $25 later we were on 3rd street Promenade. We stood outside the Apple store briefly then went and got some coffee and breakfast. While eating our eggs and drinking a passable latte we had the local busker playing "the Brady Bunch" on his trumpet. The waiter joked that with the entertainment we needed a ticket to leave!

Back to the apple store. Check email and first round of buying.

Next was a general shop around the promenade. Nice.

Then a quick walk down to the pier for a look.

Once we'd had a few more laps of the promenade and offloaded some more $$ into Mr Jobs' bank account we jumped on a bus driven by a very polite driver (NOT) and went back to the hotel. 0.75c !
Just a tad cheaper.

Notice no smart are comments about idiot bloody Gingas in this post either!

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The Ginga Probably Got Sunburnt Today........

Great day at Santa Monica although the ginger probably enjoyed a tad too much sun.

George's bionic eye seemed a bit itchy.......

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Derwood the restriction!

I've always thought this true but the business class host confirmed it when she stated while talking to Derwood that "YOU are the restriction"
Of course this was in answer as to why the chair wouldn't fold him up into the bed while he was sitting on it!
Classic! Bloody domies.

What a tosser!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The First Ginga Chronicle

24 hours until we meet at the airport! I can't wait to leave this cold weather behind, that's for sure!

Travelling with a Ginga will be a life changing experience for George. Generally those who have done so come home and want to be one! Problem is, it"ll clash with his yellow plane.... So he will be a frustrated Ginga, the worst kind!

Vicki tells me his snoring is worst after coffee or alcohol, so he will be looking forward to a soy latte and a Steinie Pure on his return. I do have a cure for his snoring although I think the rest of the camp will be woken when he finally dozes off and his head lands on the horn. Best I remember to do his seatbelt up!

I also managed a quick fly with the family yesterday -was a great day and a pity GR didn't make it to Raglan. I suspect I will see enough of him in the next week or so..

Let's go!!

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So.... How?

When I first decided I would visit OSH, or more correctly, Airventure one day I was amazed at how many different possibilities there are as how to experience it. It is complicated by it's success to a large degree. I mean any smallish place will struggle to support an influx of approximately one million visitors over the course of a week. This obviously puts strain on the local infrastructure and means that simple things like finding accommodation becomes a bit of a sprint race. Many hotels and motels have standing reservations which makes it all seem a bit impossible to the newbie.
Accommodation comes in many options from Hotel to Motel, from university halls of residence to camping on the airfield. All with their own level of complexities and unknowns for the newbie. From the beginning I changed my mind every year and still never really decided on the likely outcome. Just as well I never actually went!
Since this was going to be 'the year' we had to come up with something that seemed doable. After much discussion with many people we finally decided to hire a camper van or more correctly an RV in Americanspeak. With the RV we would camp on the airfield at camp Scholler. This, we believe will give us a reasonable level of accommodation while enjoying the atmosphere on the field amongst the other aviation buffs.
Still many questions remain, just how good is the shower block? Will I have to see parts of a Ginga that could scar me for life?
Is driving the thing going to be hard? What about shopping and groceries? Will we want to go off field? If so, how?
These are just a couple of the questions we have. Follow us along and see how we get on.. Hopefully we will add info to help others in other years.
We launch in 2 days so strap on a computer (an iPad if you have any sense) and join the Skycouch Potatoes as we visit the airshow of all light aircraft air shows.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Final Fix

With only two days to go and enjoying a stunning winter's day I had to take advantage of a final light aeroplane flying fix prior to our Trip. Darryn was taking the family to Raglan in the 172 so I popped up to Parakai to go for a fly. I didn't quite get to Raglan since I got caught up taking people for rides but it was a heap of fun

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Just can't wait!

Having spent 10 years building a Falco and never making the pilgrimage to Oshkosh, this trip has been a long time coming. I've tried before only to mess up my leave bids. This year Stelio Frati (Falco designer) passed away and the Falco turned 55. It had to be now.
Somehow I convinced Darryn to put up with my snoring and we managed to dump the girls in favor or a boys trip.
The trip is on! 3 more sleeps.

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Location:Home at Auckland