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Bits and Pieces

Oshkosh 2013 - What Else?

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh countdown clock has been reset for the 2014 countdown. How was your Oshkosh experience? Did you make it? Did you have to stay home and surf the webcams and news sites?

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to ride in an A36 Bonanza. Having been unable to leave due to weather on Sunday, we left Bromont for London on Monday and then had to break for weather en route. There were some ominous clouds off our right wing as we came through the Kingston area, but since we had clear skies off our left wing and had a good weather briefing, we kept on going.

By the time we passed Toronto, the sun was shining, but the forecast persuaded us to stay overnight with our fourth member, J. Davis.

Sunshine on Queen's Park

We arrived in Green Bay around midday on Tuesday, in plenty of time to get to the Theater in the Woods event featuring Chris Hadfield and three other astronauts. You can read the separate report, but I have to say it was the highlight of my week. The lowlight might have been having to wait for the start of the movie at the fly-in theater until after the Wednesday night air show and fireworks display was over. It was very chilly when the movie finished at 12:30, but you know how that works. You want to see how it ends.

Riding in a six-seat aircraft with retractable gear is definitely on the luxury end of the scale for most of us. In fact it was the best of both worlds because we didn't have security checks, gates to sit at, major hubs to shuffle around, or enormous parking lots to hike through. Customs in Green Bay took all of two minutes, and the officer was charming. His first comment was "So you finally made it" which was a reference to our canceled plans from the day before. A quick peek at our passports, a sniff around the aircraft with some sort of handheld device, and we were on our way to Exec Air to rent the car.

The weather was problematic on the return flight, too, but Mother Nature smiled on the whole event while we were in Oshkosh. My friend Jay and I met up with a fascinating group of individuals who have been meeting at Oshkosh for 27 years. They call themselves the Oshkosh Irregulars. They are a witty group who pass most of their time poking fun at each other. After a few days, it became addictive. I look forward to seeing them all again next year, and you can read my separate article on the Irregulars in this newsletter.

EAA changed the date of the membership annual general meeting from Saturday to Wednesday. It seems to have been a smart move because there were many more people in attendance than in previous years.

Pilots N Paws is recruiting again. It has expanded to over 100 pilots willing to sacrifice that $100 hamburger for the pleasure of taking a dog to its new home. In particular, Pilots N Paws is interested in finding pilots willing to fly north to bring animals south to the more densely populated cities. This seems to be a general trend across Canada, so if you typically fly left and right on the map, maybe it's time to start investigating some of the northern limits of where you can fly to.

Almost every province needs pilots willing to fly north-south trips, and you may actually learn some new routes while you take Fido to his new home. Most of these transports are to take dogs at risk of being euthanized to new homes where they are wanted.

If you sign up, you will be informed of any need in your area, but the choice of whether to accept a particular request and the flight plan are always your own.

Also available in French

The rebuild of my RV-9A is proceeding quite well. The cutting of the new canopy had to be interrupted for Oshkosh and for this issue of Bits and Pieces. I'll give a thorough update in the September issue, hopefully including shots of a nicely installed canopy.

I hope you enjoy this month's issue. As always, feel free to send it to your friends or encourage them to subscribe. Check out the EAA webinars this month. One of my personal favourites, Mike Busch, is presenting on the question of whether redundancy is a good thing or whether it can be a trap. On August 14 Joe Gauthier talks about carrying out the annual condition inspection on a homebuilt. By the time you receive this, they will have already happened, but I for one will be checking out their ideas in the webinar archive.


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