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Published: August 3rd 2012
My day started with donuts in the camp and then my usual walk out to the flightline to put my chair in place. The weather looked a bit bad, and it started raining just before I was set to walk out, but it cleared quickly, and I could continue. I stood on the observation platform for about an hour waiting for a C-5 Galaxy to come in, which never did. In the waiting I saw some Mustangs fly out, numerous civilian aircraft, and just enjoyed the atmosphere around me.
I decided that I would go to the EAA Museum today. The museum is part of the airport complex, but it still required a tram and a bus to get me there.
I was really impressed by the scale of the museum, especially for such a small place like Oshkosh. The museum was airconditioned, and the entrance was free with my Airventure Ticket.
The displays inside were numerous, and included a replica of the Wright Flyer, SpaceShip One and the Spirit of St. Louis. I hope to see the originals of the last two if I make it to Washington DC.
The most awesome, mind-blowing experience in the museum was the combat flight simulator. The simulator allowed me to fly a P-51 in a combat scenario. I had to get into a seat, and the lid of the container was closed over my head. I had to buckle myself in tightly, as this simulator allows you to go inverted, and perform all maneuvers that a real aircraft will. It was a really amazing experience. I spent most of my time inverted, just to feel the blood rush to my head.
After I had walked through the museum, I walked out onto Pioneer Airfield to have a look at the GoodYear Blimp. The engine technician was a good guide and explained some interesting things about the Blimp. Apparently the structure to which it was moored can hold the airship in winds up to 80 knots. The command structure, I cant remember what its called, has a single wheel underneath with a large shock absorber. All the while talking to the technician, the blimp was moving left and right, bouncing on the ground. There was an arc approximately 90 degrees imprinted on the grass where the wheel had moved about. The technician also told me stories of how when the wind shifts direction by 180 degrees, the airship will often stand straight up on its nose, and then fall over on its back. This is normal, and the blimp rolls to one side and rights itself again.I then went back to the main airport. I decided lunch was in order and I sat and had a burger under the wings of the DC-3 Duggy. This was generally what everyone did. There were people all around sitting under the numerous parked aircraft catching a nap, eating, or just finding rest from the sun.
The high humidity and heat of the day brought a heavy cloudburst along with some vicious winds. I took shelter in one of the many display hangars and waited the weather out. I heard later that the wind had flipped a WWI replica floatplane onto the canopy of a replica P-51. The pilot was not amused.
In the gap between the first cloudburst, and the next, I was walking between hangars C and D when I spotted an old man with a red cap. I recognised him as one of the Tuskeegee Airman. I went up to him along with some other people. I took a photo with him, after which he pulled myself and lady closer and told us the following, his eyes welling up with tears, "Fight for the honour of all men, irrespective; don't hate." His name was James Harvey.
It was once again time for the afternoon airshow, and despite the threat of the weather, I headed to my seat. I had a plastic raincoat with which to cover my rain soaked chair, and possibly myself should I need it. Thankfully, the weather cleared to show a crisp, clean blue sky.
The displays this afternoon were a bit more original, starting with a beautiful formation of 3 L-39s led by an F-86 Sabre; a sight to remember. Kyle Franklin was next with his drunken aviator routine in a J-3. Two A-10 Thunderbolt II's then flew in and joined the F-18 away from human reach.
The other mentionable aircraft that flew were the RedTails P-51C and a T-33 Shooting Star.
The airshow was then formally closed for the day; but it was not over.
The arrivals and departures of the next hour made for the best show of the week. The Fedex Airbus A300F that had been displayed statically took to the air in less than 2000 ft, and then a massive C-5 Galaxy circled a few times and did an extremely short landing for such a large aircraft. As the C-5 was taxiing to a stop, the Canadian Skyhawks C-130J arrived and taxiied to the far end of the runway. The C-130 was followed by an American Airlines 737 carrying Veterans who had been to Washington DC for the day. To top it all off the Boeing B-29 FiFi arrived to be put displayed the next day.
Once all the activity had settled, I focussed my attentionon how they were going to tow the C-5 to its position opin the display area. The nose wheel of the aircraft was almost concealed in the fuselage, so I had no idea of how it would be moved. The towing process started with the nose of the C-5 opening and spitting out its own towbar. The next thing the entire aircraft started to rise off the ground; all of the wheels were connected to the fuselage with massive leadscrews. These screws jacked the aircraft up and revealed the nose wheel. From there on, the towing process was standard.
Upon arrival at the campsite, the food was ready; freshly caught Salmon from Alaska and Chicken Strips. The salmon was really good.
We stood around after supper and sang Sweet Caroline with Gary Zimbabwe, and we danced to Kaptein. Remember, this is the USA; crazy.
Now its bed time for me again.
On a quick note, I must apologise for the spelling and grammar of some of these blog entries. Its late, and I just need to get my thoughts down. I will correct everything when I get time again.
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