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Airventure Cup Race / Oshkosh Diary - Day 1

Date: July 25, 2003

Vacation week!

Since the Airventure Cup was running time trials on Saturday, my plan involved flying down from Fitchburg, MA (FIT) to Suffolk, VA (SFQ) on Friday. I went out to the airport around 10 AM and re-mounted the wheel pants after painting them with the first two coats of finish paint. I was SUPPOSED to meet up with Ed Masterson in his V.E. at Salisbury, MD (SBY) to fly the last part of the flight together down to SFQ - he was going to leave Lawrence, MA (LWM) about 45 minutes ahead of me so that we'd reach SBY at the same time.

I took off from FIT and climbed up to 8500 ft. to head southeast and clear the NY class B. I flew directly over JFK, and then headed down the New Jersey shoreline. When I reached Cape May on the southern end of NJ, I tried hailing Ed on 122.75, and when I finally got a hold of him we figured out that he was a good 90 miles behind me! I had whizzed past him right around NYC - he had left 10 minutes late; I had left 10 minutes early and he went slow and I went fast :-).

I slowed down to about 100 mph to let Ed catch up, but we decided that was stupid, as he'd catch me just about when we got to SFQ. So after about 10 minutes of loafing along, I sped up again. There were some high clouds building that I had to snake through a bit over Maryland, but they were beautiful. Coming down after passing over Newport News, VA, I hit the haze layer at about 4000 ft and it got ugly and hot - visibility only around 6 miles. I landed at SFQ after a 481 statute mile trip that took 2.6 hours, including the loafing and a bit of winding around clouds and restricted airspace. Average ground speed, 185 mph (statute) with a 7 - 10 mph headwind. After landing, I parked at Wayne Hicks' hanger and spent the next couple of hours under the hood, changing the oil, moving ballast and dealing with a few squawks.

First, I noticed that one of the primer lines had come loose from the manifold on top of the engine, so I examined it for damage, found none and reattached it. Second, one of the many beer/soda drinking kibitzers standing around and examining the plane noticed that one of the rocker cover screws had disappeared. We fished around with a magnetic wand for a while and found it under the angled baffle in the bottom cowl. I put it back in and torqued it down hard -). Third, the vertical baffle on the left rear of the engine had cracked, so I fabricated a small plate and pop riveted it in place to support the cracked area. Three for three (or four for four, including the oil and filter change).

There were a stack of canard flyers at SFQ staging for the Airventure Cup Race. Steve Volovsek, Wayne's hanger-mate, and Steve's fiance' Traci Greene hosted a GREAT dinner that night for about 20 people. It was a lot of fun - tons of food and drink. Wayne let Kevin Funk, Kevin's son Chris and me stay at his house overnight, protecting us from being slobbered to death by his dogs.


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