The second day (Saturday) started off pretty dang grey - it had drizzled
just a TINY bit during the night, and the main part of the storms had
already passed by, but the tail end of the cold front was still straggling
through the area, with 500 - 1000 ft. ceilings and a drop or two every once
in a while.
John, Tim Freeze and I walked down the highway a bit to a greasy spoon for breakfast. It was decent, and cheap, and the only problem was the fact that they allowed smoking there. Ahh, to be back in civilization :-). Anyway, we met up with Graham Shevlin and Dan and Lori Cruger there, and then walked back to the field. Everyone spent the morning wandering aimlessly amongst the (now about 60) canard aircraft, looking at every last detail of everyone's plane and asking lots of questions while taking lots of pictures. I finally got a close look at Bill Kastenholz's COZY MKIV - he's done a wonderful job with it, and it looks great, both inside and out. Of course Steve Wright's Stagger-EZE looked great, and he always had a crowd around it, as did the Supercharged E-Racer that had been on the cover of Sport Aviation (and who's builder's name I can't remember, for the life of me - Jack something, I think). Steve Beert's L.E. was still astounding as well. There were MANY great looking aircraft, with cool features, and the fact that I'm not mentioning them only means that I don't remember the names and all the details, not that there weren't a lot of other cool planes.
Anyway, there was a lot of schmoozing and info trading for the rest of the morning and most of the early afternoon, as the grey skies continued.
A bunch of us drove over to "Minnie's" (a restaurant about a 10 minute drive away from the airport) for a CHEAP lunch. Jerry Schneider decided that driving on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant windows was the most convenient method for getting to the parking lot, but Chrissi and Randi declined to follow him, and chose the conventional entrance.
Around 2 PM, the skies started to get lighter, and some aircraft started arriving - Dennis Oelmann flew in with his COZY, as did Curt Smith. A number of LE's and VE's arrived as well, and as you've heard, there were a record 72 canard aircraft on the field by late Saturday afternoon, as well as 18 COZY's. Here's the list of COZY's that I was able to count - I'm sure this was a record # of COZY's, as well as canards in general, and it was almost as many as was at OSH.
Curt Smith had brought a Montague folding bicycle with him, since at
had expressed an interest in purchasing it from him if it fit easily into
the back of the COZY. Well, "easily" is the operative word here, and we
had a heck of a time both wedging it OUT of the back of his plane (couldn't
do it in it's travel bag) and INTO the back of my plane (again, in the bag
was right out). So, with a heavy heart, I told Curt to take the damn thing
back to St. Louis - I didn't want it :-). Actually, I apologized for
making him drag the thing down to RR, but he was a perfect gentleman about it.
Around 3 PM, the ceiling lifted enough (to about 3K ft. MSL, 2300 ft. AGL) for me to feel comfortable giving some rides in an unfamilar area. I had promised rides to Rick Wright (whom I was going to give a ride to at OSH, but the weather didn't cooperate there), Larry Wimble, and Jenny Schuler (Larry's wife) - all COZY builders. Rick and I loaded up and we did (what for me) is a standard demo flight - climb out, leave the traffic area, and fly around a bit. I let Rick fly the plane to see how easy it is, and then I demonstrated what passes for a stall in a canard :-). We got the nose bob around 70 mph, and then I showed Rick a 30 degree turn with full control while in the "stall". While I've done 60 degree stalled turns, I don't demonstrate those.
After about 20 minutes, we came back in to land, and I loaded up with Larry and demonstrated the same things.
After that, I loaded up with Jenny Schuler. Jenny had never been in a small plane, much less a canard, and although Larry has been building his aircraft for many years, they've never really been sure that Jenny would be interested/willing to fly in it, so this was a "Sh*t or get off the pot" moment for them both. Jennie was a great sport, and although she was a bit apprehensive prior to the flight, and somewhat concerned about claustrophobia, she got in the plane and buckled up with no problems. I told her that I was not going to do anything sudden or extreme, and everything would be kept very gentle - if she had any problems or issues, to let me know immediately and I'd get us back on the ground. We took off and climbed up to about 2500 ft. I throttled back and we cruised around the lake area, just viewing the scenery. I kept all the turns to 20 degrees or less, and turned almost exclusively to the right so that she'd always have a good view of the ground and horizon. Jenny said that it was great - she really liked the view, understood why WE are so psyched about these planes, and felt very comfortable. We flew around for about 15 minutes and then headed back. Even doing a 30 degree 360 on downwind for spacing didn't freak her out, and she seemed happy with the slightly bumpy landing. All in all, a good introductory flight, and confirmation for both Larry and Jenny that they should continue building!
I shut it down for the afternoon, since the "gathering" had started over at Terry Schubert's cabin, where some prizes and announcements were distributed and made. That took about an hour, and after that a bunch of us went back to Minnie's (CHEAP, remember?). After dinner we went back to Jerry's cabin and told stories until 11 PM, and then we hit the hay. I almost got used to John's snoring, so I didn't wake him up Saturday night.
While Friday night had been warm - mid 60's at least, Saturday night got pretty cold - down into the high 30's. Perfect sleeping bag weather!
To be continued......
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