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2008 - Columbia Fly-In - Day 2

Date: May 3, 2008

Saturday was just as beautiful as Friday, if not more so. I was scheduled to give another presentation on my Belleville Washer Installation in the morning, so I stuck around the campground. Once again, turnout was pretty good - maybe 15-20 folks, who asked some very good questions, most of which I had answers for :-). I was impressed by the quality of comments and questions, and will be modifying my installation instructions and presentations based on some of them.

After the presentation, I went back over to the ramp to look at more planes. Jeremy McDonald arrived a bit late, and I missed his presentation on engine/propeller dynamic balancing late in the morning. However, since I had him balance my plane last August and spent 3 hours talking to him about it, I can say that he's extremely knowledgeable, does a great job, and is reasonably priced.  I believe
that he spent most of the afternoon doing a few balance jobs on some of the canards in attendance. Early in the afternoon, a few of us wandered into town and ate lunch at the Teahouse Cafe, which was very nice. Good salads and sandwiches, and if you're a tea freak, this is the place for you, with about a billion different types of tea.

When we got back, I watched planes land for a while and got a count of planes in attendance from David Orr, who was taking "N" numbers (within 3 minutes of getting out of his Long-EZ on Friday afternoon, as a matter of fact - I thought _I_ was obsessive :-) ). By late Saturday, 53 canards had been in attendance, including 10 COZY's (III's and IV's) and 5 or 6 Velocities. There were a maximum of 44 canards on the ground mid-Saturday afternoon.  The ten COZY's were (in no particular order):

  1. Don Herzstein - MKIV

  2. Brian Heinitz - III

  3. Joe Hull - MKIV

  4. Colby/Elise Farmer - MKIV

  5. Doug/Patti Pitzer - MKIV

  6. Chris Woodard (Nat's plane) - MKIV

  7. Burrall Sanders - MKIV

  8. Marc Zeitlin - MKIV

  9. Stan Magill - MKIV

  10. Jeff Pontius - Royal Gardner's MKIV

Colby/Elise ran away with the "came the farthest to the fly-in" prize - they had come from Kentucky (although they were combining the trip with a visit to relatives in the Oakland, CA area).

Now, this count of 53 was a REAL 53 - not that hand-waving, beer induced "72" or whatever was claimed for Rough River last year :-).  I did an actual count there, and the number was closer to 62, so Columbia is quickly approaching RR for size and attendance. Now, Don Jones of RR DVD fame disputes my count, but I'm not convinced :-).

At any rate, around 3 PM I headed back to the campground to listen to Dave Ronnenberg's talk about his heavily modified Berkut "Mobius" UAV (or UAS, for "Unmanned Aerial System").  He discussed the development, use model, and experience sitting in an autonomous vehicle while it flew itself around, trying to decide whether to take over for the computer when it sometimes did something that he wasn't sure about :-).  He also showed some videos of the aircraft in flight and landing itself.

After Dave, Craig Catto arrived with his entourage and props (in both the aeronautical and theatrical sense of the word).  He discussed two and three blade propellers, the complications of designing propellers, and the advances in prop design and fabrication that he's come up with in the past few years.  He also indicated that he's hired some help and is in the process of obtaining a CNC router, so he expects to lower his order backlog over the next few months.

Both presentations were VERY well attended and received, and with good reason.

Soon after the presentations, 6 PM rolled around and it was time for the dinner.  Don had changed caterers this year, and except for having to stand in line twice (once for the salad, and once for the main meal), this was an EXCELLENT change.  The food quality was far better than the previous few years, and the portions were larger as well. Since all we were all doing was standing/sitting around yakking with each other anyway, no one minded the second stint at line standing :-). The cheesecake for dessert finished most of us off.  Don did, however, have a lot of wine and beer left over - clearly the winos and boozers had all stayed home this year, in comparison to the year previous :-).

After dinner, Don showed a couple of videos - first, one made by a friend of his at last year's Columbia fly-in, which showed many of the squirrelly cross-wind landings that had occurred (one of which led to a damaged prop), as well as numerous interviews with attendees talking about their aircraft. Second, we watched a 1978 documentary on the Gossamer Condor, which was Paul MacCready's aircraft that won the Kremer prize for man-powered aircraft flying a figure 8 course. It was a fascinating study of how simple is better, although it didn't turn out quite as simple as Dr. MacCready originally believed. The low-speed aerodynamics, coupled with a very flexible structure, were difficult to analyze and test, but they did eventually prevail.

After the movies, I spent some quality time talking to Jim Price (of altitude record in a Long-EZ fame) - a wonderful guy.  Another cold night in the tent, but I hear nothing with the earplugs in :-).

To be continued.....


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