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2008 - Columbia Fly-In - Day 3

Date: May 4, 2008

Sunday dawned just as beautiful as the previous two days. Nathan and Janice walked into town to get some breakfast, but I stuck around the campground because I wanted to hear Keith Spreuer's presentation on installing a P-51 intake air scoop on his Subaru SVX powered COZY MKIV to replace the NACA scoop. While waiting for that to start, I took down the tent and packed up all my stuff.

Keith gave an interesting talk on not just HOW he installed the scoop, but why, and had before and after data on temperatures and pressures in his cowl and across the radiator. Very thorough and well done. Also well attended, especially for 9 AM on a Sunday morning.

After helping Don and others clean up the clubhouse/dining hall, Charles Furnweger drove me and all the camping stuff over to the ramp.  By the time I got over there around 11 AM, half of the canards had already left, and people were saddling up left and right to head out.  Nathan helped me load all the stuff into the plane, and we spent some time saying our goodbye's to folks and watching the departures.

We took off around noon and headed south.  It was VERY hazy over the central valley as we headed toward Bakersfield - the Sierras were not visible, and there was no horizon.  I felt like I was back on the east coast :-). But it was a quick, uneventful flight - 162 kts TAS on 8.7 gph at 2600 rpm at 9500 ft.  Not much action on Flight Following until we got near Bakersfield.  1.3 hours after leaving, we were back in Tehachapi.

A most excellent weekend.

Comparison to Rough River:

So, for the comparison to the Rough River fly-in. There are far more similarities than differences.  Both are semi-organized gatherings of canard folks.  Both are about the same size - around 100 folks, and around 40-60 aircraft.  This last year, both had formal presentations by a number of folks on a variety of subjects.  At both sites you can camp with or near your aircraft for a minimal fee, or stay in a hotel/motel/lodge/cabin.  Both are laid back, no pressure, no sales, no marketing, no loud airshows - just talk and information exchange with friends and other canard folks.

There are, however, differences - some of them major.  hile I have given a few rides at Columbia to builders or prospective builders, and some other flyers have as well, rides does not seem to be a central aspect of the fly-in, while at Rough River, there's a constant stream of aircraft leaving the ramp with folks being given rides in COZY's, Long-EZ's, Vari-Eze's, and anything else with wings.  That's not to say that a builder wouldn't get a ride at Columbia if they asked - just that it's not nearly as prevalent.

Rough River is pretty isolated - while there's a lodge and (usually) a lake right next door, there's nothing within walking distance, and not much within driving distance (except, of course, for the "World's Best Pizza" place, right down the street, which I reviewed in detail in my Rough River writeup last fall).  Columbia does have an interesting town within walking distance, and Sonora within a short drive.

Probably due to all the rides being given at Rough River, folks tend to hang out near their planes a bit more than at Columbia.  While you can find many of the pilots wandering on the ramp at Columbia, it didn't seem as common. Also, the presentation area at Rough River was right next to the ramp, which made it very easy for folks to move back and forth from the aircraft to the presentations (and campground) - the presentation area at Columbia is in the campground, which is a 10 minute walk from the ramp, so it's not quite as simple to move between venues.

Columbia has a Saturday night catered dinner, which gathers just about everyone together at one time (we had about 91 folks for the dinner the last two years - the dining hall is way past full). Rough River does not have an organized dinner, although there was a hot-dog luncheon on Saturday the last couple of years.

Obviously, due to the locations, Columbia mostly gets the California and West Coast crowd, while Rough River gets the east coast and mid-atlantic states crowd.

Both are excellent, loads of fun, interesting and relaxing.  One is not "better" than the other, and there should be no competition between them - the only competition should be to make each one better each year than it was the year before.

So,  thanks go out to all the folks that made this year's Columbia fly-in possible:

Don Denhard for having the idea for the gathering in the first place, organizing the whole thing, and making sure all the facilities, food, and infrastructure were in place, as well as advertising it, and getting all the OTHER helpers to help out.

Charles Furnweger for doing a great job of attracting presenters, organizing the timing and setup of the presentations, and doing an all-around professional job as well as flattering all the presenters with great introductions.

Char Spencer for running the registration tent, ensuring that everyone was checked in and had paid their money for dinner.  Also for getting coffee and pastry for breakfast(s) at the campground on Saturday and Sunday.

Paul Werner and Dave Vigliercho for doing a super job of organizing the ramp, parking planes as they arrived, ensuring that everyone had a place to park without screwing up anyone's access and keeping everything safe on the ramp.

Jeremy McDonald, Craig Catto, Keith Spreuer and Dave Ronnenberg for putting together very interesting presentations on a variety of subjects from UAV's to propeller theory to dynamic balancing to P-51 scoops for cooling.

All of the attendees who showed up and traded stories and information to the benefit of each other.

Thanks again, and see you all at Arlington, OSH, or next year at Columbia.

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