I got back Thursday evening from a great trip to the EAA fly-in at Oshkosh. I flew down with John, a co-worker, in his very nice 1998 Cessna 172. It doesn't cruise as fast as an RV, but it is faster than an RV that hasn't flown yet :). We left on Friday morning, overnighted in Menominee, MI. We could have made it to OSH on Friday, but we were getting pretty tired.

Saturday morning we did the last leg to OSH, after reviewing the arrival procedure (4.4 MB PDF) for the umpteenth time. Judging by the radio traffic, it had been fairly quiet before we arrived, but we managed to arrive at Ripon just as a group of 18 aircraft got there. There was a long line of aircraft coming from the SW, so we turned SW and kept going until we finally found a break in the line. We got in line OK, but an aircraft a few places further up couldn't seem to understand that he was supposed to fly at 90 kt and 1800 ft. The guy immediately behind him later told us that the problem guy would slow to 70 kt, then speed up to 120 kt, while varying his altitude by 500 ft or so. Needless to say this had a tremendous "domino effect" on the line of aircraft behind him. We stuck with it though, and it all sorted itself out on downwind.

The taxi to the parking area only took a few minutes, then the fun began getting the aircraft tied down. There seemed to be a layer of bed rock about 8 inches underground, so it was a real SOB getting the tie downs in. I was just about spent when I finally finished that job. We got the tents set up, then the refueling truck came by, so we filled the plane up. One less thing to worry about later.

A while later we realized that the aircraft was venting fuel, and it was dripping on John's tent. Confirm the fuel selector is not on Both (that allows fuel to migrate from one tank to the other, and then out the vent). Move the tent. Still dripping fuel. Convince ourselves that it will stop soon, so we go find a bite to eat at Friar Tucks. Come back from Friar Tucks, and now there is a steady stream of fuel coming out the vent. Not good. Not good at all. We finally realize that we are on enough of a slope that the outboard end of the left tank (where the vent line is attached to) is lower than the inboard end of the left tank. So, it would keep pissing fuel until the fuel level was lower than the vent line. Arrgh!!

Fortunately, they hadn't parked any aircraft in the spots behind us yet. We moved the tents, untied the aircraft, then spun it 180 deg and moved it to one of the open spots behind us. Now the vent line is on the high wing, and the fuel stops dripping. But that meant I had to get the tie downs in again.

Sunday we had a nice visit to the EAA Museum, and spent some time watching arrivals. There had been an accident in the morning, which forced an airport closure for a few hours, so there was a lot of traffic in the afternoon. It was impossible to get any details on the accident, but it was rumoured as an RV that did a stall/spin on the final turn, resulting in two fatalities. I was very bummed out about that. It turns out that it wasn't an RV, it was an Europa, which means I didn't know either victim, but it was still a tragedy.

There were many outstanding aircraft, but this RV-8 certainly was one of the highlights. It took 16 months to paint the very detailed paint scheme.

It is a bit hard to see here, but the trim lines down the fuselage were filled with faint air brushed images of the heads of the king, queen and jack from playing cards.

There were five playing cards air brushed on top of each wing.

And on the bottom (image in the mirror), the back side of the playing cards was air brushed. The builder wasn't happy when I noted that the image on top of the wing showed the centre card on top of the five, but the image on the bottom of the wing showed the centre card on the bottom of the pile.

I was amazed to see that three Lancair IVPs had flown up from Argentina - a 5500 nm trip. Wow.

John wanted to leave on Wednesday, so that only left Monday and Tuesday to get everything done. We managed to get through most of the vendor areas, see most of the aircraft, and take in a few forums. We did so much walking that we were pretty much wiped every evening. There was a huge number of RVs - a very large gaggle in the RV parking area, plus as many again in the homebuilt camping area, plus a bunch more in the general aviation camping area. Most of them looked very nice, with a few really spectacular ones, and a very few really sad looking ones.

I ran into Don McNamara and Danny and Mary Jane King at Friar Tucks. Stumbled across Jerry Esquenazi near Aeroshell Square. Met a bunch of other guys at an RV-8 meet and greet at the Theatre in the Woods on Tuesday AM (thanks to Bob DiMeo for the donuts, and Don McNamara for name tags and markers).

We checked the weather on Wednesday AM, and there was a nasty bunch of weather around Sault-Ste-Marie, so we decided to stay one more day. That was what I wanted all along, as Bob Collins had organized an RV BBQ for Wednesday evening. Late Wednesday afternoon we got hit with a huge deluge - I haven't seen rain like that since I was crossing from Arizona to California on a motorcycle back in 1982. I was pretty worried about my $30 tent, so as soon as the rain stopped we walked back to the aircraft to check it out. And then I completely forgot about the RV BBQ. Too many hours in the sun, plus the worry about the tent floating away, and the BBQ was completely forgotten. Drat. Getting old I guess. It sounds like it was a very good time. Oh well.

Thursday we had a mostly uneventful flight back. The weather was good, and the only event was that after landing at Manistique, MI, we discovered that their gas pump had failed, and they couldn't sell us any fuel. A steady stream of aircraft arrived after us, all looking for fuel. Fortunately everyone had enough fuel to go somewhere else. I had hoped to go to Sudbury from there, but that plan went out the window. We had more than enough fuel to get to Sault-Ste-Marie, so it all worked out in the end.