And there are lots of cool things here, but when the Mothership “Eve” drops in, that rates high on the cool meter.
And so here she is. In the Virgin Galactic view of the world, this is the launch vehicle for SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital (for now) commercial space venture. It’s very well funded. Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan were here today holding a news conference at the nose of Eve, also known as WhiteKnighTwo. But when it comes to the very special things that have to do with aviation, Oshkosh is the place to see them, and has been for the better part of half a century.
As is the case with all shows of this type, everybody who can comes to show off their new products. Lots of “gee whiz” and “won’t that be great when it’s not just a prototype.” Though the long-time observers have seen many airplanes go from fiberglass mockup to flying machine over the course of several years. Some make it, some don’t. But a lot of what I’m seeing as well is that people who see each other once a year at Oshkosh can pick up like no time has passed since they last saw one another. That used to happen at Public Radio Conferences, too, until Public Radio decided a big blowout wasn’t the best message to be sending when they kept asking people to send them money. But here, particularly in the “North 40” where people camp under the wings of their airplanes, and the more traditional campgrounds, once-a-year friends are close neighbors, and the camaraderie is amazing to see.
Today started nice, but a line of severe storms blew through late in the afternoon. The system spawned some tornados to the south of Oshkosh, but all we got was some heavy rain, thunder, and lighting. The Doobie Brothers played here late this afternoon, but I had my head down in the computer trying to get everything done before deadline. I could hear them from the office, and from what I understand, the sound was probably as good where I was as it was at the stage. Outdoor venues are really tough.
I’ll leave you with this pic of a funky seaplane that is near our Aero News office, on which it just looks like the engines were bolted to the top of the wing as an afterthought. There are two turboprop engines up there on the wing, counterrotating I’m sure or the torque would flip the airplane over before it ever got off the ground. And my affinity for anything that flies AND floats makes it endearing no matter what. But you gotta admit, it looks kinda funky.
It’s late, and we’ll need to hit it again early tomorrow. The Airbus A380 gets here tomorrow, which will be impressive. That’s one big hunk of airplane. And the rest, well, I have my assignments, as well as making those for the other folks who are here. My hope is that by the end of the week, I’ll be able to at least come up for air and go look around the show at greater length.
That when the fun really begins.