Another long day in the trailer, though I did get out for a bit to walk around the show. The coolest thing I did today was flying a Cirrus SR22 simulator. Not a full-motion sim, but for me, for not having been in the front seat of an airplane for god knows how many years, it was an amazing experience.
Now, I’ve never flown a side-stick aircraft before, nor one that complicated. It gave me my first real look at an Avidyne EFIS glass cockpit under something resembling actual flying conditions.
I’ve got to tell you, I thought the boat GPS moving maps were cool until I saw this. There’s no way to describe it. Everything on glass panels, all in one, and so many different displays to select. It was a little overwhelming, and a lot like an elaborate video game.
I didn’t crash. I also didn’t manage to land right on the centerline, but I did manage to land, I think. There was someone very familiar with the airplane in the other seat. Left to my own devices, it’s anybody’s guess.
I walked away from the experience with a big, big, big smile on my face. But I have so much to (re) learn.
A smile almost as big as the one painted on the nose of this DC3, sitting in AeroShell Square at Wittman. I love what people do with their airplanes … mostly. Of course, the ones on display at Oskhosk, and not off in the “North 40” where people camp under their airplane wings are the showpieces. Not to say there aren’t some great airplanes in the North 40, but the ones up front near the flight line are spectacular. And yes, people bring tents and such to camp out under their airplane wings. Some just stretch a blue tarp over the wing and roll out a sleeping bag, some have nice camping gear, but they’re all about just being at Oshkosh.
The Airbus is on the ground now, but there’s still really no way a picture can convey to you just how big this airplane is. Think of a flying cruise ship, and not one of the dinky little ones. The wheels on the landing gear of this airplane are nearly as tall as an adult, each of the engines intakes could easily swallow a minivan, let alone a Volkswagen. In fact, I don’t know if it would even know if it passed a VW. But it’s amazingly quiet. Flying at two or three thousand feet yesterday, gear and flaps extended as in a landing configuration on one pass and just at a nose-high slow flight configuration in another, you could carry on a conversation with the person standing next to you. That is, if you weren’t struck dumb, which a lot of people seemed to be. The noise certainly wasn’t deafening. Older jets that used to fly over our house in Maryland, which was sometimes in the departure corridor for National Airport, made a hell of a lot more noise from much further away.
And finally, this Piaggio. Why would I include this, you might ask. Well, this is the type of plane that Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan used to go zipping off to Vegas or New Jersey in on “Pitch Men” pretty much every week. I don’t know if Piaggio or the charter service they used paid for the product placement on the show, or maybe they traded it for use of the airplane, but just about every week, you saw one Billy and Sully getting aboard an airplane like this one and racing off to find the next “must have” product. It was a little bit of nostalgia when I saw this plane, and so I had to have the shot.
It’s Wednesday, and we’re cranking away at it until Saturday. Then a very, very, very early flight on Sunday. I’m still not sure of the logistics of that yet, but it’s going to be either a very long day or a very short night. But as nice as it has been the past couple of days, with temperatures not topping 80, low humidity, and chilly nights … well let’s just say I’m ready to be home and back near the ocean. Lake Winnebago is very nice, and there’s even a Donzi dealership here for those who feel the need to compensate for some other inadequacy, but Mother, Mother Ocean … I have heard you call.