It was a somewhat hectic week in Tampa at the AOPA Aviation Summit, though the pace was not as frenzied as it was at either Oshkosh or NBAA. But for me at least the trade show season has wrapped, and we’re settling in to the holidays.
This is is the Cirrus SR22 (N377SR) in which I’ve been re-discovering my love of flying. Arriving at Tampa was an interesting experience. AOPA had published a special approach procedure for Tampa Executive Airport for airplanes arriving for the summit. We were #2 for the approach behind a Cessna skyhawk when the airplane that was landing porpoised and had its nose gear collapse. Kind of an embarrassing thing for the pilot, whom we heard later was a woman in her 80’s. Frankly, I hope I’m still breathing at that point if my life, let alone still able to get a medical to fly.
But I digress.
Anyway, we diverted back to Plant City, got the only rental car on the field, and drove over to Tampa.
And it occurs to me that, when you read all the negative press in some of the mainstream media about federal money going to small airports, where we would have been left if KPCM had not existed. Less than 20 miles from Tampa Executive airport, which was suddenly not an option, we would have been forced to Peter O. Knight, which was a madhouse from airplanes arriving at the event, or Tampa International. At that point, Plant City looked like a pretty good option, for both us and the C172 that was also in the traffic pattern when the accident occurred.
Having spent both Thursday and Friday cooped up in a convention hall, I was happy to finally get out to the flight line on Saturday to see some airplanes.
This is the Lockheed Electra that was used for the movie Amelia, and it is a very pretty airplane. The yellow sign hanging from the prop is an admonishment to not touch the airplane, or spend some time polishing. Pretty much the entire aircraft is polished to a mirror finish, and you can imagine they don’t want a lot of people smudging their oily fingers on it. It does make for a very photogenic airplane, but I have to say that the sign kind of detracts from the effect.
There was everything from motor-gliders to bizjets on the line at Peter O. Knight airport. One of the gliders was very transformer-like, with a propeller and tiny engine that popped up out of the fuselage when you needed the boost. Sort of like the auxiliary engine in a sailboat, only here when you need it.
I’ve got a pretty busy week coming up. I’ll be at the Lincoln Day dinner tomorrow night, where Mitt Romney is speaking. Austin has asked me to take some pictures and provide a report for The Jacksonville Observer. Tuesday is an improv show at The Comedy Zone, Wednesday is the Jacksonville Observer Radio Show, I think thinks slow down by Thursday. And there’s Aero-News every day, of course. But at least I’m at home all week, which is not a bad thing.
Still, if I’ve got to travel to trade shows, there are a lot worse ways to get there than flying in the ANN Cirrus.
And the best part is, when that happens, I get to fly. It’s way better up front than in the back.