Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Small Town Airshow

Air shows are fun, from the typical local fly-in to the big-time, jet-roaring Blue Angel or Thunderbirds flight demonstration. The last time I saw the Blue Angels the group was driving the big F-4 Phantoms, and it was quite a treat to watch those teeth-rattling aerobatics up close.

Bolivar (MO) had its own little air show cum fly-in last week, and I was struck by the little contraption shown in the photograph. I couldn't tell what type of engine it sported, maybe a snowmobile, maybe a lawnmower, maybe a motorcycle, but I was struck by the "fuel tank," which was a five gallon portable plastic gas can bungee-corded to the frame directly behind the pilot. The wing appeared to be commercially built, but the rest of it, perhaps excepting the landing gear, seemed to homemade. The fellow gave a demonstration, and it didn't take much more distance than a good forward pass to get airborne.

There was also a little Pitts special aerobatics aircraft on hand, and the pilot put it through a few loops, Immelmanns, four-point rolls, and a few flat spins.

This isn't the aircraft or the pilot but it is a flat spin, which to me seems truly spooky.

Aviation fuel at the airport was only five bucks a gallon, and while I don't know if that was a special for the fly-in, I was surprised at the low price even though I recognize that fuel costs are only a minor factor in the expense of owning an aircraft.

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