Richards will answer your questions in AirVenture Today throughout the
Please drop your questions (with your
name and where you are from) off at the AirVenture Today office located
near the old FAA control tower and the First Aid Station or via e-mail
and he will do his darndest to answer them.
Q: Why do some tandem aircraft fly
from the back seat and some from the front?
K.H., Nashville, Tennessee
For the uninitiated, a tandem aircraft is one in which the seats are one
behind the other, rather than side by side. Actually, thatís the case
even if you have been initiated.
Examples are the Piper J3 Cub and the
Aeronca Champ. The Piper flies from the back seat, the Aeronca from the
front, though in each case there is another stick and set of rudder
pedals with the passenger seat. One of the main reasons for the location
of the primary controls is the balance of the airplane. However, the
front-seat flying improves visibility on the ground.
Q: Are there any tours of the new
control tower? How about the old one?
F.J.S., Minneapolis, Minnesota
No and no. And once the transfer of equipment to the new tower is
complete, the old tower becomes the property of Miron Construction,
which will tear it down. By the way, some folks have inquired about the
possibility of buying a brick from the old tower. That isnít possible
because of the cost of disassembling it versus the cost of simply razing
Q: I understand that homebuilt
aircraft are important to EAA. How many of them are there?
D.S., Ripon, Wisconsin
More than you can shake a hammer at. At the moment, about 30,000. The
homebuilt segment of general aviation is growing at the rate of about 4
to 6 percent a year, while other branches are contracting. Homebuilts
represent more than 10 percent of all active aircraft in the United
States. And, indeed, while other aircraft are important, homebuilts are
the heart and soul of EAA.
In fact, a highlight of this yearís
AirVenture will be official recognition of the 30,000th amateur-built
aircraft Wednesday and Thursday.
Q: With all the rain you folks have
had, how wet are the AirVenture grounds?
K.T., Atlanta, Georgia
Well, our grass is green and growing. How about you? Anyhow, donít
worry. The AirVenture grounds are among the highest in the Oshkosh area
and are dry and beautiful (unless you are the one who has to mow.) Other
than Lake Winnebago, there is no water you could fall into, or even get
your shoes wet. Itís perfect.
Q: How many female pilots are there in
the United States?
G.S., Portland, Oregon
Some say not enough. Certainly, the Ninety-Nines would agree with that.
That is an organization of licensed women pilots from 35 countries, with
more than 5,500 members worldwide. The group, formed in 1929, is named
for the 99 charter members. They are involved in all aspects of flying,
but they say, "First and foremost, we are women who love to
In the United States, women make up about
6 percent of the total number of licensed pilots, or about 36,000 of the
roughly 600,000 pilots.
Q: I see that the Goodyear Blimp will
be at AirVenture again this year, and it made me wonder why a blimp is
called a blimp.
N.S., Butte. Montana
They tried calling them Evelyn, but that didnít catch on. Thatís not
true. The term probably was coined in 1915 by one A.D. Cunningham of the
British Navy Air Force. It is an attempt to duplicate the kind of
cartoon sound of flicking an airship with your finger. Blimp!
It seems like everywhere I turn, there is an EAA photographer. How many
of them are there, anyway?
M.O., Springfield, Illinois
Stop turning everywhere. There really arenít that many, and youíve
got to remember that airplanes are very visual things. Jim Koepnick, EAA
chief photographer, says there are 15 photographers and related
personnel, plus three full-time photographers. Having this many,
Koepnick said, "allows us to capture the variety of activities
And thatís plus the two who work for
Q: Who are all those people in the
L.T., Des Moines, Iowa
You must be new around here. Those are the FAA people. They wear pink
because nobody else will. Thatís a funny answer, but there is an
element of truth to it. It makes them easily recognizable to pilots.
Another explanation Iíve heard is, "Theyíre federal employees.
You can make them do anything." I donít believe that.