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 did they use a
dot on the runway that can be confused with yellow and green? Just
listening to the arrivals, there seems to be a lot of confusion. But the
controllers are doing a great job.
M.V.E., Howell, Michigan
A: You apparently are
not a pilot, or you would know about the dots. There actually are seven
dots on Wittman Field’s two runways. There are four dots—purple,
yellow, pink and blue—on the north-south runway, 18/36, and
three—white, green and orange—on east-west 9/27.
These dots aid
controllers in directing pilots where to land. By the way, those
numerical designations represent the compass orientation, minus the
zeroes, of a given runway. In other words, 18/36 is 180 and 360 degrees.
The colored dots are one
reason that some people who are colorblind cannot be pilots. And to heap
trivia upon trivia, this mainly applies to males, since females are
seldom colorblind, I am told. It’s one of our specialties.
Q: Why don’t
aerobatic performers get sick when they fly like us civilians do?
N.I., Omaha, Nebraska
do. But they get used to it. That’s according to Jim Taylor, a
chairman of the International Aerobatic Club and an experienced
aerobatic flier and judge. "You build up a tolerance to it,"
he said. "Most of us, if we don’t do it for a while, we have to
start building up that tolerance again. You see young people rolling
down a hill or spinning, and they enjoy it. I don’t know why we
don’t like it when we get older."
There are those who say
that you ought to eat bananas before you fly aerobatically. They don’t
prevent nausea, they say, but they taste pretty much the same coming up
as they did going down.
Q: Do you really look
like that drawing?
J.J., Canton, Ohio
I’m actually much taller. And I have more pencil lines.
Q: On behalf of
veterans, especially those who served overseas in our fight against
terrorism, please give special consideration for a discount to the EAA
convention. This would be a small gesture of thanks for those who
Lt. Col. R.H., Oshkosh,
thought, but—"We receive requests for discounts from, among many
others, current members of the military, veterans, senior citizens,
students, non-EAA member airplane owners, local residents, state
residents, almost everybody," said Dick Knapinski, spokesman for
EAA. "If we gave discounts to everybody who asked for them, there
wouldn’t be an event to give a discount for."
He pointed out that
AirVenture is, first and foremost, a convention of EAA members "to
which we invite everybody else." Also, he said, AirVenture is less
expensive than a lot of things, say, a Packers game, Great America,
Country USA, Lifefest and NASCAR, among others.
Q: When is Sun ’n
Fun next year?
J.B., Madison, Wisconsin
’n Fun? Are you kidding? We’ve barely started AirVenture. Kick back
and enjoy it. We’ve got plenty of sun and fun right here in Oshkosh.
If you must, check out the Lakeland, Florida, event (April 21-26, 2009)
Q: I noticed that the
Oshkosh VOR has some strange "bumps" around it this year. Are
they giant mushrooms or cheese curds or what?
F.S., Oshkosh, Wisconsin
A: I believe they are
"or what," though I wouldn’t rule out cheese curds entirely.
This is Wisconsin, after all. When the FAA designed the new Oshkosh
control tower, they determined that it would interfere with the signal
from the Oshkosh VOR. VOR is a system of navigation that uses a radio
frequency to get a pilot from one place to another. Mostly, it has been
replaced by GPS technology. In any case, the FAA converted the
conventional VOR to be a "Doppler VOR," which uses different
technology that is less disturbed by buildings. Those white globes are
standard on Doppler VOR. Or they are mushrooms.
Q: I see something
called the Info Guide, and then there’s the official program. What’s
the difference? Why should I pick one or the other?
A: Both are more than
worthwhile. The Info Guide is distributed free. It includes listings of
virtually everything that’s going on here, the times and places that
everything’s going on and listings of who is exhibiting and where.
Meanwhile, the program,
which sells for $7, is a true souvenir of the 2008 AirVenture. It
includes a DVD, Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation, narrated by Harrison
Ford. It’s something you’ll want to keep as a memento. The program,
not Harrison Ford.