EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Tue, July 29, 2008

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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 3 July 29, 2008     

Ask Tom
Tom Richards will answer your questions in AirVenture Today throughout the week.

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 to asktom_airventure@hotmail.com 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

A: They 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

A: No, 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 served.

Lt. Col. R.H., Oshkosh, Wisconsin

A: Noble 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

A: Sun ’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) at www.Sun-n-Fun.org.

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. Very useful.

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.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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