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: I hear pilots
talking about "fizz doe." What is that, another Wisconsin
D.S., Cleveland, Ohio
No, but thatís a good idea. Heaven knows, we can use one more beer
with a funny name. But, no, itís actually "FSDO." That
stands for flight standards district office, which essentially, and
in plain English, means that it is your friendly neighborhood FAA
You can find the
nearest office on the web, and there report such things as
low-flying aircraft accidents or discuss aircraft modifications and
permits, certification and surveillance of air operators, air
agencies, and airmen. They are responsible for enforcement and
investigation and for aviation safety education and training.
Q: Is the North 40
airplane parking and camping area really 40 acres? It seems like
G.A., St. Louis,
To those of us city born and bred, an acre is an indistinct
measurement. But Peter Moll, director of Wittman Regional Airport,
said that it is actually something over 50 acres. "North
40," he said, is an "agricultural euphemism" for that
space. It is unlikely that the EAA folks will start referring to the
Q: What is the
deadline for having your homebuilt plane judged? And when do they
announce if you have won an award?
M.S., Grinnell, Iowa
According to Lory Powell, co-chairman of the judging, you have to
have your aircraft judged by noon today. Before that, of course, it
has to be registered and "mugged" at Homebuilders
Headquarters. That is a process that involves receiving a
commemorative mug. The winners will be announced Saturday night at
one of the forum buildings, at this point, still to be determined.
Q: Why does that
hurricane simulator in the Federal Pavilion only go up to 72 miles
an hour? I know that hurricanes can blow harder than that.
H.K., San Diego,
Hurricanes, depending on their category, can whip up winds of a
couple of hundred miles an hour. Thatís way more than you need to
style your hair. The truth is, any more than 72 miles an hour, and
you could be hurt. The real thing is bad enough. Just imagine how
you would feel with a simulated injury from a simulated hurricane.
Q: EAA supports
the Young Eagles program, and I agree with that. But if Iím
providing the time and the fuel for young people to be introduced to
aviation, why canít EAA allow the Young Eagles in free to
B.H., Shell Knob,
Dick Knapinski, spokesman for the EAA, said, "Young Eagles is a
program to introduce young people to flying and to encourage them to
fly, mostly in their hometowns. AirVenture is a celebration of
aviation. You can have one without the other. Both are wonderful
things, but they are separate." In other words, youngsters can
be Young Eagles back home for free. There are numerous requests,
Knapinski said, for people who want free admission, and EAA simply
cannot honor them.
Q: I have searched
the EAA website and have found absolutely no mention of the two
fighter jets that flew over my house Tuesday evening between 6:30
and 6:45, headed toward the EAA grounds. Can you tell me what they
I canít tell you, but I know people who can. Those were F-18s from
Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia, painted in "bad guy"
colors. Either that or something else.
Q: Do Harrison
Ford and John Travolta use the same famous Port-O-Lets that the rest
of us do?
Youíre disgusting. The truth is, we donít know. We donít
follow them there, but we can presume that like the rest of us,
celebrities or not, when they gotta go, they gotta go.
Q: Do you wear
that pencil every day?
Readers seem preoccupied with my pencil, and Iím not quite sure
why. In any case, I wear it all the time. I believe that it keeps me
from rolling out of bed at night.
Q: Why does the
border patrol, working on the southern border, where itís really
hot, wear those black uniforms?
It sounds like a kidís answer, but the reason is because. They
arenít really black; they are a really dark navy blue. Thatís
the uniform designed and assigned by the agency. "It does get a
little warm sometimes," said one agent.