I’m home from Oshkosh!

I flew back home to Indy yesterday from Oshkosh and my Rans spent her first night hangared in a week. She rode out one hell of a storm there but my Claw tiedowns kept her planted firmly. Before departing I got a weather briefing at the FSS station then turned around to see my friend Wayne Bressler with a big ol’ smile on his face. I adore Wayne, not just because he’s obsessive about taildraggers, but because he’s such a lovable guy. Wayne hosted the site, www.TaildraggersInc.com  but’s taken some time off from blogging for a while. The website is still available so check out the archives that go back into 2009. I “thought” I’d done an extra long, extra detailed preflight on my Rans S7 before my wing-walker volunteer helped me push her to the end of my row. The weather that came through Thursday had packed a wind sheer of 55 knots and several aircraft near me had been damaged. Mine appeared to be unscathed. After departing 36L I did my turn to 150 degrees and the Rans climbs so fast I was pushing the nose over quickly to keep under the 500 a.g.l. max for the first 5 miles. Once on heading to the DPA (DuPage) VOR under the Chicago Class B airspace, I felt like at real hot-shot setting up my new (used) TruTrak ADI2 autopilot to take me there. Cool stuff. I will say, I’m getting comments of 2 sorts about having an autopilot in my Rans S7; “Are you crazy? It’s a Rans – just fly the thing!” or “Good move, Judy. You can at least take your hands off the stick long enough to check a chart or plug in a frequency. You’re going to love it!!” Anyway, 30 minutes into the flight she decides to deviate from the 176 degrees we were tracking and start swinging west. I let it go and it eventually came  back on course. A few minutes later off we went again westbound and when we passed 240 degrees I was pretty sure she had gone bizerrk. I flipped the autopilot off, flew it past DuPage and landed at Joilet for lunch and fuel. I guess I was oblivious to the feel of my stick when I was taxiing in to refuel because it wasn’t till I was taxiing out for departure that I noticed how sluggish and hard to move the stick was. At the end of the runway, I shut it down before I even did the run up, took my headset off and could hear a noisy rubbing sound everywhere. You could hear it in the wings, baggage compartment, tail, just a lot of noise where it was rubbing badly somewhere. Now I know my autopilot has just malfunctioned but I also knew the flaps and ailerons were dislodged on an aircraft near me during the storm a couple days before. I’m sure no mechanic and I’m visualizing aileron cables rubbed down to a couple cords holding it together! After a call to my husband, questions to Facebook friends,  help from the pilot of a Globe Swift that came to my rescue, and lots of input, I decided to go ahead and fly it the rest of the way back to Indy. Boyd was there waiting for me when I landed and couldn’t tear into it fast enough and figure out what was going on. Turns out it was a failure in the roll/aileron servo, probably caused by the ailerons flopping around during the wind sheer. I did not have the stick secure and tied back, a big mistake on my part. I brought back scads of literature, business cards and fun stuff from AirVenture this year but my prized possession was a bag of fresh donuts I brought to surprise my husband. Maybe he won’t miss this one I’m about to have for breakfast!!...

Thursday, July 26 at AirVenture

It’s LadiesLoveTaildraggers day today in Vintage at Oshkosh! I’m heading there next to meet Meredith Tcherniavsky and her Cub, Lisa Haag and her Stearman and Deb Ings and her Pacer. Presentation at 11:00. Should be fun!!...

Wednesday, July 25 at AirVenture

I just keep bumping into more and more lady taildragger pilots! For the guy that told me several years ago “Honey, lady taildragger pilots don’t exist”, boy do I have news for you!! This is Shona Hirota with her 1995 Glasair and she flew this beautiful bird all the way from her home in Vancouver, BC. Hope to hear more from Shona very soon. This rare aircraft was on display for 24 hours in the Vintage section yesterday. * Home builders donut day. I have the greatest seat at OSH. Sitting front row watching 18 arrivals and departures. Wind gusting 25. Awesome incredible day and it’s only 9:30 am....

Tuesday, July 24 at OSH just gets better and better

So, if fabulous taildraggers and old friends haven’t gotten you to AirVenture 2012 yet, maybe the incredible, hot, homemade donuts fried up every morning will. Trust me, I know a great cake donut when I have one and guarantee you won’t find one as mouth watering as these yummies anywhere else. Get there early or you may miss out! I’ve been told by several people that the EAA have quite a few vendor booths unoccupied this year. The poor economy has taken its toll everywhere and general aviation is no exception. We met some new people and caught up a little with members we’ve met before. Great to see so many happy faces! I was the last to leave there today and had a great seat to watch some of the Warbirds line up for the afternoon airshow. Lady taildragger pilots Melissa Abner and Vanessa Jump Nelson may be happy to be there but Rusty thinks he’s got the best seat in the house. * * I didn’t know till this evening that our host, Dan, and Barty Moffett ran the Sport Air Racing Leagues 2012 AirVenture Cup race in his Venture  last week and finished 1st place in the Sport FX Class;  average speed 264.73 mph. Congratulations to them both!  ...

Tuesday, July 24 at AirVenture

I can’t wait till tonight to show you pics from today’s LLT lunch so here goes from my iphone. 15 lady pilots today along with a few guests of the opposite sex. What a great group of interesting adventurous people! * * * We’re doing it again on Friday at: Hilton Garden Inn Rooftop Restaurant Take the North 40 bus Come if you can!!...

Cubs to OSH 2012

Cubs to OSH 2012

Lady taildragger pilot Elaine Kauh emailed this great story. Hartford is the airport about 40 miles south of Oshkosh where the Cubs gathered for their mass group flyout to OSH on Sunday morning.  Cubs To OSH 2012 Vanessa Jump Nelson flew her Cub from Oregon along with another J-3 piloted by Robin Reid. They were 2 of the 75 making the anniversary flight from Hartford to Oshkosh on Sunday. * I had the honor of being Vanessa’s passenger when she found out on Saturday she would have an empty front seat for this historic flight. If that wasn’t thrilling enough, we got to enjoy a morning flight over the countryside with the Cub’s door and window wide open! *  Elaine Kauh  KRYV Watertown Municipal Airport Watertown, Wisconsin...

Oshkosh Bound? Wind Shear this morning around Chicago

I flew to Oshkosh yesterday and think it was a much better day for going past Chicago than today! SEE “WIND SHEAR”.  Although it lets up some after 10 AM EDT this would have been a bumpy hand full! I’m happy all those Cubs are on the ground at AirVenture this morning and not still trying to make their way around the Chicago area. For the rest of you, take a look at this. Forecast for: KORD (CHICAGO O’HARE , IL, US) Text: KORD 230859Z 2309/2412 20010KT P6SM VCSH SCT120 WS020/23045KT Forecast period: 0900 to 1400 UTC 23 July 2012 Forecast type: FROM: standard forecast or significant change Winds: from the SSW (200 degrees) at 12 MPH (10 knots; 5.2 m/s) Visibility: 6 or more miles (10+ km) Clouds: scattered clouds at 12000 feet AGL Wind shear: at 2000 feet ( 610 m) AGL, from the SW (230 degrees) at 52 MPH (45 knots; 23.4 m/s) Weather: VCSH  (showers in vicinity)...

On the Ground at AirVenture

Today I ARRIVED…..at Oshkosh. It must be capitalized because if you fly into AirVenture, understated words just don’t work. It’s way too awesome, spectacular, scary, intense, and dozens of other unspoken words to describe quickly. Let’s just say I have the ultimate respect for every single pilot that plots their course and flies their aircraft to AirVenture. I flew solo but decided to fly along with a couple of friends in a 601 who had weather on-board. It was an unexpected treat to see the MetLife blimp at my airport this morning, seeing us off on departure. Dave, Dennis and I spent quite a bit of time on 122.75 heading northwest and even though I hung back in the 5:00 position much of the time, I had to occasionally pull up, give ’em a little show and let them see what a Rans S7 can do! Can’t wait to see the video they shot! Actually, my climb rate blows the 601 out of the water but things evened out in the air. Initially I thought I’d be running circles around them but in the end we were more or less keeping pace. I need to find out what kind of power setting they were running – show off …. or business as usual? So what’s happening at Oshkosh on Sunday, the day before AirVenture actually begins? Plenty! People have been here for who knows how long getting things set up for all of us to start pouring in on Saturday and Sunday. I wouldn’t exactly call it a “crowd” yet, but with a constant stream of aircraft arriving all day, the registration buildings were jammed packed. Maybe they just haven’t worked an appetite up yet. I hung around my airplane so long talking with everybody that wondered by that the only area I saw was Homebuilts. * * If you think you see a theme here, you’re right – it’s Yellow. Seems like everything I snapped pictures of was yellow and the only reason I can come up with is, it must be in honor of the 75th anniversary of the J3 Cub. Sadly, the mass arrival of all the Cubs happened before I arrived but maybe they’ll have a fly-by this week I can see? Thanks for checking out LadiesLoveTaildraggers. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a steamy 97 degrees with lots more aircraft expected to arrive –  we can all melt together! Wish us luck with the heat and check back tomorrow for an update. And someone please tell me, why do I have a dorm room on the 6th floor at the U of W – with no air conditioning?!!...

I’m off for Oshkosh!!

I’m SO ready to get this taildragger in the air and headed towards Oshkosh! For the next week I’ll be blogging from AirVenture and plan on seeing lots of old friends and meeting lots of lady taildragger pilots. As always, I’ll be wondering up and down every single row in Antique, Vintage and Homebuilt so if you see me, grab me! I’d love to chat with you. I got to my airport before 6:00 this morning, packed up my Rans S7 with plenty of LadiesLoveTaildraggers tshirts and enough shorts to last me a week. It’s going to be at HOT one. Time to get going now! The Rans is full of fuel, preflight’s done, GPS is set and the NOTAM book memorized 🙂 I just need to take off and head northwest. If you’re there and have time to spare, call my cell and we’ll try and get together. Please try and make the Tuesday or Friday Lady Taildraggers lunch at the Hilton Garden Inn’s rooftop restaurant! Meet at OSH Judy Cell 317-506-2737...

AirVenture, OSH Tower Feed Link & VFR arrival videos

AirVenture is one short week away kicking off on July 23 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. My plan (but I’m flexible) is to arrive the day before it officially begins and stay for the week. I’m flying up solo, a big adventure, and I’m already second guessing whether I’ll be hitting Ripon at the same moment a dozen other airplanes do too. It happens. I’ve been in the mix of it several times over the years and it can get pretty exciting that last few miles.  I love flying solo but will miss an extra set of eyes and ears when the traffic picks up. Whether you’re heading that direction or not it’s addictive to listen to the live tower feed from OSH and hear what’s happening at the busiest airport in the world. It’s a little early to tune in but keep the link and listen during the week of AirVenture. Live feed to OSH Ground/Tower/Approach And for a sample of the amazing job the controllers at Fisk perform throughout the week, take a look at this video. I also thought these next 5 short videos on EAA’s website of approaches and landing at OSH were well done and very helpful. They were shot last year during AirVenture in EAA’s Young Eagles GlaStar. For 1st timers through old timers, they’ll give you an opportunity to preview (or review) what you’re up for without the distraction of flying your airplane at the same time. Nice way to get familiar with the lay of the land and preview approach and even departure procedures. Flying to Ripon Ripon to Fisk Fisk to Runway 9/27 Fisk to Runway 18/36 VFR Departure from Oshkosh...