EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Thu, July 31, 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 5 July 31, 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: Which cafes on the AirVenture grounds are open late?

K.H., Corona, California

A: Late is a relative term. Some people believe that late is anything after, say, 2:30 a.m. You won’t find that here, where late is 8 p.m. Here are the hours of the 10 eating places on the grounds:

Warbirds Café, 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Homebuilt Café, 10 a.m-6:30 p.m.; Tower Café, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Twin Oaks Food Court, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Ace’s Cafeteria, 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; FAA Pavilion Concession, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Convention Headquarters, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Classic Café, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Park Cafe, 6:30 a.m.- 8 p.m.; and Hangar Café, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Bon appetite.

Q: Walking through the Warbirds area, I noticed that there are airplanes that appear to be the same, but have different names. Why is this? Are they trying to confuse us?

H.D., Scranton, Pennsylvania

A: They are the same, and they are trying to confuse you. It sounds as if they are succeeding. They indicate the kind of service, whether civilian, military or country, where they come from. To use a well-known example, the military C-47 is the civilian DC-3.

Q: What’s that "put-put" thing with the flapping wings going around the AirVenture grounds?

A: That Fred Flintstone looking craft is an "ornithopter," which the dictionary appropriately calls an experimental aircraft designed to be propelled by flapping its wings. Few are as successful as this one, which is the product of Steve Hay, who also is the pilot. His firm, the Wright Experience, built the replica engine that powered the recreation of the Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk. Hay wears a t-shirt that says "Wrong Brothers" on the back.

For about 20 years, the ornithopter was a regular visitor to the EAA convention, but he hasn’t been here for the past two. He has made some improvements to the craft. The engine, a 1927 Stover, was built to generate two horsepower. "I’ve hopped it up to about three," Hay said. He also has added a whistle, a horn, and a small cannon that shoots water.

Q: Your blimp answer was wrong. A Class A was a rigid airship, but a Class B was just a balloon, and it was called a Class "B-limp" because there was no supporting air frame.

R.E., Bloomington, Wisconsin

A: You may be correct. Certainly, I am not prepared to argue the point. However, my source stands by what I reported on Tuesday—that the name derives from the sound of a finger thumping the side of a blimp. Also, the Word Detective website casts doubt on your theory. He says "blimp" first appeared in print in 1912, but, in spite of the military’s proclivity for paperwork, there is no record of the terms "A-Rigid" or "B-Limp".

Q: I’m new to this airplane stuff. What’s an elevator? It doesn’t make you go up or down to another floor, does it?

V.G., Random Lake, Wisconsin

A: In a conventional airplane, an elevator is a flap-like thing on the horizontal portion of the tail assembly. Raising or lowering these elevator flaps together causes the aircraft to point up or down. One up and one down causes the plane to rotate on its lateral axis. There should be no floors involved.

Q: What’s the latest on the V-22 visit? We had hoped to see them yesterday, but they were MIA and little information was available.

T.S., Pewaukee, Wisconsin

A: The V-22 "Osprey," an unusual airplane here among unusual airplanes, will have its ups and downs at 2:30 pm. today.

Q: Last year, there was an aviation cartoon character here who was selling his DVD. I can’t remember his name, but he reminded me a little of Jimmy Neutron. Is he here this year?

P.M., Owosso, Michigan

A: That would be Andy of Andy’s Airplanes. I’m told that he’s not here, but his stuff is on sale at the EAA Museum and at the Wearhouse.

Q: Is there some way I could get mention in the paper of www.howitflies.com? It’s a community site for pilots, kind of like Wikipedia for aircraft articles that anyone can edit or comment on. Whether someone is gathering information on a plane they would like to fly or buy or just wants to think about flying on a rainy day, it’s a fun resource.

Keith West

A: The site seems to be some kind of an aviation blog. I’m sorry. I can’t mention it.

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