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: Many planes
have signs on their propellers which tell about the planes and their
owners. On the back of these signs, there are the words, "walk
me." I asked a couple of pilots what the words meant, and they
did not know. Can you help me out?
Certainly Iíll help you out. Which way did you come in? Okay, so
thatís a cheap joke. What do you expect? Itís the end of the
week. Anyhow, that sign indicates that a plane leaving its parking
place needs to be walked out of that space by escorts, rather than
being towed by a tug or under its own power.
Q: I am contacting
you in regards to a business transfer of a huge sum of money from a
deceased account. We discovered an abandoned sum of $30.5 million
and seek your permission to stand in as next of kin. We shall be
compensating you with 30 percent on final conclusion of this
Philip Moore, Bank of
I have no idea how you got my AirVenture e-mail address, Phil. Are
you here on the grounds? Thirty percent of $30.5 million is a lot of
cash, but I have to tell you that as generous as your offer sounds,
this job is so good, I just donít need the money. Thanks, anyway.
Q: Why canard
airplanes? What was wrong with the conventional design with wings
and tail where they are supposed to be?
L.C., Goshen, Indiana
The whole idea was to confuse those of us who are easily confused.
They were designed (by Burt Rutan) to eliminate the stall. It works,
I am told. They donít stall in any usual sense of that. "I
donít know why some major manufacturer hasnít picked up on
this," said one advocate of these backward-looking aircraft.
"I guess we still think in terms of conventional
Q: Whatís the
strangest airplane at AirVenture this year?
Itís the one over there. No, wait, itís over there. No, go back
that way. No, up there. You get the picture. If you canít find an
unusual airplane here, you just arenít looking.
Q: I am a newcomer
to AirVenture and canít for the life of me find when the Warbirds
grand champion award will be given or who won it. Help.
I can handle this. The winner was announced Saturday night. You will
find all the results elsewhere in todayís paper.
Q: What are the
most common items sought at the Lost and Found?
Lost chairs and lost spouses, said Philip Curtiss, who has worked on
that operation for some 26 years. He recommends that you keep an eye
on both. Or either. The spouses, he said, show up, but "the
chairs people leave on the flightline disappear into a black
hole." His favorite question is, "Whereís the Theater in
the Woods?" "Itís in the woods," he replies.
"This is an airport. How much woods can there be?í
Q: How many cell
phones are accidentally dropped into Port-o-lets.
D.K., Ogden, Utah
What a repulsive thought. Among all the statistics kept here, this
is not one of them. However, with 1,100 portable toilets on the
grounds and somewhere around four zillion cell phones, it is
inevitable that this would happen. There is a story, possibly
apocryphal, that one was dropped into the blue waters. The owner,
understandably, decided that it simply was not worth it to attempt
to retrieve the telephone. Nonetheless, people kept calling, and
other souls, availing themselves of the facility, were unnerved when
the phone rang. My response would be, "Itís for you."
Q: Why do some
two-engine airplanes, like the World War II P-38 Lightning, have
engines that turn in opposite directions?
This is getting into a neighborhood that is way more technical than
I am. Hereís what I am told, in terms that someone like me can
understand. It involves the torque or twisting power of the engines.
If the engines both turn the same direction, turning the plane
against the torque can be difficult. Having them turn in opposite
directions eliminates this. I think.
Q: Does everyone
who comes to AirVenture carry a backpack?