EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Sun, Aug 3, 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 8 August 3, 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: 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?

L.D., Surprise, Nebraska

A: 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 project.

Philip Moore, Bank of Africa

A: 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

A: 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 aircraft."

Q: Whatís the strangest airplane at AirVenture this year?

R.R., Orlando, Florida

A: 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.

C.A., Champaign, Illinois

A: 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?

N.S., Springfield, Illinois

A: 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

A: 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?

N.A., Meridian, Mississippi

A: 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?

H.H., Kaukauna, Wisconsin

A: Yes.

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