Monday, August 11, 2008

Oshkosh Day Two: WomenVenture

The day starts early at Oshkosh. The airport opens for departures at 6am, and therefore we were awakened by engines starting up each morning at 6. Once I got eyes to properly open, I realized we could see airplanes taking off through our tent (screen) door. I savored lying there for a while before actually getting up. But then I was up and going. We had cereal (still no propane!), cleaned up a bit, and then headed over to the bus stop. Husband made the comment during the week that he hadn't spent that much time on a bus in a long time. For the most part, the bus rides were interesting- we enjoyed seeing all the different planes and camping set ups. One of our favorites was a Cessna with a tarp draped over the wing. Printed on the tarp was the saying "Reason #23"- referring to Cessna's ad campaign of the 100 reasons to own a Cessna. I can't remember the exact wording for it, but I think it's something like "Camping under the high wing of your Cessna 172."

We hopped off the tram at the fly market and wandered around the stalls for a while. Not too much of interest here, though we did try a cool folding hammock. Maybe next year. The tent with all kinds of spare parts was much more interesting. You could buy old life vests still in their pouches, cylinders, or all sorts of engine bits and pieces. Outside the tent there were several old plane bodies- crumpled in places from previous unintended impacts with the ground. It was interesting, though a little morbid, to try and imagine what had caused the various wrinkles and tears in the skin and structure of these planes.

After making our way through the spare parts, we headed for one of the exhibit halls. Inside these are the usual jumble of vendors-- selling everything from training courses to extra fuel bladders to aviation art. There's so much that it kind of runs together after a few minutes. After poking through the exhibits, it was time for me to head over to Aeroshell Square for WomenVenture.

WomenVenture was pretty cool-- the organizers were handing out pink shirts and then all the women pilots gathered behind the KC-10 for pictures. I liked the idea... though I think maybe the organizers weren't quite prepared for the actual execution. Though it shouldn't be remarkable that I am a woman and I fly, it somehow still seems like it is. Only 6% of all pilots in the US are women. That's a pretty low percentage. I'm always interested that I seem to get more attention as a pilot/owner at our flight school than Husband does-- because I'm a woman. Aviatrix wrote a post on this topic-- but I kind of disagree. Though she knows and I know that women can be a pilot just as easily as a man, it is still a little surprising to people to find that a woman is the pilot. The more people are exposed to the idea, the less surprising it becomes. And besides-- there are a lot of girls in my family or in my neighborhood that benefit from seeing that it's not just a dream for little boys. I'm happy to say that when my parents bought a book about airplanes and rockets for my niece (4) and nephew (almost 3), my niece was far more intrigued than my nephew. She talked about flying and rockets for the rest of the weekend. So I am proud to wear my pink shirt... especially the one that says "No, It's not my husband's airplane. Women Fly"!

After the picture, I met back up with Husband, who was securing our much-sought canisters of propane. We went to a few airplane booths (including the Eclipse, the Icon A, and the new roadable car). We also explored a few more exhibit halls. I found a headset that I eventually bought-- the Clarity Aloft lightweight headset. It has little foam pieces that go in your ears. So far, I like it a lot-- it doesn't make my ears sore like my Bose headset has. Of course, I looked at a few other headsets, including the Lightspeed (that's what I originally thought I would buy...).

After we'd had our fill of exhibits, we found some food and watched the beginning of the air show. About an hour into the show, we headed back to camp and sat out in our chairs to watch the airshow and listen to the airboss coordinate the show on our hand held radio. Very cool. Later, we made dinner (yum, fajitas!) and enjoyed another beautiful sunset.

That evening, we took a series of buses over to the fly-in movie. John Travolta introduced his movie "Broken Arrow" before departing in his 707 painted in Quantas livery. We were late getting there-- we ended up having to take 3 separate buses to get there. The movie was fun- and made infinitely more pleasurable by the fact that EAA had kindly provided bug spray (which we didn't think to bring to the movie). Getting home was a bit of an adventure. I'm not sure why EAA didn't anticipate the need for people to get back to the North 40 after the movie. Everything else has been so well thought out and planned. We ended getting a tour of Camp Scholler (where the fly in movies are held) before getting dropped and picked back up (by the same bus!) at the bus park. Then we were dropped and picked back up by that bus two more times before making it onto a North 40 bus for the final ride to our campsite. We were all grumbling a bit by the end. After a quick shower (how strange to dry my hair outside the shower trailer, standing just inside a fence with cars whizzing by at 12am).

And a second day at Oshkosh comes to an end.

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