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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Postscript 1: Sun 'n Fun

[Note: This blog was meant as a communication channel for those Lakers who couldn't make it to Lakeathon to keep up on events at the convention. The prior posts cover that event, but there were a few items of possible interest that occurred afterward, so I'm posting a series of (hopefully) short postscripts to round out the trip. These are written after returning to the Chicago area on 4/29...]

Fun in the sun with Mitch and John

Lakeathon 2007
Table of Contents

4/10: Welcome to Lakeathon 07
4/11: About your correspondent
4/11: Trip from Chicago
4/12: Getting water wings
4/12: Early arrivals
4/13: Lakeathon Day 1
4/13-14: Aerial blogging
4/14: A busy day
4/15: Whoosh...
4/15: "Take the day off..."
4/16: Last day of Lakeathon
4/16: Lakeathon wrap-up
P.S. #1: Sun 'n Fun
P.S. #2: SnF Splash-in
P.S. #3: My sweetie...
P.S. #4: The trip home

Well, Paul Furnée convinced me that vortex generators were warranted, so while N8012D was at his shop getting fitted with VG's on Tuesday (4/17), I took the opportunity to make my first-ever trip to Sun 'n Fun, getting a literal lift from Myron Mitchell and John O'Keefe, in N84 Papa Fox.

First of all, let me say that 3 long-legged guys in a Buc is a squeeze. Four would be a virtual impossibility. Fred Weber (N8012D's previous owner) tells me he once took four people to the Bahamas in her. All I can conclude is that either Fred has small friends or they used a can opener to get out at the other end.

Second, it was fun to get to park at the seaplane section, and to see so many Lakes in attendance. I wonder if having Lakeathon just before Sun 'n Fun this year increased the turnout of Lakes at the latter.

As a regular Oshkosh attendee, I was looking forward to contrasting Sun 'n Fun with my own experiences.

Overall, it was very similar to OSH--thousands of planes in one place, with the event held together by the glue of volunteers. The scale is smaller--almost a little more "human-sized," mostly viewable in a day, and the pulse seems maybe a little more relaxed (tho' that might have been the first-day start-up effect.)

Plenty of cool planes to see.

My favorites included:

1) The Grumman Albatross belonging to Julie Fetcko, above (www.albatrosslady.com). You think a Lake as a complicated hydraulic system? Check out the wheel well of Julie's Albatross, right. By the way, she's a realtor, developing a combination airport/seaplane base/housing development. See her website for details.

2) The two 2-seat P-51 Mustangs (both dubbed "Crazy Horse") where you can take a ride (for over $2,000 as I recall) or get type-specific training before flying your own P-51 (for a lot more; visit http://www.stallion51.com).

3) The test bed Seawind being used to develop a certified version of the homebuilt amphibian. (Note the harpoon-shaped pitot boom, suitable for both flight data collection and high-speed whaling. They say they're hopeful of getting the certified version to do 200 mph in cruise...we'll see. It's not like extravagant claims of amphibian cruise performance haven't been made in the past!)

I am constantly amazed at fly-ins at the astounding array of methods that mankind has invented to get into the sky. Kind of reminds you how strong the pull of flight has been on human imagination for so long.

The last aircraft I'll note is the retired amphibian parked out back of the trade-show hangars. I don't know the actual history of the plane, but if you told me that somebody named Bubba had decided one day to turn his fishing boat and lawn chair into an airplane, I'd guess it'd look pretty much like this:

Thank you to Myron and John for the lift...if you'd like to see more of the photos from their Lakeathon odyssey, visit: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8BatmLluyZKM5Q)


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