Friday, October 18

How We Do It Part Two

Dan's SNJ with Flagship in Rome, GA

On Saturday morning four pilots left early to attend the pilot briefing where the Air Boss tells them how the flying part of the show will work and all the rules and regs. The remaining crew came soon after to set up for showtime. The crew was met by two very eager ROTC members, juniors at the local high school, who helped us unload the airplane and set up the tent. There is Judy's sound equipment plus the tent, table, set up box and merchandise to deal with. Both Sheryl and Gladys are wearing stewardess uniforms and so are somewhat limited in their participation, but they pitch in anyway. There is a lot to do in a short time.
Gladys Main with Ladies for Liberty
Our pilots returned just as the crowd was starting to gather and we take our places. Judy is near the tail singing songs from the 30's and 40's, telling the history of the plane and encouraging people to join the foundation. Gladys is inside the door of the airplane and one or two pilots are stationed inside the cockpit. Sheryl is usually at the table and another person is at the bottom of the stairs directing traffic into the plane and chatting with our visitors. The remaining people patrol the perimeter talking to the passers by and protecting the flight surfaces from damage. We all rotate positions during the day and take turns going to lunch.
Today we have visitors, Jim and Carol Jones flew their Swift up from Madison and are parked nearby. I have never seen an air show where they actually taxi aircraft through the crowds to park (they do have folks in golf carts clearing the way). Gene Christian's daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Taylor Martin, drove from Dawsonville. Flagship pilot, Dan Gabel and his friend, Norm flew Dan's SNJ over from Hunstville, AL and are parked behind us on the grass.
There was one unsettling incident when Blake noticed two children playing merrily in the open cockpit of Jim's plane while their grandmother took pictures. This is an unbelievable breach of protocol and there were harsh word directed at the adult who should have been in charge. After all, would one blithely enter another person's automobile?
Sky Typers
The air show is a good one in spite of the fact that military participation was squelched by the sequester. There is a private jet precision team, some comic routines, and other formation fliers. But the one that was new to me was the sky typers. Sort of like sky writing but they let out puffs of smoke that form letters that look like typewiter print (see photo). The Ladies for Libery singers came by to view the plane and Judy invited them to sing a few songs for us, which they did.
The big surprise is that we sold a flight, which happened at 1PM in the middle of the show. We parked in a slightly different position when we returned and by then the crowd was waning so the afternoon was a little lower pressure.
Saturday evening there is another participant party and we are told it starts immediately after the show. Our information is it is after six when food and beverage is offered. But soon we were are enjoying a nice barbeque dinner as the Ladies for Liberty entertain. Following was a rather extended awards ceremony where the performers and organizers congratulated one another. A band was scheduled after that, but our crew headed to the hotel for some rest for the day ahead.
Rick Smail having a good time in left seat.
Sunday was a smaller crowd that peaked later as is to be expected. The crew is a bit slower moving as the fatigue is starting to build up. We have arrived with luggage as we are leaving right after the show. It was another perfect fall day. The gas truck is to show up at 4PM with our allotment of free gas and then we will leave as soon after the show ends at 5 as is feasible. Well, like in a lot of plans with this business, plans do not always work. It is almost 6 when the gas truck comes. The crowd and most of the participants and vendors have packed up and left. It was pretty close to sun down when we finally left, but we enjoyed a flight home in semi darkness, watching the lights below. Putting the plane up, stowing luggage and piling seven into Gene's Suburban takes time and sometime after 8, we are at IHOP for supper. Looking around the table everyone looks very tired. Then we discover that one suitcase is missing. So some return to the airport to pull the props through to prevent a hydraulic lock and retrieve the suitcase. It is 10PM before everyone is back where they are spending the night.

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