Q-talk 53 - Sep/Oct 1995 - index
- Category: Q-Talk Index
- Published: Tuesday, 31 October 1995 06:11
- Written by Tom Moore
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ISSUE NUMBER 53
QUICKIE BUILDERS ASSOCIATION
by Jim Masal
Just imagine this: 5, count 'em, 5 single seat Quickies coming straight at you, line abreast, 15 feet off the grass (and maybe even lower!). That happened at Ottawa '95. Imagine 20 builders wives on a planned motor coach shopping trip to Kansas City all but hijacking the driver then re-routing the itinerary to suit their own whims AND THEN plotting a revision to our banquet awards agenda. That happened at Ottawa '95. A first flight, that happened at Ottawa '95. Imagine a transient Starduster pilot flat spinning inverted to his death a couple hundred yards west of the main runway on a bright Sunday morning in front of a large crowd of Q/DRers who were stretching the joy of the previous day for a few last moments before departing on a satisfied trip home. That happened at Ottawa. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
Except for the sobering reality at the end, this was the best overall Ottawa event we've had. Guess what? The weather never went to poop as in the past, and, therefore, while we didn't have the highest count of aircraft ever, we didn't miss it by much. Take a look:
(EW = Empty weight; HI = Highest Level Speed; TT = Total Time; MTB = Months To Build)
Three cheers for Jon Finley's organizing efforts with the Q-1 guys. We tied an Oshkosh record for number of single Quickies on the ground at a fly-in/airshow, but we established the world record for number of Quickies in the air simultaneously occupying the same 30-yard square block of airspace. And we have it on tape!
As I said, we finally got our fair share of good weather. We had lots of fun in the fly-bys and many, many rides were given. And that provoked something I'd like your opinion on for next year. Many pilots are generous about riding folks and while they don't complain, they are burning fuel that just maybe we should graciously compensate them for. Should we ask the riders for a donation? Should we pass the hat? Whaddayu guys think is reasonable?
Once again, our Ottawa University banquet was a grand success. We got off the line a little slow due to a "numbers" disagreement with a new food service manager, but there was way plenty food for the 102 eaters. I started after the chow with my usual brief introductions of participants. We had a little '90's' social training for those who neglected to introduce their ladies and we had a great deal of comedy both expected and surprised. Then we had some awards:
Best Quickie: Terry Crouch, IA
Best Q2/200: Paul Fisher, IL
Best Q2/200 Interior: Ernest Martin, NC
Best Dragonfly: Wayne Ulvestad, MN
Best Dragonfly Interior: Bruce Dixon, KS
As started last year, Don Stewart and wife Debbie were on deck to do a professional videotape of our activities. They decided to bestow some "gag" awards on a few lucky souls, e.g. Shortest Distance to the Fly-In, 0 miles, Bruce Dixon, who hangars his D-Fly at the airport. I can't remember the others but they were hilarious and are probably on the tape.
Unbeknownst to me, the ladies on the bus trip to KC concocted their own gag awards and brashly interrupted my agenda as I was moving to door prizes, asking me to yield the floor to Mrs. Masal. I couldn't imagine what was up. There followed a half hour of great and good-natured YUKS in response to Mary's delivery of builder awards as viewed from the wives' perspective. They included:
HONEY, IT'S A BARGAIN AWARD - To Rick Markle who found a $500 Quickie but totaled his wife Janna's care as he trailered it back home. Didn't hurt the plane!
LEARN TO SAY NO AWARD - To Waldo Born who bought a flyable Dragonfly then took it apart and now is so busy helping others that he has no time to reassemble his plane.
HAZARDOUS DUTY AWARD - To Howard Hardy who over several years coming to Ottawa: blew an oil filter over the field, broke a prop on an aborted takeoff, blew off an oil hose, cracked a spinner and once had his Q200 fall off his trailer going down the highway. Yikes!
Q2 TRAILERED TO THE MOST LOCATIONS - To Nancy and Jerry Marstall: NH, MA, NC, GA, NC again.
and there were more.
THEN, we got to the door prizes. WICKS donated a very nice radio and a truckload of catalogs. They have supported us from the start so please give them a shot at your purchasing dollar. Other door prizes included a number of minor trinkets I've picked up at airshow Fly-Markets.
We spent a few minutes discussing improvements to our Fly-In and then made our exhausted way back to our beds.
Sunday morning, departure day, was a very nice one. On arriving at the field, I was told with great glee that Bruce Dixon's plane took air for the first time in Sunday morning's stillness. Fred Weebe at the controls and no surprises. They had tried to get it secretly done on Saturday at dawn but a fast moving clot of thundershowers came flying through just then. (Dixon's plane had looked ready to us for nearly 3 years, so he had been taking considerable flak about his hangar Queen.) This plane is absolutely gorgeous too!
Everybody was meandering around the tarmac committing aviation, taking rides, chattering on, packing and fueling to leave and generally trying up loose ends with new found friends and old acquaintances. Transient planes, out for a Sunday fly-about came in and out. A very nice Starduster came in almost ignored. The pilot hopped out, put on a parachute then got in and taxied out again. Maybe he saw a nice crowd and decided to put on a show. I began to hear the pulsing engine roar common to aerobatic gyrations. Moments later an odd sound caused me to look up just as this aircraft slammed into the ground in an inverted flat spin. He was just 150 yards west of the main runway. He was dead when the first of us got there. No fire. But it cast a pall over the airport.
By the end of that day here was the combination of fact (and possibly myth) that I picked up. He was in his fifties and practicing for a low level aerobatic waiver from the FAA in order to participate in an upcoming Joplin airshow. He was said to have started a hammerhead stall but the plane was not vertical and went over its back in a spin. He started low, possibly around 2,000 ft., had power on in the spin almost to the end, but not enough altitude to recover.
Now for those of you who were sickened by this event, and many saw it happen, let me remind you that there was not a pilot out on that ramp Sunday who at one time or another didn't express that he'd like to die with his boots on. Mr. Starduster pilot died with his boots on. And somebody noticed that as he taxied by us on the way out to the runway in that pretty little Starduster, he had a smile on his face. Remember THAT image when you are tempted to be sad.
So, we ended on a down note. The runway was finally cleared of every fire truck that even the tiniest jerkwater town within a 50-mile radius could send. And then everyone faded into the distance. Except for Conlin, whose alert co-pilot found a cracked prop on pre-flight. A spare was airlinered in from Houston by that evening and Mike left the next day. And except for the guy with the sputtering engine who showed up around noon. Guess who? ... Howard Hardy. Spud and company started tearing into his carburetor. Eventually I started interviewing his wife Nancy. She reported smelling fuel on her side of the cockpit. How could that be? I suspected some kind of vent problem because I remembered Art Jewett declaring a post takeoff emergency at one of our Springfield, MO meets a few years back. Art's engine began running erratically just after takeoff. The problem was a fuel filler cap that had been cross-threaded, thus opening the tank up to the vacuum effect of outside airflow. Somebody found a disconnect in Hardy's vent line inside the cockpit. I think Spud found some minimal junk in the carb too. Anyway, Howard and Nancy got off the next a.m. and arrived home in Colorado with no further scares. Wives, stay alert for you may hear or smell something important. And mechanics, don't forget to query the wife/co-pilot for valuable clues to an aircraft malady.
Let's do it again, eh? Only let's bring more airplanes so more of us can join the in-air stuff too!
A couple of personal notes for those who asked me. YAY, my concrete hangar floor was poured just after OSH and I now have airplane stuff in it. BOO, my dad died Oct. 15 which has something to do with the lateness of this newsletter.
Other Articles In This Issue
SHOTS FROM OTTAWA - by Tom Moore
CLASSIFIEDS - by Tom Moore
QUICKPIX - by Tom Moore
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