|In keeping with historical precedent, a duly authorized Project Police Tactical Assault Force (PPTAF) was formed to execute Operation Rubidoux Sundown VII. On the occasion of the EAA Chapter 1 Open House each February, the Project Police are called upon to inspect the happenings at Flabob International Airport to ensure the maintenance of the highest levels of EAA craftsmanship, eat, rouse some rabble, and generally have a good time and encourage others to do the same.|
|The mission started out pretty much like they all do. Various members of the PPTAF gathered at their dispersed airfields and not-so-secret hangars to properly preflight their Aerial Assault Vehicles. Here Vice Kommandant George Gennuso assists with the inspection of Kommandant Gary Aldrich's VC-180 Fighting Skywagon.|
|The Project Police are strong believers in the axiom "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Thus, we once again flew to the pre-raid staging point at Apple Valley (APV) airport for final briefings and a chance for a good breakfast.
Present for the final briefings were Gail Nusz, Jenna Ware as the Project Police K-9 Support Unit with Project Police Dog (PPD) Counselor Troy, George Gennuso, Doug Dodson, Miles Bowen, Gary Aldrich, John Bush, and Russ Erb. Also present as acting photographer was Mandy Scott.
Following the requisite photo shoot, the Confederate Air Force (CAF) safety briefing was issued (Don't hit each other, and don't do nuthin' dumb!), as was the navigation briefing (After takeoff, maintain runway heading. When Flabob appears underneath you, descend, enter the pattern, and land.). The PPTAF members stepped to their respective aircraft and set out for their objective.
|Some of the Project Police Aerial Assault Vehicles on the flight line at Apple Valley. Shown are Secretary Bowen's VC-170, Kommandant Gary Aldrich's VC-180, John Bush's LC-140, and an unidentified C-172. The 172 never made it to Flabob.|
|Jenna Ware and Counselor Troy led off the attack in the AK-35 Bonanza with the stealth V-tail.|
|John Bush and Mandy Scott follow in the LC-140.|
|Number 3 in the "loose" formation (same way, same day) were Gail Nusz and Doug Dodson in the M-201.|
|Once again, EAA Chapter 1 was throwing up the usual defenses against all attackers, primarily in the undefined traffic pattern. Mount Rubidoux was again cleverly placed to block the optimum turn point from downwind to base, forcing everybody to decide whether to turn inside or outside of the mountain. The resulting gross buffoonery and furball effectively kept all attackers more interested in avoiding each other than in getting a good bead on the target. To further increase the confusion, two aircraft, possibly planted by the Flabobians, decided not to review the pattern procedures prior to takeoff, but rather to discuss them over the CTAF upon arrival. To further confuse the attackers, they decided to follow the exact opposite path that everyone else was obviously following.
Using tactics adapted from the Gulf War, the members of the PPTAF finally made it onto the runway, where they were confronted by the Flabobian Marshalling Team. Taking a cue from Solomon, competing marshallers tried to send the pilot's half of the airplane to the left and the copilot's half to the right. Failing to see the wisdom in that, we decided to go to the right because that marshaller's truck was bigger. The end result was that all of the Project Police Aerial Assault Vehicles were spread out all over the field. The Flabobians may have thought this would weaken our effort, but much to their dismay it merely meant we were able to start the inspection at multiple locations simultaneously as we regrouped.
We noted only token resistance in the form of a few hastily assembled 8.5x11 poster-ettes scattered haphazardly around the field. Having previously identified the core of their resistance unit, the Project Police had ensured that Virgil Polit was kept sufficiently busy building his Kitfox (getting close to flying!) that he was unable to make his services available to the Flabobians. After all, the Project Police are welcome everywhere. It says so in our bylaws...
The Kommandant and Webmeister did notice that the airport structures had returned to some level of normalcy since their last visit during Operation PROVIDE SCHMOOZE. These structures once again looked more like Southern California and less like some Hollywood set-dresser's idea of a Philipine village.
Scouring the field for familiar faces, we saw Bill Aronson proudly displaying his EAA Chapter 1000 nametag. The Rosamond Skypark Low-Speed Attack Bunch of Scott Liefeld (Pietenpol), Tony Ginn (Aeronca Chief), and Gary and Connie Trippensee (Luscombe) finally arrived, and set about distracting the locals from the efforts of the Project Police. Jack Huffman was seen with his Cardinal, complete with his bring-your-own-marshaller Jack Hakes. Bob and Carol Hoey were seen with their classic BD-4. Frank Roncelli, Doug Triplat and Herb Carlson were spotted, but with undefined methods of transportation. There may have been others, but my memory is only so good.
To list those who weren't there, there was...(wait a minute, I'd like to finish this today)...never mind.
|The Project Police noted the interesting paint job on this RV-6 owned by Roger Hansen of San Ramon CA. He told us that he painted the basic color, but that the dragon was painted by a friend of his. He did say that if he had known the Project Police were coming, he would have at least cleaned the dust off. Since we couldn't see what this had to do with MEDEVAC operations, his plea fell on deaf ears. It was hardly an excuse, since they never knew when the Spanish Inquisition was coming either. Otherwise it was a nice looking aircraft.
The Project Police also noted that Jan Johnson has finally accepted the power of the Project Police, in that her Woody Pusher was nowhere to be found on the field this year. Having previously been cited for no visible means of propulsion, we can only surmise that it was kept hidden to avoid a repeated citation.
|The Project Police are concerned not only with safety and workmanship in the present day but historically as well. A high point of each year's Operation Rubidoux Sundown *.* is a visit to Bill Turner's Repeat Aircraft. Having found Bill's latest project, a reproduction of Roscoe Turner's 1939 Thompson Trophy Winner "Champion," Miles Bowen and George Gennuso stand guard as Doug Dodson performs an extensive inspection of the landing gear installation. Gary Aldrich checks with the Project Police Archives by phone to double check an aspect of the reproduction thought to possibly be inaccurate. After several hours of exhaustive inspection, no squawks were found to cite Roscoe Turner for. Several suggestions were offered by the Project Police to Bill Turner, some in the area of wall covering material, which were all summarily ignored.|
|Leo Williams, recent new member of Chapter 1000 and member of the Special Operations Forward Recce Team, is seen on his stealth Project Police Ground Assault Vehicle. George Gennuso, official Project Police Picture Pointer (P4), (not to be confused with P5), correctly identifies the Project Police Aerial Assault Vehicle placard, slightly modified and pressed into service in an alternate role. Leo arrived early that morning by heavily disguised 1966 Ford Van to secure the field for arrival of the main PPTAF strike force. He has also taken up the role of making PPTAF uniform apparel more readily available.
Prior to taking this picture, at this same location numerous pictures were taken of the PPTAF by a group of folks claiming to represent Pacific Flyer. Due to the classified nature of this work in progress, these photos cannot be divulged in this forum. We gave them our web site address and told them much about the Project Police, which they will presumably use to create some facts to support some story they might invent about what might have happened. Finding us to be of kindred spirit, they considered hiring us on right there on the spot, but showing good judgement, chose not to share this thought with us.
During this photo shoot, we were joined by PPO Charleen Beam, who had been seen previously giving out with the usual Aircraft Spruce & Specialty propaganda, code name "free catalog." Of course, trooper that she is, she was properly outfitted in her PPTAF uniform, and narrowly escaped being cited again under the "no whining" clause.
Once again the Project Police investigated the nutritional (and not-so-nutritional) offerings of the Flabobians. You would think that by now with all of the information about the Project Police available in the open literature, they would have C3s (Chocolate Chip Cookies) available to appease the Project Police. But alas, they insist on doing it the hard way.
Once again, there was a severe lack of cheese on the cheeseburgers. It was so bad that they dared not even call them "cheeseburgers," choosing the less descriptive "hamburgers" instead. Worse yet, Gail Nusz and Doug Dodson noted the lack of cheese on their Phily-Steak Cheese sandwiches.
|Unbeknownst to the Project Police, the Flabobians must have been studying John Worden's 5 rings theory of centers of gravity. (If you have no idea what this is, get a book and study the design of the air war in Desert Storm.) Rather than trying to take out the entire PPTAF, they decided to concentrate on the leadership. The trap was set when Doug Dodson, an unknowing accomplice, informed Kommandant Aldrich that the steak sandwich line was significantly shorter than the hamburger line. In deference to his well known preference for steak sandwiches, and positioning himself for a no-notice open-ranks inspection, Kommandant Aldrich upgraded his hamburger coupon for a steak sandwich. Smugly thinking he had beaten the system, he took up his place in line as shown here. However, just as he got to the front of the line, the cooked supply of sandwiches ran out, and another one was started. By the time he got to the table with his sandwich, the remainder of the PPTAF had finished their respective sandwiches.|
|But even this minor setback (who's bending metal?) did not slow down the Project Police on their mission to investigate all that was to be investigated. Here they find a Cessna 172 which is obviously used by the "P"roject "P"olice, but was unknown to the members of the team. A later search of secret databases (www.landings.com) showed the aircraft to be registered to a John Findley of Riverside. Perhaps an inside man so secret that his mere existence is unknown even to the Project Police? Did we just blow his cover? The investigation continues.|
|In a demonstration of the power of the Project Police, the sun was forced to set over Mount Rubidoux in honor of Operation Rubidoux Sundown VII. Flabobians and astute students of astronomy should notice quickly the exceptionally unusual nature of this demonstration, just by inspection of this photograph.|
|The Project Police are nothing if not thorough. Spotting this building obviously marked for use in the Young Eagles program, an investigation into its mission suitability was launched. Here selected members of the PPTAF are seen checking the integrity of the wall construction. Nothing is insignificant when it comes to the safety of the aviators of tomorrow. Due to complex nature and importance of this task, the Project Police enlisted the aid of several Flabobians. As seen here, Prezident Jack Gentry points out suspected weak areas, while Newsletter Editor D.K. Heller helps Miles Bowen apply sufficient force to the wall for proper evaluation. Former Prezident Jan Johnson stands by with her namesake hammer to help shore up any weak spots, and an unidentified Flabobian stands by with a broomstick to test higher areas if required.
Don't believe anything you may read from the Flabobians as to what was going on in this picture. That's our version of the truth and we're sticking to it.
|Here the Project Police stand watch to ensure a smooth transition of power at EAA Chapter 1 in the best traditions of our constitutional form of government. Here Jan Johnson passes the Prezidential Hammer to incoming Prezident Jack Gentry. Not all members of the PPTAF are present as it is critical to keep our forces dispersed in case of terrorist attack.|
|Having been pleased with what we saw, the Project Police declared "Victory!" and left the diplomatic power of EAA Chapter 1 intact to ensure stability in the region. That, and to make sure they were around to put on another Open House next year so we could come back and "inspect" again. All Project Police Aerial Assault Vehicles were then cleared to return to their dispersed bases.|
|Having successfully completed our mission, the Kommandant and the Secretary decided to fill some "close" formation (in sight of each other) squares on the way back.|
|Here we see the VC-170 over the EAA Chapter 1000 primary base of operations, Edwards Air Force Base.|
|Our mission complete, we returned the VC-180 to its home base at William J. Fox Field. The PPTAF then dispersed, once again blending into the population, ready to reform at a moment's notice. Okay, maybe a week's notice.|
To the members of Chapter 1: Thanks for another great party! We expect you to return the favor by coming to visit us on 15 May 1999 at the Eighth Annual Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In at Rosamond Skypark (L00)! But don't get complacent--the Project Police will be back to check up on you again next year--you can count on it!!
Operation Rubidoux Sundown I - the original raid, 1993
Operation Rubidoux Sundown II - the first airborne assault, 1994
(Operation Rubidoux Sundown III, 1995 was cancelled "A" for weather)
Operation Rubidoux Sundown IV - EAA Headquarters gets involved, 1996
Operation Rubidoux Sundown V - Check out those "cool" (hot?) new uniforms, 1997
Operation Rubidoux Sundown VI - Newsletter Report, 1998
Operation Rubidoux Sundown VI - Pictorial Report, 1998
Visitors Since 28 February, 1999:
Contents of The Leading Edge and these web pages are the viewpoints of the authors. No claim is made and no liability is assumed, expressed or implied as to the technical accuracy or safety of the material presented. The viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of Chapter 1000 or the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Revised -- 17 April 1999