Originally published June 1998
Okay, maybe not thousands. Would you believe...115? I never know whether to trust reports from the Project Police Really Incredibly Large Office of Overstated Exaggerations. Anyway, on with the story...
On 16 May 1998, the Project Police of Chapter 1000 opened the doors of their hospitality suite once again to welcome both their own and EAAers everywhere in the spirit of friendship and with promises of not demanding the usual chocolate chip cookie (C3) tribute. EAAers from the world over (or at least near by) flocked to the field to join in the festivities and try their hand at the spot landing contest. These are the chronicles of events.
Unfortunately, there was a fly in the ointment. However, since it was getting dark, we didn't need the ointment. What we did need was tables! We had enough for serving and plenty of chairs, but nowhere to set your plate for eating...Hmmm, not a good way to impress the incoming hordes with the omnipotence of the Project Police....
Acting semi-unilaterally, Russ Erb and George Gennuso hatched a recovery plan. They met at the Skypark early the next morning, unloaded the Pedal Pitts, and headed back toward the base. Eight 8-foot and four 6-foot tables were secured from the Outdoor Rec Center and quickly sprited back to the Fly-In site, much to the relief of the now assembled Arlene Martinez, Jack Roth, and Glenna and Charlie Wagner. The CAP cadets had already set up the chairs as though someone was giving a presentation. The arrangement was quickly rearranged to accept the tables.
Shortly thereafter, the guest of honor, Scott "Doc" Horowitz arrived in the back of his astronaut limousine, cleverly disguised as chauffeur Norm Howell's SUV. Doc arrived to the sound of Norm commanding "Ruffles and Flourishes for the arriving Astronaut!" Russ Erb, being one of the few people who may have understood the order, obliged with the obligatory "Da-di-di-da-da-daaaaah." Check with an authority on military music to find out how that really goes.
Doug "Opie" Dodson, former Chapter 1000 Prezident, commandeered some of us to assist him in unloading his Glasair II FT and Gail Nusz's Midget Mustang out of a Ryder truck into Gail's hangar. Doug was out from Det 4 on a house-hunting trip in preparation for the closing of Det 4 next month and his return to the staff of the USAF Test Pilot School. With the assembled group of pilots, flight test engineers, and astronaut we managed to get the aircraft out of the truck with no noticeable damage.
And the masses came, ate, and were filled. Once again this year, Glenna Wagner did what she does better than any of us. She planned and provisioned a wonderful feast of Polish Sausage dogs with a more than complete smorgasbord of side dishes. Drinks of all types were readily available. Complementing Glenna's work were grill-meisters George Gennuso and Jack Roth. Complimenting Glenna's work was everybody present. A critical test dog, selected at random, was found to be outstanding by the Chapter Information Czar. Glenna and her RV-6A building husband Charlie and daughter Lisa are moving north to Fallon NV. When Charlie finally finishes the airplane, he sez that they will be back for chapter events. We just hope Glenna leaves us a good clue-bag on how to do this before we do it again next year!
Chapter 1000 also thanks Olaf Landsgaard for the use of the main FBO hangar at Rosamond Skypark for our little bash.
Like most fly-ins, the heavy duty action started the night before the airplanes started arriving. Jack Roth had delivered tables, chairs, and the now famous Chapter Booth to the airport, but was unable to stick around to set it up. Russ Erb arrived with the grill in tow. As an original member of the Booth Construction Battalion, he tried to dig up sufficient memory of how the booth was assembled to guide George Heddy, Sten Martinez, and Arlene Martinez through the booth setup procedure. It was at this time that we discovered one of the hazards of having a Chapter Booth designed by a Master Engineer and assembled by a team of homebuilders to exacting tolerances: Thanks to El Niño (a.k.a. "Mr. Ninny" around here), the additional wetness in the ambient atmosphere had caused the wood to swell in excess of its original assembled dimensions. Stated alternatively, it was difficult getting some of the parts to fit. With EAA ingenuity and the help of a persuader (i.e. hammer) we managed to get it together.
This photo also documents compliance with the unwritten fly-in rules. If I told you what they were here, then they wouldn't be unwritten anymore. Suffice it to say that a U.S. Flag and an EAA banner were prominently displayed.
A Rosamond newspaper reporter was so excited about the prospects of a fly-in in his own town hosted by the Internet- and EAA-wide famous Chapter 1000 that he came out to cover the excitement. In his pursuit of the truth about the Project Police, he was able to do something that we haven't been able to do for years...namely, get the assembled members of Chapter 1000 to actually assemble long enough to have their photo taken. Take note, Bob Mackey! If anyone saw the resulting newspaper article, please make it available to the Project Police Security Squad so we can see which of our non-secrets were released.
Conspicuous in his absence was Project Police Kommandant and Chapter 1000 Prezident Gary Aldrich. While on record as saying he wanted to be there, we were out-prioritized by something about he had to be in Northern California for his daughter's graduation from college. The Project Police staff decided to let it slide this time, but recommended that to make up for it he should bring his daughter and the rest of his family to the Eighth Annual Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In in 1999.
Chapter 1000 member Jenna Ware of Oxnard CA was the winner of the 1998 Spot Landing Contest. She was presented with her plaque (ADA approved) by Newsletter Editor and Webmeister Russ Erb. Russ was chosen for this esteemed duty because, well, he was available. Jenna was also presented with a bottle of Racer's Edge aircraft polish, courtesy of Chapter 1000 member Larry Sweetser.
Jenna joins an esteemed group of aeronauts known for superb aviating with regard to ground references. Previous winners include Bill Crawford (1994), Steve Irving (1996), and Ozzie Levi (1997).
And she even did it without the aid of flaps! This is Jenna's Cessna 120, emblazoned on the side with "Jenna's Dream." This is a wonderful little airplane, with an interior that looks better than we suspect it did rolling out of the door in Wichita. Our favorite part of the panel was a placard that reminded the pilot "Don't Do Anything Dumb!"
Winners of the People's Choice award were Chapter 49 members Rick and Don Lapinsky for their "Ragwing Special." This aircraft was selected by the highly scientific, complex, and All-American method of letting the assembled masses vote. We decided to grant them the award, even though not one person identified the aircraft by its proper name. Most were some variation of "Pitts Ultralite." The plaque was presented by the namesake of our annual event, Scott "Doc" Horowitz. Rick and Don were also presented with a bottle of Racer's Edge aircraft polish.
Previous winners of the People's Choice Award are Ray Modert (Lancair, 1994), and Scott Liefeld (Pietenpol Aircamper, 1995).
The Project Police suspect that this piece of tail art on the Ragwing Special may have had something to do with its sweep in the polls.
Scott "Doc" Horowitz, NASA Astronaut, Hubble Space Telescope Mechanic, and Charter Member of EAA Chapter 1000, was able to arrange his schedule this year to appear at his namesake fly-in. Where else but Chapter 1000 would somebody make a big enough impression to be invited back each year just to be sent away again? Scott had arrived the day prior in his NASA Aero Club T-38, which he landed at Edwards after a fly-by of Rosamond Skypark the previous day. This was Scott's 4th fly-in that he actually made it to, having also attended in 1992 (the original going away fly-in), 1995, and 1996.
Here Scott addresses the assembled masses, telling us about how our chapter newsletter circulates around the Astronaut Office, and usually garners him "extra attention" and ribbing whenever his name shows up in it.
Of course, as always, we had such a great time that we're going to do it all over again next year!
In the final analysis, we did reasonably well this year, having sold about 115 lunches. While we had hoped to sell about twice that many, Mr. Ninny had other ideas. Although the weather here in the Antelope Valley was quite acceptable for a fly-in, all of the approaches from "Down Below" (not to be confused with "Down Under," Graham) and Bakersfield were blocked by excessive cumulo-puffys. As such, the threatened large invasion fleet from Chapter 1 was foiled, with the only Chapter 1 members making it through included three who slid in under the radar in their ground assault vehicle and one who arrived by air too late to have much effect. Don and Don from Chapter 7 made it in, and a small group of flour bombers (including John Burchak) from Apple Valley. The expected masses from the Bakersfield Bunch and Fresno were totally defeated by the weather in their attempts to cash in on the fun. This would have been great, except that the plan this time was to welcome everyone IN! Oh, well. Maybe next year...
Even though we only had half the expected turnout, Prezident Aldrich reports we still got away with a profit of $350! Can't shake a towbar at that! Much of the credit again goes to Glenna, who had cleverly planned another event shortly after ours with the same menu! As a result, she was able to buy back much of the unused foodstuffs on that other event's account.
We're hoping that by next year, Mr. Ninny will have had his fun and our High Desert weather will be back to its usual clear and warm self. Mark your calendars with the tentative date of 15 May 1999 for the Eighth Annual Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In!
See more details and more pictures in full color in the report on the Chapter Web Site!
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 -- 14 March 1999