Close to home - setting up in Van Nuys, CA

1903 Wright Flyer and F-117 Nighthawk

Just a note to let you know all went great on set up day. There is a college - Van Nuys Regional Occupational Center - next to the airport with aviation A&P classes. They went there to solicit volunteers to help us set up. They were able to get the number DOWN to 19 volunteers (We ask for 14). The 19 wouldn't take "No" for an answer! They ALL showed up and they were wonderful. Also, I met a former instructor from there who came by; he retired three years ago. He said that last year he received the Charlie Taylor Aviation Mechanics Award!

When he started his career, the military was going to send him to radio school, but he wanted to work jets. They said it wouldn't happen, so he went over to that group [jet mechanics] to see if he could get in. The guy that greeted him at the counter was an old college football buddy! His friend showed him the board and "how things worked". .....But at the end of the conversation, his name didn't appear under the radio class any longer...... It was under "jets". Great story, and the rest was history.

To the right of our hangar is the Ford Motor Company Centennial Display. I wanted to park my Camaro out in front, but they said "no". ;-) I have a feeling that there will be a lot of blue shirts lined up there. They have the Wright Flyer Simulator that Microsoft developed. That should be fun. To our left is the other airplane which appears with us on the publicity posters - the F-117A Stealth Fighter! It is flying in sometime tomorrow for Media Day. I talked to the troops at that hangar. That plane always has round the clock military guards in place.

They are expecting 300,000 over the two day show! For Leah's info. the show was advertised in the L.A. Times and the Daily News. Today, we were interviewed by a Times writer.

I was worried about the weather being too HOT here to enjoy the show. Today, we stood out in front of our hangar debating whether or not to go back to the cars and get our jackets - very overcast. Clarice said that has never happened before, they are hoping it will clear so the planes can go up. It is supposed to be a comfortable 75 degrees here for the show.

Jim Mendrela had a very long day. He started very early, and got some very COOL video footage thanks to his friend Walter Lutz. Walter took Jim up in his plane, having previously asked Bert his route and travel time. They flew out to the desert and got air footage of the truck driving in. We went to lunch after the set up and Jim played the video footage back on the built in screen along with set up footage. Lunch and a movie --- Okay!

Front view of the AIAA Wright Flyer at Van Nuys

Jim, Walt, Adolfo, Pam - anyone else, please add what I might have missed.

One funny story that I learned about..... We had a lot of folks waiting for the truck to arrive at 9:00 am, and Bert and the truck got caught up in some traffic. The guard at the gate had met us when we arrived - and knew the truck was coming. When Bert drove in, the guard said "You'll have to leave. The air show was canceled." Hee Hee! I'd love to have seen the look on Bert's face. ;=)

We lost the center piece on a turnbuckle. Adolfo is going to stop by Microcosm tomorrow afternoon - he thinks we have some at the project site which match.

More later,

Copyright 2003, AIAA Wright Flyer Project, all rights reserved.

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