Inside Airshows – Part 2: With a Mic in My Hand – Audio Episode Show Notes

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedNarratorWithPreRoll2.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

A narrator can make or break an airshow act.  Especially for an audience that doesn’t understand what it’s seeing.

You’ve heard me say it before.  John Mohr, Greg Koontz, Kent Pietsch, and others cast pearls before swine.  I don’t mean to sound rude or elitist.  It’s just true.  Most of the audience has no idea how difficult some of those maneuvers are.  You and I know that it’s very often not how fast but how slow, and not how high but how low, that is the really amazing thing about an airshow performance.

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If the announcer isn’t there telling the crowd  what to look for, there’s no way they’ll get it.  Take John Mohr.  He rolls a stock Stearman inverted low to the ground.  He holds it there until the engine sputters and eventually quits from fuel exhaustion.  The Stearman has a very slow roll rate.  If John doesn’t do a lot of things right – and immediately – he’ll make contact with the ground inverted in an open-cockpit aircraft.  He has to know without a doubt that he can get the aircraft rolled upright in time to either get the engine restarted or land on the wheels. [Read more...]

Inside Airshows – Part 1: Running Away to Join the Circus – Audio Episode Show Notes

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedCircusWithPreRoll.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

There are three things you need to know about yourself.  Who you are, what you want to be, and, if there’s a difference between the two, what you’re going to do about that difference every day for the rest of your life.

Sometimes, the act of answering those questions creates a change that alters who you are in profound ways.  I answered those questions in 1998 after I watched the Tom-Hanks-produced HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  Being honest, the answers were (1) law student and soon-to-be-lawyer, (2) astronaut, and (3) – well, what?

Shortly after passing the bar and beginning law practice, I decided to look into flight training.  Even knowing that becoming an astronaut was a non-starter, being the pilot in command of an aircraft was a pretty good step in that direction and it gave me most of what I needed in the way of inspiration.

It wasn’t long after becoming a pilot and beginning to add additional ratings and endorsements that I began to regularly go to airshows.  The desire to get close to airshows largely spawned the podcast to which you’re now listening, still active more than seven years and 200 episodes later.

I’ve been in the photo pit and on the ramp and actually inside the airshow box during shows for years.  I remain thankful to Roger Bishop, Patti Mitchell, Brett Bailey, and others at airshows from Battle Creek to Indy and otherwise for truly wonderful access.

But the perspective that I had, and that I conveyed, was that of a fan.  There’s nothing wrong with being a fan.  But I wanted to go deeper.  I wanted to know what it was like to be a part of the show.  To get so close to the performers, the crews, the air boss, the announcer, and the others who actually put on a show that I could tell a real story from that perspective. [Read more...]

Airspeed GWL RapidCast – AC-47 Spooky

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedGWLSpooky.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

The American Flight Museum brought its AC-47 out onto the ramp for the Gathering of Warbirds and Legends this weekend.  Ed Van Morlan talked to us at length about the aircraft and its mission.

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Ed broke out the gunsight and showed us where it’s installed for combat missions.  It’s used by the pilot to aim the two GE rotary miniguns on the left side, just aft of the wing.

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Here are the guns.  This is a pretty typical installation, which is to say inadequate for the power of the guns.  I’m told that it was not uncommon for the guns to come loose from their moorings in the floor of the aircraft.  The AC-47 was the proof of concept that eventually led to the AC-130 and more purpose-built weapons systems.

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Here are those guns, just aft of the left wing root.  It seems to me that the aircrew had a huge incentive to make sure that the guns were aimed reasonably well.  The stream of fire comes pretty darned close to the left aileron and/or wingtip.

 

Airspeed GWL RapidCast – Karl Stoltzfus and C-47 Miss Virginia

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedGWLMissVirginia.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

Karl Stoltzfus of Dynamic Aviation flew this beautiful DC-3/C-47 to Topeka to show her off to this crowd.  His grandson, Gabriel (7) joined him to talk about the aircraft and its renovation.

Airspeed GWL RapidCast – Greg Smith and his Beech 18

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These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/airspeed/AirspeedGWLBeech18.mp3.  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

We ambushed Greg Smith out on the ramp here at Topeka to talk about his Beech 18.

imageGreg uses the 18 as a go-places aircraft.  It’s onfigured for passenger use, much like the executive transport aircraft of the period, as opposed to moving freight, like many of the other Beech 18s on the ramp.