Monday, September 9, 2013

The Plane Warming

No, I had never heard of a plane warming either, but then again I haven't had a great deal of experience in the realm of post-completion celebrations. But sure enough, there it was: an invitation to go down to Jackson to attend the airplane warming cookout with The Jackson Two. And when they combined 'warming' with 'cookout', well, they really meant it! But we'll get to that.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions for the event proved to be almost the very definition of 'flying weather', which would normally be considered a good thing. The problem was, of course, that I had no airplane to fly. In fact, I still don't. My little air buggy has been in the paint shop for four weeks now, and it feels like longer. I haven't made any attempt to check on the status - I figure they want it out of there every bit as much as I do and it will be done when it's done.

Balancing out the weather ledger a little bit was the fact that it was also very good convertible weather. Pete joined me for a nice hour and a half drive down to Jackson. We arrive about a half hour before the official scheduled beginning time and that worked out quite nicely - we got there just in time to get the one and only indoor parking spot.

What? Oh, yeah. You're right: that wasn't intended to be a parking spot. Oh well.

I'm not sure who was in charge of the cooking, but I sure was impressed with the technique they use down there. I think they matriculated at Burger King University.... Home of the Flame-Broiled Whopper!

As it turns out, it wasn't so much a technique as it was an accident. With the fire showing no sign of abating, it was determined that the lid should be closed. As I was watching the temperature rise on the thermometer, I couldn't help thinking that it was a real-life reenactment of the scene in every single submarine movie ever made when the boat is diving for the bottom of the ocean and all eyes are on the depth gauge as it goes ever further beyond the predicted crush depth:

At 900 feet degrees, it was further determined that perhaps closing the lid was not having the intended effect.

Oddly enough, the burgers that left their shadows behind turned out just fine.

They have a great hangar - it's on the end of the row, so it has tons of extra space and really great decorations. I particularly like the lamps made from old engine jugs. It's almost enough to convince me to try to find an old played-out Lycoming to make into lamps!

I simply cannot imagine how my Perseverance Award got lost in the mail. That is, as near as I can figure, the only reason I don't have one. When you consider that they started after me and finished before me, well... maybe it's not just time served that earns that award. My tenacity or stamina must have been in question.  Yeah, that must be it.  Anyway, well earned on their part.

The other pilots at the airport universally commented on how nice the paint looked. As impatient as I may be, at least I know that I am getting a high quality paint job.

Pete and I took a side tour. I met an older guy that told me that he had two biplanes - that was something we had to see!  The first is called a Fly Baby, and it more commonly built as a monoplane:

This one is an EAA biplane. This is the one I wanted to see the most - these pop up on Barnstormers now and then and are quite affordable, typically having asking prices right around what I'm paying for the paint on the -12.  If I could find a partner or two.... it might make sense to share a fun little open cockpit biplane.

The Fly Baby was a much simpler plane, but it had the appeal of looking more retro. I love the detail of the wood and guy wires.  Both of these planes were "plans built," which is the old school way of building an airplane. They bought boxes of wood and fabric that they hand-crafted into airplanes. I bought an airplane in a box and assembled it.

There is a world of difference between the two.

Back at the party, the cards determining each table's position in the food line were being handed out. I'm guessing that woman was satisfied with her assignment!

I wanted to wait around for the christening, but we had to head back north. I can only assume the airplane held up well against the force of the champagne bottle.

See 0:38 for what could have gone awry:

Despite the questionable burger cooking technique, the food was both plentiful and good!

The wives presented their husbands with just about the best thing you can give to an airplane owner: pictures of his plane in flight!

We headed out soon after that for another nice drive home, although having been moved out of the nice shaded car port did cause one little problem: the seats in the car were more toasty than the flaming grill!

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