Blue Mooney Approaching Fisk…Rock Your Wings


Flying to the annual EAA fly-in at Oshkosh is an adventure but it isn’t too bad if you prepare for it. With 10,000 or more planes in the area, the tower becomes the busiest in the world and pilots wanting to land there must know what to expect. I flew there three years in a row and had no problems but just about every year planes crash mostly when landing or taxiing.

Basically, pilots are expect to maintain a specific heading and speed, monitor different frequencies at different times, follow landmarks such as railroad tracks, maintain 1/2 mile separation from the plane in front, acknowledge tower instructions by rocking their wings – not talking, watch for other aircraft, land on a specific runway, and land on the designated painted spot on that runway.

ImageThe diagram above shows the path taken to land on Rwy 27, which I did twice, Rwy 36 once.

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After I left Fisk, Holly took this photo of the field which shows Rwy 9/27 (on the left side of the photo)  which is the runway I’ll be landing on.  But first, I head north past the runway, turn east for the downwind leg, then out over the lake for the base leg, then west for the final leg.

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Now I’m heading due north and will be turning east in a few seconds and fly parallel to the runway I’ll be landing on.  I will park where all the planes are parked to the right of the runway.

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I’m over the lake and the tower already told me where to land on the runway – at the red spot right in the middle.  When I touched down, there was a plane taxiing in front of me and a plane landing at the end of the runway behind me. If you want to know what all this sounds like, listen to the You Tube video on the previous post.

The Rutan Vareze


The Rutan Vareze

This VariEze was built by Seth Hancock, a friend who was also in my EAA chapter in Austin. This was the best built VariEze I saw during my years of flying. He offered to sell me the plane but I declined, much to my disgust…now.

From Wikipedia, “The Rutan VariEze is a composite, canard aircraft designed by Burt Rutan. It is a fairly high-performance homebuilt aircraft, hundreds of which have been constructed. The design later evolved into the Long-EZ and other, larger cabin canard aircraft. The VariEze is notable for popularizing the canard configuration and moldless composite construction for homebuilt aircraft.

“The aircraft was so popular at Oshkosh that Rutan redesigned the aircraft so that it could be sold as a set of plans.[2] A second prototype, the Model 33, N4EZ, built using a larger wing, a Continental O-200 engine, and many other detail changes, was shown at Oshkosh in July 1976 and plans were offered for sale. Approximately 2000 aircraft were under construction by 1980, with about 300 flying by late 1980. Ultimately more VariEzes and Long-EZs (a derivative, slightly larger design) were constructed than any other homebuilt type of the time. The sale of plans ceased in 1985.

Rutan’s stated goals for the design included reduced susceptibility to departure/spin and efficient long range cruise; these goals were achieved. The use of a canard configuration allowed a stall resistant design, at the price of somewhat increased takeoff and landing speeds and distances relative to a similar conventional design with effective flaps. The holder of the CAFE Challenge aircraft efficiency prize briefly was Gary Hertzler, set using a VariEze.[3]
The prototypes flew originally with elevons on the canard for both pitch and roll control but the design was changed to pitch control with the canard elevators and roll control with mid span wing ailerons after a few aircraft were built.”

“The plane has a retractable front landing gear for parking. Without a pilot in the seat it could tip back unless the nose gear is retracted.”