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Oshkosh 1998: Day 8
Sunday, August 2

For the first time, instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, we slept in a little bit. Not willing to face the horror that is Hardees again, we reverted once more to oatmeal for breakfast.

My father wanted to find some things for his airplane, so we went through a couple of the large hangars again, and bought some wing-walk compound (that black stuff that makes the wing not so slippery, so you can walk on it), oil filters, and some special wrenches that allow you to remove Lycoming engine cylinders.

Concorde, taking offThe British Airways Concorde continued to make departures and arrivals all day, ferrying paying customers on a short subsonic flight, for $715 a seat. There was no mistaking it - it's easily the loudest airplane you've ever heard.

After this, we went over to the FAA building. Jane Garvey, the current FAA administrator, was to give a talk, and we didn't want to miss it, as it usually caused some fireworks. We got there midway through a presentation by the chief aviation medical examiner, which was actually quite informative. However, as soon as he finished, people started filing in for the FAA "meet the administrator" session. The session began, and the atmosphere towards Ms. Garvey was not positive. After a few questions had been asked of her, it was quite apparent that we were not going to have any quality answers from her.

Each person in the audience about to ask her a question would introduce himself, then state where it was he was from, at which point Ms. Garvey would comment, "good place." The person would then make their comment or ask a question. In every case, Ms. Garvey would first say, "Thank you so much for your comments." Then, in true politician-speak, she would say either "We'll look into that," or "Why don't you come by after the presentation and we'll talk about that." With the exception of a couple of questions which had simple answers, she did not answer a single question. One guy stood up and explained that he had been promised action by her a year ago at Oshkosh. His voice shaking with emotion, he asked why nothing had been done, and why the false charges made against him by the FAA hadn't been withdrawn. He said that he had since been threatened by FAA inspectors, and told that they were going to tap his phone, among other things. Ms. Garvey said that she would speak with him after the session. The man said, "That's what you said last year!" She again said she would speak with him afterwards. The audience started to become angry, and someone yelled out, "Say it in public!" After some very uneasy consulting with one of the FAA lawyers, Ms. Garvey told the man that the charges had been dropped, and a letter saying so had been sent to the man's counsel. The man replied, "I don't have a counsel!"

By the end of the session, Ms. Garvey had been beaten up pretty bad, and had basically looked like a hapless idiot in front of the audience. It was clear she had no knowledge whatsoever of most of the issues that had been brought up by the members in the audience, and had very little to say on those that she did.

A RealAudio recording of the session can be heard on AvWeb. However, AvWeb made comments on its site that they thought that Ms. Garvey came off quite well in front of the audience, sounding authoritative and informed. I think that AvWeb must have been in a different building at the time.

After the FAA session, we found lunch, in a tent that was serving tacos - the first reasonably priced food we had found on the Oshkosh convention grounds. We then headed back to our airplane, and decided to watch the afternoon airshow from there, rather than being subjected to the mindless nattering of the announcers. By far the best part of the airshow was Patty Wagstaff and Sean D. Tucker, who once again did their dual act. But what made it the best was not the idiotic acting of the announcers - it was what we listened to on the aircraft radio (which nobody else could hear), as Patty and Sean talked to each other. Patty and Sean were constantly at each other, goading each other, and making fun of one another. When Sean did a 35 rotation inverted flat spin, and the announcers were counting "15...16...17...", Patty was on the radio saying, "OK, that's 4 now, Sean!" Four rotations later, "OK Sean, that's 5 now!"

Sean recovered from the flat spin, dove straight down, then pulled up at high speed, yelling on the radio, "Yeee hawww!! I love this business!! Patty, I give these people what they want, lots of smoke and noise!"

Patty replied, "No, they want to see this...watch these crisp, precision moves!"

Near the end of their routine, Patty came diving in at high speed, saying "OK, watch this...oh man, major overspeed! Forget it, I'm not doing anything...got up to 3200 rpm." She then pulled up, and they both turned in and landed.

The airshow organizers should broadcast THAT during their routine, rather than the incessant blabbering and chatter that comes out of the announcers booth.

Diet Magic PosterWe returned to our airplane, and noticed that someone had plastered the inside of all of the porta-potties with "Diet Magic" posters, claiming to be some sort of amazing diet. Later on, someone else had decided that there was a better place for these posters to go, and within a day, each of the Diet Magic posters occupied the same place in every porta-pottie.

Dinner again was at Friar Tuck's. I think when we go back, we'll just forego camp stoves altogether, and eat at Friar Tuck's every night.

Having had a wonderful time the last day, it was time to face going home to civilization again.

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