Following are some thoughts on topics in and out of the RV world. The opinions here are mine only; read ’em at your own risk!
Warbirds, RVs and Fly-ins
Back in my active-duty Air Force days, I was one of the organizers of our base’s annual airshow. Putting together an airshow – particularly one with a military demo team like the Thunderbirds – is no small undertaking. Most years we had a hundred or more aircraft, including static displays, on the ramp and almost a half-million visitors. We were all volunteers, and our objective was to show the public what their tax dollars were buying.
Because warbirds and classic aircraft are popular with the non-flying public, we made a special effort to invite as many of them as possible to participate in the show. And we offered them a sweet deal, too…we paid them to fly to the show, then gave them food, drink, rooms and cars – all on the government’s dime. As one of the static display organizers, I was really excited to have the opportunity to meet these folks and see their airplanes. But by the end of the airshow, my opinion of them changed completely. Why? Here are a couple of examples.
One owner brought his Grumman Albatross to the show two days before he was scheduled to arrive, parked in an area reserved for transient military aircraft, then refused to move. Over the course of the airshow he used 600 gallons of avgas over his contracted amount. And as I was shuttling warbird owners from their aircraft to a reception area where free food and beer were being distributed – and the aforementioned free rooms and cars were being handed out – one T-28 owner informed me that the airshow was poorly run, and always had been.
Why put this rant in an RV website? Let’s flash forward to a couple of years ago, at an RV fly-in somewhere in the northeast where I volunteered to help with flightline management. One group of four RVs arrived in formation, taxied in to the fly-in ramp, and ignoring frantic arm-waving from linemen (including me), proceeded to park – still in formation – in a place that blocked a primary taxiway. It struck me that these guys were just like the warbird owners I dealt with many years before – and that’s the last thing I’d want to happen to the RV world.
So when the Mighty RV is finished, you can bet we’ll be attending as many fly-ins as we can – and we’ll be grateful for the opportunity to participate no matter how simple or elaborate the event. And we’ll make a special effort to remember that these events are put on by people like you and me – folks who are doing what they do out of a passion for our hobby. I hope you will too.