2005 Copperstate Fly-in

Just like 2004, I was looking forward all year to attending the Southwest's regional EAA fly-in. This year the site was moved from Phoenix Regional to Casa Grande, AZ because the developers of Phoenix Regional apparently weren't able to develop the grounds like the EAA had wanted. Casa Grande is just a short 10 minute flight from Chandler, so I took Thursday and Friday off of work to get the plane ready and enjoy the show. I went to the airport around 9am to do some touch and go landings and get the rust off from not flying in the past week. I've parked Blonde Streak on the ramp in Chandler all year, so she was in desperate need of a good cleaning. After flying I took her to the wash area and proceeded to clean off the dust and grime. I gave her wings the once over with a good waxing as well. By noon she was in much better condition for a fly-in so I went home and loaded up my three girls for the flight. Susan came with us to the airport and we loaded up the girls. Susan took a few pictures of us in the plane and then she headed out by car to the fly-in to meet us and give us a ride home. Its much easier to drive in and out each day than to try to fight the crowds flying in and out every day.

The flight was a quick, uneventful one and we were soon parked on the relatively empty ramp. Being a Thursday I didn't expect to see much but it is easier to walk through the booths and displays! We were parked next to a small group of LongEZ's and VariEZ's in the composites area. I called Susan and she was plodding along on the freeway at 75mph still about 15 minutes away. The girls and I walked to the entrance which seemed like a mile away and met Susan as she drove in. We spent the next hour or so walking through the display booths, checking out the aircraft displays and watching a few planes fly until we headed for home.

I came by myself on Friday and met numerous builders, flyers and dreamers. Still the most common question from the uninitiated is some variation of "how do you take off and land with no front wheel?" After explaining the nose gear is retracted and she parks on her nose for stability, people usually laugh and say something like "oh, OK, I knew it had to be something like that...". A big highlight was being parked nose to nose with the eventual Grand Champion "Symmetry" built by Cory Bird. A beautiful plane that has to be seen to be believed. This IS the perfect plane! The first picture was a rare moment when the crowd was thin enough to take a picture. The next is "Symmetry" in the foreground with Blonde Streak behind.

Dale Rogers came by and we talked for a while before heading over to the display booths for a walk around. The folks at Trio Avionics were there and I spent a few minutes talking to them about the altitude hold unit I had just installed. After a long day I headed home and took my daughters to see "Wallace and Grommit" movie.

Saturday was much like Friday but the wind had picked up quite a bit. Ray Kouns, Mike and Debbie Roe and others came by to say hello. Dale was back to pick up some parts I brought for him and I endured the blast of wind for the rest of the day. A couple more Cozy's showed up on Saturday as well. Two Cozy III's and two MK-IV's. The III's belonged to Ahmed Asif who flew his Cozy N509MS in from California. So did Jorgen Skovbjerk in his Cozy N655DK.

The MK-IV's were N22AZ originally built by Robin Dubois (not sure if he is the present owner). They were just leaving as I took the picture. Next is Doug Pitzer's N433DP - a very pretty Cozy!

Around 4pm the crowd started to thin out to get ready for the banquet, so I took off as well. I had a date that evening with my oldest daughter who is aspiring to be an astronaut to see the iMAX movie "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D". 

Sunday I didn't come out until about 3pm and that was just to take the plane home. The show was over and most all the planes were already gone. The flight home was a breeze and she looked good sitting back at her spot on the ramp at Chandler. I think the new location for Copperstate is a good move and I'm sure next year the crowds will be even greater.