I decided to go and experience the Biplane Expo this year. This is the annual gathering for the National Biplane Association. I was hoping for row upon row of biplanes, although I wasn't of course expecting the same density as Oshkosh, that hope never materialized. This it seems was due to the elements. The weather was really bad on thursday afternoon when I arrived, so bad, that the Waco's had to be held down by burly guys during taxi! Forecasts were also poor for friday (it did infact turn out to be a beautiful day). The weather saturday was very windy, but almost down the runway. So all in all, many guys who had planned to fly-in decided to keep away.
I did speak to some who were repeat visitors, and the normal attendance for biplanes is usually in the 3 figure realm. Having accepted the jaded feeling of anti climax, i made the best of the situation, and took many pictures, more than i usually take actually. These pictures are now up in the forum gallery. I also had the pleasure of meeting a few Forum members in the flesh; Markradio, Neil Sidders, and Don Adamson to name but a few. When Don introduced himself and shook my hand, he had a look of shock on his face when I yelled out in pain and surpise! I am normally a 'hearty' handshaker myself, but I had injured my hand the other day while hanging a heavy front door, and i wasn't aware of the extent of the injury until the handshake, sorry Don! The hand has actually gotten worse today, so it looks like a trip to the Doc if no improvement by mid-week. I also had several guys approach me (I was wearing a biplane forum cap) who were not forum members, but were avid readers of the website, their recognition and thankyou's meant a lot.
I came across a hardware stall in the exhibition hangar, boy, these guys have amazing prices. I wished I'd been more prepared with a list of wants, but I did buy some floating clip nuts for the cabane glass fairing I am currently working on. These clip nuts are $1.10 each from AS&S, here I paid $3.50 for 15! I think their name was B&B Hardware, they gave me a card but I can't find it. They don't sell on the web, but they do take phone orders.
I got to meet Col. Joe Kittinger
at the Thursday reception dinner, he's a cool guy who has done just about everything aviation related and then some in his life.
After arriving back at the expo saturday morning, I couldn't believe my luck when I saw non other than Randy Harris's Skybolt 300 sat there! Just having this opportunity to finally see this plane close up really made the trip worthwhile. There are plenty of pics of it in the gallery. Randy is a very personable guy, and spent quiet a while chatting to myself and Markradio.
There were some seminars on Saturday, but I had to leave to catch my flight, so I missed out on the seminar by Monty Barratt, and only got to sit in on the 'Acrosports & Skybolt' seminar for 25 minutes. There was a good mix of all types of biplanes at the expo, Certified and Homebuilt. I think I will be going back next year. Fingers crossed for good weather.