Crew Report - 19 Sep 14
September 28, 2014 at 7:51 PM
The Reno Air Races are over and we have spent the last week getting things back in order here a Blue Thunder home base so we can get back to business. This is the first update of the three that are due covering the Air Venture Cup race, the Oshkosh Convention and the Reno Air Races.
This update is to cover the AirVenture Cup race was scheduled for July 26, 2014 to run from the Mitchell, SD airport to Mankato, MN. Fred Roscher in Picabo with Jim Adams and Mike Cummings and I in Blue Thunder II departed Stead airport July 25th at official sunrise in formation headed for Mitchell airport. About fifteen to twenty minutes after takeoff, Fred reported he was having engine trouble and was returning to Stead. Fred was unable to make it back to the airport so he landed on the Pyramid highway. All would have been just fine if it hadn’t been for the SUV on the road. Mike and I spent the rest of the day doing what we could for Fred and Jim.
In an effort to salvage what we could of the AirVenture, Mike and I departed Stead early on the 26th for Mitchell to see if we could participate in the event. Our arrival at Mitchell was a little unusual. The ramp was completely empty except for the line girl at the Wright Brothers Aviation FBO. She was a good looking blonde in a thigh length black dress and high heel shoes. OK, this is going to be interesting.
Inside the terminal, the entire airport staff was waiting for us. They told us we should depart ASAP because AirVenture Cup volunteer timers were waiting for us at the finish line in Mankato, MN.
They refueled Blue and after a condensed phone briefing on the departure and finish line procedure, Mike and I departed, well behind the power curve, but happy that we were actually able to be part of the event. Our speed over the course was not as fast as we had planned. We had to deviate around a few rain showers in route and as we approached Mankato, the ATIS reported heavy rain and zero visibility. We flew around for a few minutes until we could see the airport through light rain then went for the finish. The results can be seen here.
Landing at Mankato on a wet runway in light rain and a modest cross wind was another character building first for me. After a late lunch and waiting for the rain to move away from Whitman field, we departed Mankato for the Oshkosh Convention. The EAA Oshkosh convention will be the subject of the next Blue Thunder update.
The entire Blue Crew, Jan and I thank everyone for your support, and we’ll do everything we can to deserve it.