Deaver

Ten years ago a suggestion from a Mojave pilot who had visited a fly-in at anoth­er airport resulted in a monthly family-ori­ented event at the Mojave Air & Spaceport which is cel­ebrating its 10th year this weekend.

Next Saturday, Plane Crazy Saturday will begin its 10th year of attracting aviation enthusiasts and families from all over the world with a briefing on “How Age Affects Pilot Per­for­mance”presented by senior pilot Joe Biv­i­a­no, who recently the FAA “Wright Brothers Mas­ter Pilot Award” from the Fed­eral Aviation Ad­min­is­tration.

Biviano, who has been flying for more than a half century, is a Navy veteran and aerospace engineer.

“Joe is typical of the high quality aviation and other professional speakers who have addressed overflow audiences at (Plane Crazy Saturday) briefings at the Mojave Air & Spaceport board room,” said Cathy Han­sen, herself a pilot and aviation enthusiast, who helped found the Mo­ja­ve Transportation Mu­se­um Foundation, which pre­sents Plane Crazy Sat­ur­day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third Sat­ur­day of each month.

“Despite weather, ill­ness, and competing events we have only missed one month” pre­sent­ing Plane Crazy Sat­ur­day, said Hansen, who has been the driving force behind keeping the event going and recruiting interesting speakers. The month that was missed followed the tragic crash of SpaceShipTwo.

For full disclosure, I am past president and cur­rent vice-president of the foundation, whose pri­mary goal is to build a mu­se­um that cel­e­brates the vital role trans­por­ta­tion continues to play in the Mojave area.

The free event is aimed at showcasing many of the un­usual and envelope-ex­pand­ing aerospace ve­hic­les based at the na­tion’s first commercial space­port.

In addition to the brief­ings, Plane Crazy Sat­ur­day also offers visitors the opportunity to walk among a wide variety of air­craft and the occasional space ship on display on the Mojave Air & Space Port flight line in front of the Voyager Restaurant.

Memorable moments

Over the years many mem­orable events have taken place at Plane Crazy Saturday and the fol­lowing is a list from my aging memory.

Leading that list is the time requent speaker Dick Rutan was scheduled to speak as he did at last month’s PCS.

In recognition of his years flying F-100 jet fighters in combat in Vietnam, we had a Super Sabre parked in the airport “boneyard” towed to a spot outside the Voyager windows the Sat­urday before his ad­dress.

Several of us spent all morning removing gunk that had accumulated on the Super Sabre, much of it oil-soaked dirt, some of which Cathy removed by mopping the wings.

The following Saturday, Rutan spoke in the Voy­ager to a crowd that would not fit in the board room.

Unfortunately, that Sat­ur­day was one of those when, in defiance of desert weath­er, the rain came down so heavily that the F-100 could not be seen dur­ing Dick’s nearly two-hour remarks.

Boneyard briefing

Other memorable PCS’s include Alan’s Red­ec­ki’s presentation on the air­port Boneyard, the one location on the airport that most people want to visit and cannot because of safety concerns.

Two Saturdays in­clu­ded listening to two of the finest and most informative speakers I have ever heard, Scaled Com­posites Engineer Zack Reeder, and Scott Gla­ser, Vice President of Flight Research, Inc.

Zack kept his audience of children and adults trans­fixed with an interactive workshop on designing an airplane that could haul an elephant from here to Hawaii.

His briefing was capped by the audience building a model of their design — which flew.

Scott briefed pilots on Upset Recognition Re­cov­ery Training, strategies for avoiding potentially fatal upsets when flying.

After both pilots com­ple­ted their briefings, I told them how I wished I had had teachers like them when I was in school.

Over the years we have had two U-2 pilots recall their adventures, both claim­ing to have the most hours in the Palmdale-built spy planes.

We have also heard SR-71 pilot Bill Weaver and  “back-seater” Bob “Oscar” Meyer tell what it’s like to fly what is still probably the world’s fastest airplane.

Weaver, of Orbital Sci­en­ces, also is the only pilot to survive an SR-71 crash.

We also enjoyed hearing two young women pilots share their adventures in a cross-country air race, two railroad enthusiasts (including myself) discuss that industry’s effect on Mojave and the Antelope Valley, and briefings on vintage automobiles.

Stargazer special

One of the most mem­or­able Plane Crazy Sat­ur­days was when Or­bit­al sciences parked their Lock­heed L-1011, “Star­gazer,” which was built in Palmdale, on the flight line.

Orbital uses the mod­if­ied airliner to launch rock­et-powered aerospace vehicles.

Some of the people who helped build the plane had tears in their eyes recalling their years help­ing build the air­liners.

An older woman with memory-moistened eyes told me, “I worked on the interior and my husband worked on the wings!”

Frequent speakers

Air Force veteran Dan Yost and record-setting glider pilot Jim Payne of  Rosamond hold the record for most times addressing PCS audiences.

Payne has briefed Plane Crazy Saturday about his efforts to fly a sailplane higher and faster in South American skies, setting several records in the process. We expect to see Jim at another Plane Crazy Saturday soon.

Dan has discussed his ex­per­iences flying the Air Force B-47 bomber, C-7 cargo aircraft and other planes. His latest pres­en­tation involved health tips for pilots.

The first Plane Crazy Sat­urday speaker was Scaled Composites ex­ec­u­tive Corey Bird show­cas­ing “Symmetry,” the beau­tif­ul and award-winning two-place aircraft he de­signed and built, an air­plane Corey describes as his “resume.”

The monthly events at­tract attendees from all over the globe, especially from Germany and Swit­zer­land, who are wel­comed in their native lan­guag­es by MTM board mem­ber Ursula Fink­beiner.

Mojave Air & Spaceport CEO Karina Drees said Mo­jave Air & Space Port “is honored to host Plane Crazy Saturdays each month. We are al­ways happy to see new faces attend these well-or­gan­ized, promotional events and look forward to hosting Plane Crazy Sat­ur­days well into the future.”

Plane Crazy Saturday take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Mojave Air & Space Port. The event is free and entry is through the Voyager Restaurant.

For details, call 661-824-2481.

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