First Night at EAA. Sunday nights are load in nights for exhibitors, fly-ins, and media at the EAA AirVenture Air Show at Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. I always celebrate with a regular podcast, live from just under the control tower as we start a new week, on the First Night at EAA. It’s late. Everyone is asleep, but I am getting in the last few thoughts on the coming show, and new developments in the political world this weekend. Having just come from the RNC at Cleveland and witnessing the divisions in the Republican party firsthand, it’s a little weird to see the same kinds of fissures developing with the democrats at Philadelphia with the specter of the democrat establishment killing the grassroots too. Throughout this hot and stormy Sunday I’ve been thinking about a recent email exchange with a Trump supporter that says so much about American politics today. A gentleman who normally sends me great jokes via email suddenly swerved into politics exhorting me and a few score others on his email list to ‘vote Trump’. Why? Because Trump is going to get rid of NAFTA and the TPP and bring all the jobs back to the United States. I decided to press him to find out exactly why he thinks what he thinks and why he would take the unusual step of pushing his friends to vote Trump. It took several emails to learn he just ‘feels’ Trump is the best guy, Trump is like Lincoln, Trump knows what to do and he’ll do it, and don’t make me explain this stuff, google it. Then he asks me what I think of the questions I asked him! That serves as a debate in the land of Trump. A place where everyone gets what he wants, when he wants it, because Trump said so. A place where one bright morning a box will arrive from China and everyone will open it up and find a note that reads, “Sorry about taking your job at the bucket factory way back in 1997 but we needed it. Here it is back, slightly used but we hope you’ll forgive us”. There it is people. Donald J. Trump is going to get Uncle Joe his job back at Bethlehem Steel so he and Martha can buy back the 1993 Buick Regal, which the GM plant in Flint will be making again thanks to old ‘I’ll make the trains run on time’ Trump. I realized, while ordering coffee at the concessions stand next to the beautiful B-25 out here on the airfield, that there are a lot of 50+ children out there. Thinking is just too hard. Researching facts takes too much time. Actually learning the contours of an issue is a job no one wants. Lots of final thoughts — for the time being — on the convention, the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the DNC chair, and the impending Trump presidency. Or not. Thank God I can talk about airplanes for the next few days! Sponsored by Hydrus Performance.
The EAA Air Show Gets Me. Live at Osh Kosh, and despite the plane crash, this is an event that reaches out and grabs you. Acre after acre of all kinds of planes, many with pilot’s tents beneath their wings, four hangers full of aviation equipment, pilots and aircraft enthusiasts all over the place. Warbirds, jets, brand new airliners, seaplanes, experimental planes, workshops, even massage chair demonstrations! It’s all a little overwhelming for a podcaster who doesn’t fly and doesn’t know anything about aviation, except that it’s pretty cool. Then there was the speech and presentation by Bert and Dick Rutan. One comes away with a message that needs to be heard these days. A message of living your dream, maybe taking the road less traveled to try to accomplish something that changes the world, or maybe an industry. EAA began as a community of homebuilders, and aircraft enthusiasts and there are still workshops and demonstrations for people in this tribe, but the event obviously has grown over the years to become one of the country’s premiere attractions, all in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. All the big companies are here; GE, Boeing, Airbus, Honda, Bendix King, and Alpha Systems, to name a few. Medium and small vendors of all shapes and sizes are represented too, selling all kinds of tools for pilots, and all kinds of aircraft. If the original intent of designers and kit builders was to democratize flying — because 50 years ago the only way some people could acquire an airplane was to build their own — then they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Let’s hope it continues in this vein. In the end, it’s the people — the flight community — that makes this event so special. If you fly you already know. If you don’t, EAA is something to see. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. (Editor’s Note: I mentioned Bert Rutan’s best friend and pilot of Spaceship 1, Mike Melville and got his name wrong. Mike was part of the presentation that night at EAA, and has his own list of impressive aviation accomplishments.)