This one began with something that began a few years ago as a nice gesture, evolved into a tradition, and now, thanks to me and my soulless corporate approach to things, has become mandatory: the patented Hal Bryan AirVenture End-to-End Golf Cart Experience. As I wrote in my official guide to the show that I handed out to all of my fellow boothizens (as part of the care package that my friend and colleague Mike wrote about here), AirVenture is big. If you’ve never been, it’s bigger than you think, if you haven’t been in a while, it’s bigger than you remember, and, if you have, you know I’m right. By giving them the lay of the land, the tour helps people decide in what direction to stagger during their precious free time in order to see what interests them, and also helps them become a little more self-sufficient when it comes to getting back and forth between the booth and the hotel, etc. We start in front of the Super 8, work our way around the north 40 camping area, then pass through the warbirds and across the taxiway to the experimentals. From there, we pass the tower(s) and the government pavilions, then straight across Aeroshell square. Next comes the light sport aircraft, the past grand champions, and then the antiques and classics. Continuing south, we head past the vintage campground and the ultralights, then, finally, to the southiest end of the south 40 camping. Then it’s back north for a spin up through Aeroshell square, a look at the sponsor facilities behind Hangar C, a quick look at the Fly Market, and, finally, a trip round the two best-kept secrets of AirVenture, the EAA AirVenture Museum and Pioneer Airport.
I love giving these tours, because I love seeing this place, my home for 1/52nd of a year, through new eyes. Not to mention the fact that I love having an audience; when I’m narrating, I’ll catch myself starting to gesticulate, making broad, expansive hand gestures that put a little bit of pontiff in my pontificating. Day 4’s tour customers were Rick Hudson and Shawna Williams. Paul Lange was supposed to be there as well, but he was in a meeting that I can’t talk about.
And speaking of which … at noon, Mike Singer and I met with 8 of our colleagues from the EAA to talk enthusiastically about something that I shouldn’t mention here. Just picture a lot of people in blue shirts nodding and trying not to interrupt each other.
After that, I met with a colleague and potential partner at the booth, gave her a demo and then met with her in the air-conditioned "Exhibitor’s Comfort Center" for about an hour and a half. I won’t mention who she works for, but it was the kind of meeting that started with "do you think we should look at working together" and ended with "well, yes, but, once we’ve actually dominated the entire world, what do you propose we do with it?" At one point, I actually used the word "synergy" and, to my shame, I meant it. Then I apologized, unnecessarily. One thing I can say without apologizing is that this company (I know her boss and one of her colleagues as well) is doing things that are undeniably brilliant. We’re still not sure exactly *how* we’ll work together, but we’re all convinced that it’s the right thing to do. If I could hire them to handle our marketing in the aviation community, I’d do it yesterday.
A bit later on, I stopped in at Flight1’s booth to catch up with my friend Jim Rhoads, and he showed me their new Citation Mustang add-on (utterly gorgeous, and the first FS add-on I’ve come across with an opening toilet seat) and their new instructor’s console. This last was running on ESP, and, after about 30 seconds, I came away convinced that this was the "killer app" the platform needs to get the attention of flight schools of all kinds. While I was busy being impressed, an older gentleman came up, followed by a few of my colleagues. The gentleman’s name was John, and he’d come to Flight1’s booth from ours to buy a copy of RealAir’s Spitfire add-on (one of my personal favorites.) John and I had a wonderful conversation about his flying history, and about the role that Flight Sim plays in his day-to-day life. He enjoys it with the sort of passion that I’ll happily remember any time that I find myself a little slow to get out of bed and head out to work. His gratitude was energizing and humbling. I hope I’m half as sharp as he is, when I’m half his age … in 3 and 1/2 years.
Not a bad day’s work, especially since it was my day off.
Wait … listen … do you hear that? It’s the sound of me not complaining!
|The view out my window, first thing in the AM||Because if you’re John Travolta, you fly your 707 to Oshkosh||So many toys, so little time …||The party was going fine until these guys showed up|