Early Start Thwarted

Eric B, the Good Samaritan.

The show is over and I need to be back to work in California on Monday morning, so I’m up at the crack of dawn to get an early start. Get to the plane and it is really hard to get the chocks out from under the right wheel, and even harder to push it out into the center of the row for start. A flat tire will do that to you.

After enlightening all those within earshot with some choice Australian phrases on my satisfaction with this mechanical failure it was time to break out the tools. Got the wheel pants off, undid the brake pad and removed the cotter pin and loosened the axle nut. Now to figure out how to jack it up. At home I use a hoist to lift it up by the engine when swapping tires. That didn’t seem that likely here.

One of the long time EAA volunteers comes up on his trusty steed (scooter) and saves the day. Turns out if you have three hefty lads they can get on their knees under the wing and put their shoulder to the main spar and lift a fully fueled RV pretty easily. Your girlfriend whips off the axle nut and wheel then slides a large wheel chock under the axle. But you still need a new tube and a way to change it.

It’s 0730, so still over an hour until the vendors open. This is where fellow RV-8 flyer and Good Samaritan Eric B come in handy. No sooner was the wheel off than Eric just happens to wander by and kindly offers his spare. Another of the EAA volunteers gives me a golf cart ride down to the emergency repair station where a bead breaker and air compressor makes short work of the tube change. In reality you couldn’t ask for a better place to break down than Oshkosh during Air Venture.

My fly away tool kit now has a couple of spare tubes in it so if you need one I will be happy to help you out like Eric helped me.

Got going around 0930 just before the departures got busy and made Santa Fe by night fall. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Nine days, 20 hours of great flying, 5 days of fabulous air shows and events but best of all the people that made it happen and participated.

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Nigel Speedy
Nigel Speedy started flying helicopters with the Australian Army and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He currently instructs at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California. Nigel enjoys flying his Van's RV-8 and the freedom of E/A-B to experiment.


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