Project Police At The Camarillo Fly-In

Russ Erb

Originally published May 1993

On 1 May 93, the Project Police of Chapter 1000 mounted an inspection tour of those aircraft brought to the annual Chapter 723 Fly-In by owners brave enough to subject them to the scrutiny of the Project Police. Russ Erb, driving the Project Police Paddywagon, was joined by officers Mike Pelletier, Brian Bernhard, Bill Guoan, Jim Piavis, Art Freeman, Carl Stevens, and from the Project Police Reserve of Chapter 49, Frank Roncelli and George Hanson. Bob Waldmiller flew in, in his Cherokee 140 with Dan Falbe and soon to be Chapter 1000 member Pete Orengo as did Frank Cutler in his Piper Pacer. Going undercover as showplane exhibitors were Tony Ginn (Thorp T-18), Lyle Trusty (Modified Thorp T-18), and Jack Hakes (RV-6). Brian Martinez exercised the concept that EAA is a family organization and brought Arlene and the rest of his family. Also seen roaming the grounds was Nelson Angelo.

The excitement of the Fly-In started in the Project Police Paddywagon long before arriving at the Fly-In. Somewhere going downhill on Highway 14, the Paddywagon was assaulted by enemies of the Project Police, probably Democrats who want to raise the aviation fuel tax, put a registration fee on all general aviation aircraft, and cancel DUAT. As the road merged from three lanes to two, the Paddywagon was caught in the squeeze play between two cars on the left and a semitruck on the right. Fortunately, by quick action on the part of the Project Police and the acceleration of 351 cubic inches (5.8 liters for you metric weenies), the paddywagon was saved with nary a scratch.

After arriving at CMA, we managed to find the ever-elusive parking place. We then proceeded to the gate, paid $3 apiece, and proceeded directly to the porta-potties. Having thus completed the Fly-In Arrival Ritual, we split up to inspect the various aircraft and displays.

The manufacturer's display aircraft were located right by the gate (imagine that?!). First in line was the KIS and the new KIS taildragger. No big surprise, since Tri-R Technologies is based at CMA. Also on display were the Berkut, Pulsar, Lancair ES, Harmon Rocket II, Fighter Escort Wings (FEW) subscale P-51, Murphy Rebel, and several Kitfoxes. Beyond that was the usual set of Fly-In aircraft, including a fluorescent green (Aargh!) Lancair, Myron Jenkins' Oshkosh Grand Champion Glasair III, the Texas A&M Globe Swift, Curtiss Robin, Todd Morgan's Reserve Grand Champion Cozy, T-6's, T-28's, Republic Seabee, and of course, several of those funny white airplanes with the little wing and the great big tail. Of course, there were also the previously mentioned Chapter 1000/49 aircraft.

Brian Martinez made a guest appearance on the official Project Police video segment of "Airshow '93" (Coming to a Chapter 1000 library near you sometime around Nov 93; see Russ prior to then). He summed up the general attitude amongst the Project Police: "We're here at Camarillo Airport today. We're checkin' out everything that's here. We're lusting. We're wishing we could hit the lottery right now."

This year's Fly-In included something new-a sort of airshow. This started with fly-bys of last year's award winning aircraft, including Jack Hakes' RV-6. The Berkut put on an aerobatic demonstration, as did a Yak-52. The KIS also did some flybys. A big deal was made that an instructor was giving someone their first lesson in spins in a Decathlon in front of the crowd, presumably to emphasize the importance of this training. I would have called it incipient spin recovery, since the aircraft never did more than one turn.

Having run out of inspection forms, the Project Police loaded back in the Paddywagon and returned to the home 'drone. Fortunately the only excitement on the way home was waiting for the same train twice. Of course, Bob took off after we left and beat us home. (Yes, even a spam can has a useful function--ed) Someday....

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Revised -- 22 February 1997