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North 40 tips...

Posted By:
John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#1 Posted: 6/17/2010 01:31:43

Here's a few tips from a north 40 parking volunteer. Please note this is MY opinion only, nobody elses. Not the EAA's nor my fellow volunteers:

So you are arriving by plane. Whether newbie or veteran, here's a few bits of advice from a north 40 volunteer.

Make your letters BIG. By that, I actually mean the letters on the sign you make so volunteers can direct you to the right spot. Acronyms like GAP (general aviation parking) or GAC (General aviation Camping). Make the letters THICK! They might look fine from 2' away in your living room when you draw them with a sharpie, but seen through your windshield with the sun shining, its kinda difficult. Make the letters at least 1/2" thick, but the thicker, the better. Don't run them together though. Keep some seperation. Oh, and the signs should be on the pilots side. Its the way the traffic flows, the volunteers are on the pilots side, at least when you are coming in.

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE follow the directions of ground crew. We are trying to HELP you. If we signal you to turn, or stop, don't ignore us! It could be for safety of all concerned.

Don't be a privileged snot. We are trying to park the planes as efficiently as possible, so please dont' go charging off to find your own parking space. We understand many people have traditional spots, and if we aren't busy, we can usually accomodate you, IF we can. FWIW, those who come in before official north 40 rules start can often get their pick of spots, but these are usually veterans who know the procedures. Understand we try to fill the rows from back to front. Some aircraft will be able to taxi straight in, others will have to be pushed back tail first, so we can nest the planes tightly. Please don't get huffy (we can read your faces, even if you don't say anything) if you have to go tail in. We'll push you back, and we promise not to break your plane. :) . One year, we had a guy come in, ignore our signals completely, and park at the front of a new row. We kept signalling him to move to the back, but he refused. His reason? "This is my 25th year, I deserve this". Sheesh.

Oh, BTW, we have no problems with you holding a spot for a later arriving friend, just let us know. (unless you are arriving a week apart, in that case, why?). If you already have a spot (and you took a flight after setting up), or you have a spot held for you by a friend, put a sign that says "ROW XXX" (where XXX is the row number) in your window. Big thick letters please!

Bring your tow bar, and put it on TOP of your cargo! If you get a tail in slot, this will make everyones life easier. With a tow bar, it's easier to steer your plane while pushing it back, and putting it on top means you don't have to unload your stuff to get at it! This happens a lot. :)

Please hold off on setting up your campsite until other planes have been parked to either side of you and behind you. This is so we can fit the planes in more easily. You also avoid having your gear blasted by the prop of someone parking behind you! Sometimes, we will simply ask you to wait or to move your tent, which is inconvient for you, but it saves you (and us)aggreviation too. Admittedely, the high wingers have the advantage in this situation, they can set up under their wings. Low wingers, I suggest getting the smallest tent you can stand. :). Incidently, tying down your plane would be a good way to pass the time while waiting for your soon-to-be neighbors to arrive.

Bring tie downs. They are required.  You can get kits at the site, but they are pretty basic.

I would also suggest your bring some plywood for your wheels, if you have a heavy plane, and if you have the room. The grounds of the north 40 can get soft if it rains, or has rained recently. Sometimes we have some plywood squares available, but not always, and never enough.

MASS ARRIVALS, or those who want to be in those groups:

    Pilots: PLEASE stay with your plane until you get a camping ticket (orange ticket). Please don't rush off to chat with your friends as soon as you shut down. It might take some time for you to get a ticket, cause there is usually only one volunteer (sometimes 2) to handle tickets for each row of planes, and dozens are coming in at a time during these mass arrivals. These mass arrivals are controlled chaos.

    Also, have your tow bar handy as above! Half of you will be tail in, obviously, and some of your (beeches and mooneys) are kinda heavy, so please be ready.

    If you are arriving BEFORE or AFTER the mass arrival and want to join the group...NO.  Sorry, can't accomodate you,unless you are one of the organizers (and we know who they are). This seems to especially happen with the Beech people. Either fly in with the group, or be prepared to get a "normal" spot.

    If you aren't camping, either don't arrive with the group, or have a very distinctive sign (GAP) when you arrive. A herd mentality takes over during these mass arrivals, for both pilots and volunteers, and the pilots just follow the plane in front of them, and volunteers just wave all the same make of plane into line. If you want to park with the group, then expect to pay for camping. Just ignoring the ticket doesn't help, cause a copy goes to the registration booth, and your N number is on the ticket.

 



Paul Dowgewicz
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
149
Posts
43
#2 Posted: 6/17/2010 08:39:19

Jim Weir of RST Engineering; past forum presenter, and columnist to Kitplanes Magazine has a collection of parking signs for planes. The file also has a reference sheet for arrivals to use in the plane after you have read and undertsood the NOTAM. It looks like it hasn't been updated for 2010 yet though.

http://www.rst-engr.com/OshBound.pdf 



Janet Davidson
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
131
Posts
54
#3 Posted: 6/17/2010 11:55:26

Great post, John.  Lots of helpful pointers in there.

 

I once volunteered for a day at the North 40, and was placed at some nice, quiet spot so if I screwed up, it wouldn't be too serious.  I still found it quite intimidating, and it helped to give me even greater respect for the job all of the parking teams do.  Everyone was great fun to work with and I learned a lot that day.


I also volunteered as a greeter one year, and that was interesting as well.  Great to meet lots of people, and I also saw how high the adrenalin was running in some folks, relieved to have done the arrival successfully, and very excited to finally be here.  After a bit it was quite easy to work out who had done their preparation & homework, and who had just "winged it".



Steve Fabiszak
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
103
Posts
32
#4 Posted: 6/17/2010 20:29:46

From behind the prop..............

Even with my official EAA GAC sign displayed, at least two parking volunteers attempted to convince me to park my RV in the Homebuilt area last year. Kinda scary with a volunteer behind my spinning prop trying to have a conversation. Imagine much finger pointing and arm waving and "WHAT'D YOU SAY?" going on.

 



Tom Osborne
2
Posts
0
#5 Posted: 6/17/2010 22:48:04

When you are parking planes, please keep in mind that this is the North Forty aircraft parking AND CAMPING area! Airplanes are parked without consideration for the fact that people are also going to camp there and be there for several days. I have attended Airventure many decades and there have been several times when I was UNABLE to camp with my plane. Everytime this happened, I swore I was never coming back! There have been times when other low wing airplanes were parked so tight I was unable to unload my gear from the baggage door! The latest and greatest insult to North Forty campers has been the elimination of the camp store! I could never understand why the EAA would encourage attendance and camping in the North Forty but then in reality, make it very unpleasant and difficult to camp in the North Forty. When I flew my antique to the Fly-IN , I always had a beautiful place to camp, was close to everything, had places to eat and had showers and potties close by. There definitely is a sense that if you fly to the convention in a production airplane and camp in the North Forty, you are a second class member. Therefore, I try to arrive as early as I can afford, knowing that I will have to leave before the end of the convention, and "negotiate" with the folks doing the parking to try to get a parking/CAMPING spot that works. If you are parking planes in the North Forty, my hat is off to you, you have one of the toughest and most DANGEROUS jobs at the convention. However, that is where I am going to live for the next several days, I am going to try and make the best of it.



John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#6 Posted: 6/18/2010 08:41:13 Modified: 6/18/2010 08:45:06

Steve, those guys who tried to convince you to go to homebuilt had to either be noobs, or totally not paying attention to your sign! Homebuilts in GAC or GAP is a rare thing. I think most of the time, they are part of a group that wants to camp together. They must have been stereotyping to try to send you to HAC or HAP. :)

Tom, There are a LOT of store choices outside the north 40 fence, and prices would definitely be cheaper too. They are also within walking distance. Although I camp in camp Scholler myself, the only time I go to the barn store is for the occasional overpriced ice cream.

Lots of people like the camaradie of the north 40. You gotta remember the north 40 is part of a working airport, and relatively narrow, while the antique/classic area is relatively "far" from the main runway, hence they can have trees and buildings. Look at it this way, you have some real flush toilets in the North 40 now.

I don't know what to tell you about your lack of camping space. It can be a problem if there is a lot of low wingers in a row.

 



Carl Orton
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
87
Posts
16
#7 Posted: 6/20/2010 14:14:05

I cannot over-emphasize the other comments on the use of signs. I, too, volunteer in flight ops, and I've lost count of the number of ball-point-pen-written signs that pilots hold up. Or the number of times that the GAC/xxx signs are on the glareshield on the passenger's side of the plane. I have no choice but to stop the plane, trying to make hand gestures so they'll hold up the sign so I can see it.

I've even had folks land with NO sign at all, which results in a verbal conversation in a very noisy environment. And I really don't like walking around running engines, having my hat blown off, etc. (whiner that I am...)

-Carl



- Carl
Janet Davidson
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
131
Posts
54
#8 Posted: 6/26/2010 15:18:32 Modified: 6/26/2010 15:21:09

These guys must have read all the North 40 volunteer comments on here - the message is clear to read
tongueout

gag.jpg

 

 



Kevin O'halloran
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
30
Posts
3
#9 Posted: 7/5/2010 12:02:25

John

I'm the ground organizer for B2OSH.  we come in on the thursday before Airadventure.Last year the people parking planes insisted that we park in row 1.  We followed their instructions.  Would not have been a problem except we were told by the people in registration that we could not drive a vehicle in that area ????.  Each of our planes had close to 500 Lbs of stuff for B2OSH. So we ended up dragging it over to the  fence by the warbird area and throwing it over to the truck.  We know that there is no reserved parking for single airplanes or groups.  But it would be nice if we could park in the general area of where B2OSH usually ends up ( east of the shower building).  We would park next to the road so we would be out of the way, we don't camp , but we do pay for it. And if B2OSH ended up several 100 yards from us, We understand that we cannot move.

See you in a couple of weeks

Kevin



John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#10 Posted: 7/5/2010 13:50:50

Kevin,

That really should not have happened. Did you talk to one of the supervisors? Did you make it clear you were an B2OSH organizer?

I know that one of the B2OSH guys was constantly driving his truck back and forth, big white pickup. Was that you? He stopped to talk with us parking volunteers a LOT.

Maybe make a sign that says B20SH ORGANIZER-BEECH CAMPING or something?

 

Either way, I'd talk to a supervisor, see if you can get it straightened out that you NEED to park there.



Kevin O'halloran
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
30
Posts
3
#11 Posted: 7/5/2010 17:14:34

That was me--the warbird guys let me use it . I'm the same guy that bought 10 large pizzas for the parking volunteers on sat, and who bought icecream for them twice during the week--don't expect anything in return--just REALLY appreciate the hard work that the volunteers do.

We not only bring in a lot of equipment in the planes, we have a storage building with about 5 truck loads of gear stored there year round. It can be a nightmare trying to figure out where the group is going to end up so we can dump everyones gear at the end of the rows, then start setting up for the arrival party. B2OSH leadership has talked this over--the LAST thing we want is to have reserved spots---not only would it be unfair to others--but it would make it harder on the parking crew.( like when Cessna had 500 spots marked off one year)

Usually ( not always) Carol will tell us the general area we will be parked when the formation is 30 to 45 minutes out--then the mad dash is on to start getting things ready--not only do we dump the gear and mark off where the big tent goes--but we have to pick up pizza (120 last year)  --some how--with the help of everyone--it always gets done.

Kevin

PS I have already preordered 10 large pizzas for the parking crew for sat noon--let me know if you want us-- or one of your crew to pass them out

PSS--sometimes the best way to help out the parking crew is to stay out of their way <g>



John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#12 Posted: 7/5/2010 19:27:38

OK, Kevin, now I know what you look like....

Who knows, I might have been one of those people who insisted you park in the early row. Last year was the first time I volunteered on a Thursday, I usually do Fri-Sun at north 40.We are told not to let anyone go off to the mass arrival sites unless they are part of the mass arrival. I would have thought the bosses would have worked this out in advance where you guys can go. The B2OSH people do seem the best organized, pre-arrival though.

I would think they'd at least let you close to the area where they'll be parking. Being a few rows off wouldn't really hurt anything.

To be honest, I can't remember the pizza!! Maybe I missed it.

Most of the time, you guys (Beech) do seem to wind up on the east side of the shower house.



Kevin O'halloran
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
30
Posts
3
#13 Posted: 7/6/2010 11:37:49

Yea John--I'm the big ugly guy running around like a chicken with his head cut off

We will be coming in on thursday morning ( depending on weather)  Two planes-- a 33 bonanza ( N638V) 2 people on board and a A36 Bonanza (N507SC) 3 people on board. these are the ONLY ground organizers from B2OH.   3 of the five people are college students majoring in aviation.  We give them a free ride to Oshkosh, pay for their week pass, and supply them with food for the week.  Put them all in a big tent that members of B2OSH refer to as the "Dorm"--in exchange for all this free stuff---we work the tar out of them--helping with tents, picking up trash, etc--good deal for everyone.

Will see you thursday morning the 22nd--AND--I will make sure you have your own personal pizza on sat <vbg>

Kevin



Bob Thomason
9
Posts
1
#14 Posted: 7/16/2010 16:36:36

John, great post thanks. A question about the plywood squares: I fly a Cessna 421 and will bring the squares. I think its a great idea. How do I let the volunteer know I have the squares and would like to pull up 3 feet past where he wants me too, so we can lay down the squares and push the airplane back onto them?

A detail, I know, but it would be helpful to know.

Thanks for your great work. I've never had any complaints in 25  years of attending.



Bob Thomason Charlotte, NC
John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#15 Posted: 7/18/2010 17:34:40

Bob, thats gonna be tough. The twins get their own parking rows, and usually just one guy on a scooter directing them. About the only way to communicate is to motion him over, and talk to him, and that's going to be very difficult with a twin thats running.

How easy is it to move a twin by hand on grass?

Maybe you could send a passenger out to talk and have the squares on hand? Perhaps once he motions you to pull into a parking spot, you could stop, let the passenger out, and have the passenger explain it to the volunteer.



Bob Thomason
9
Posts
1
#16 Posted: 7/18/2010 20:16:05

Thank you John. Good suggestion. That's what we'll do. It's not too hard to push my airplane backwards, just very hard to move it forward (no where to grab).



Bob Thomason Charlotte, NC
John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#17 Posted: 7/19/2010 08:20:41

BTW folks, Given the reports of wet and soft grounds I'm seeing this year (One guy who set up his camper this past weekend calls it "sloshkosh"), Bring some 3/4" thick plywood squares for your plane to sit on, regardless of where you are parking. It's cheap insurance. It sounds like the grounds are going to to be soft for several days as it is, and if it rains again, it's certainly not going to help.



Steven Lin
10
Posts
0
#18 Posted: 7/19/2010 15:21:34

In regards to bringing plywood squares - does anyone have a good suggestion for actually moving the plane onto the squares?  I brought plywood one year and my plane must either be heavy (it's a Cirrus, 3400 lb max gross) or my wife and I are wimpier than I thought (very likely) but even the two of us just could not push the plane back onto the plywood.

I'm sure eventually we could have rounded up enough neighbors to help us push the plane back but at the time we usually arrive (typically mid-week when the early arrivals start leaving and spots start to open up again), there aren't a lot of people milling around the random open spots.  And once we get tied down and the tent set up, it's harder or less convenient to pull up stakes and move the plane once an appropriately large crowd or helpers can be rounded up.

Any ideas?

Thanks!



John Thompson
127
Posts
8
#19 Posted: 7/19/2010 19:12:04

Steve,

The ground crew that directed you to your parking spot should be able to help you push your plane back.

Did you have your parking brake on?