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Aurora, IL

A wet spring and long week of storms were the perfect setup for a warm spring day for a CFO regional flyin in Aurora Illinois.

A good crowd of airplanes accepted the forecast (not an easy thing to do in Illinois) and braved the early morning clouds to fly to Aurora, a class D airport in the south-western suburbs of Chicago. The airport itself is well out into the farmland around Chicago, where there is plenty of room for aviation.

By the end of the day 25 Cardinals filled the ramp, an excellent turnout for this first ever regional event at Aurora.

We were welcomed on the expansive ramp and at the EAA hanger. Early arrivals were treated to a special young eagles event: every year the top four scholastic achievers at the nearby high school get a young eagles ride in the four T-6 trainers visible at the top of the picture. We were told that this event had singlehandedly raised the grade point average of that school by a substantial amount. It was fun to see the excitement of those involved.

On arrival each aircraft was met by Brian Strom, our host for this event, shown here to the right. Brian is very active in airport events, and was handling calls for the EAA Young Eagles event planned for the next day as he wandered around the Cardinals.

His connections with the airport management, EAA chapter and others on the airport made for a smooth event. Both the airport manger and the manager of the local FBO stopped by to officially welcome us to the airport. And Brian's creative ideas for special events was also hard at work, as we will soon see.

Evidently this airport has a lot of practice at throwing a party. For instance one guy showed up to park the airplanes, bright orange gloves and all. Brian said he used to work on an aircraft carrier, and sure enough, he parked us wingtip to wingtip within a few inches of each other without mishap.

Later as more people arrived, a few more people showed up to help tail people in. Everything went as smooth as could be. Such parking makes interesting shots like this possible

The first order of business for most of the attendees was to dive into the excellent food provided.

Brian, his wife and a few of their friends laid out an outstanding spread of burgers, brats (a sort of sausage in a bun for those not close enough to Wisconsin to know this), chips, sodas, beans and brownies.

As mentioned, the event was set up in the EAA hanger, with two grills, many coolers and a large number of tables and chairs available. We talked Brian into setting out a contribution jar to help with the expenses, and the CFO members showed their appreciation appropriately; Thanks to all who pitched in. I'm sure that will make it easier for Brian to do this again in the future.

Since this was the first event at this location, or even in this area, everyone came with uncertainty as to who they would meet. Judging from the action at the lunch tables, there was no shortage of things to talk about.

We had four full tables of people, in fact when I went to sit down there were not two chairs together. These pictures show a slightly later time, when people were down to the desert and conversation.

I brought a few of the broken items that seem to collect in my hanger, in all there were 27 items of interest. Attendees were asked to identify what each part was and figure out what was wrong with it.

The parts got a lot of interest, although they were puzzling enough that most people did not feel the confidence to enter into the competition for 'know it all'. That honor was left to me, although since these were all from my airplane it felt more like 'paid for it all' to me. :-)

Once the food and technical discussions died down it was time for the tour, shown queuing up in this picture. Brian had arranged for a tour of the local Chicago Center facility. Evidently he has friends in high places all over!

The number attending the tour was limited, but in the end there were just enough slots for everyone to go. They got the special tour, where the group was split up into pairs, and each got to 'plug in' with a controller to experience their working of traffic.

While the large group was at the tour, the rest of us hung around the ramp and told stories. A few of us wandered up to the control tower and got a fine tour, with all the lights, bells and whistles.

The tower crew was very friendly and cooperative. We told them we only came over to increase their operation count, see if we could get them a raise.

One of the tower guys said "You can't see this many Cardinals in one place without a trip to the Vatican!"

The rest of our time was spent in one of my favorite, but rarely performed acts: lazing around the airport on a warm day. One of the attendees, who I shall not name, asked if I'd like to look over his airplane and answer a few questions. These are always interesting.

In the end we settled for removing a gallon of insulation from the heater ducts and resetting his nosegear roller to the proper 'gear down' position. We keep forgetting that everyone who buys a Cardinal does not know to check this item.

After the infiltration of the Winter Haven CFO fly-in by a cleverly disguised Bonanza driver, Brian contracted with the owner of this aircraft to the right to keep those non-Cardinal pilots away from the area for the duration.

The idea seemed to work fine, proving that deterrence really is a valid political basis, with the exception of the aforementioned T-6's. Still, they seemed to scurry off shortly after this beast appeared.

About the time that the touring group returned, Brian must have gotten word of a gaggle of Bonanza owners planning to make a run on our flyin, so he scrambled the MIG.

If you are not aware of these details, the MIG is one of the few Mach 2 aircraft that one can keep as a pet, and has a fully functioning afterburner as well. It would make a dandy charcoal lighter when it's not busy chasing Bonanzas.

The owner had planned a practice session, and Brian just suggested that such things are much better done with an appreciative audience. He talked the owner into waiting not only until the day we were there, in the end he even delayed his launch until our tour group had returned, so they got to see the whole show.

Eventually the Bonanza pilots were repelled, and the MIG was recalled from it's mission. At a rumored 600 gallons per hour, it was probably just in time.

There was some discussion about the flight costing about $1000 dollars. I'm not sure how the owner felt, but we certainly got his money's worth out of it!

One little detail for many of our departing CFO members was the small matter of the MIG's parachute. It seems that it must be 'cut loose' before the MIG can turn off the runway, with the result that the runway must be closed until it can be recovered. So there was quite a pause while all that was sorted out.

It was a lot of fun listening to all the Cessna pilots in the pattern.. "Yes, Tower, I have that MIG in sight.. "

In the end the tower crew was so worn out by all this excitement that they signed up a few of our party to handle Ground Control for a while.

Well, perhaps it was not exactly like that, but the kids certainly figured out the best part of the Tower tour in a hurry: the grease pencils!

In fact, lest I am accused of malinging the excellent tower crew, they not only tolerated our tours (and kids!), they even gave a special greeting to every Cardinal that arrived, and gave us excellent and professional service even as the MIG patrolled the skies overhead. They were truly an excellent group.

Finally it was time to go, and all but two of the 25 Cardinals flew back to their home nests. The other two rolled back, arguing about who got the 'traveled least distance' bragging rights.

It was a great day, and a lot of fun. A straw poll of those in attendance resulted in a strong thumbs up for doing it again next year. We'll just have to see what Brian will cook up with an entire year to prepare...

If you attended this event, we want your feedback! What worked well for you, what didn't work well? Let us know and we'll do better even next time!

Keith Peterson, CFO Webmaster.

We got this nice note from Mike at Luminair:

Great report on a great fly-in on a great day with great weather. Doesn't get much better than that. I was impressed with the turnout and the enthusiasm of your group. I, as I am sure Brian, look forward to seeing all of you and more back at ARR for the 2nd Annual Cardinal Gathering next year. In the mean time, if I can be of service, don't hesitate to contact me. Until then, safe trips to all.

Mike Luman
Lumanair Aviation Services
P. O. Box 1146 Aurora, IL 60507-1146
800-522-8778 630-466-4866 (Local) 630-466-1046 (Fax) Freq: 123.5

All the aircraft in attendance are shown below.. click on each image to open a larger version of the image in a new window.

There was a good crowd signed up for this event. Here is the list from the pre-registration signup.

NameHome BaseAircraftN NumberComment / Info
Keith PetersonC3876RGN33267Will come early to help out with setup. Also working on a small technical presentation, perhaps a "what's wrong with this part" quiz?
Brian and Noel StromKARR1976 RGN7546VYour hosts.. looking forward to it!
Nelson GeorgeC24'76 C177RGN34947 be glad to help in any way!
Brent WillitsC0976 rgN7637VHappy to assist with whatever
Mark BretscherDPA1976/RGN41EM
Erv Emery0c0 Dacy1976 FGN13603 Would like to help however needed.
Michael WatsonGGI (Grinnell; IA)1977 177BN20300
John KolendaLOT1973690TSHave a couple of rooms available for CFO members who might need lodging. Must be willing to share a glass of Merlot before retiring. Sign up my wife an me.
Gary EckebrechtARR1977 FGN19783 Willing to help with whatever...
Richard McCombAGC1971 RGN8005g 5th RG off the assembly line; haven't flown it since October 1998! Lots of work has been done.
Mark &Alpha Remaley 05C1971 Cessna 177RGN8208G Willing to do air-to-air photography of CFO members planes; as I did in Boyne; '99.
Dennis Schluttenhoferdrivingnonenone
Larry & Ginger Osborne3CKC177 RG 1977N52696
Phil MartineauSTP1977/FGN20214
Steve WellmanJXN1971/RGN8089GWilling to help; just let me know what I can do.
Rick Ostericherazo78FG1351C
Winkel Ted & JaLDM1976 RGIIN34096We hope this can happen both weather wise and insurance wise. Insurance qualification of 10 dual and 10 solo before carrying passengers will be completed if the weather gods cooperate! More than happy to lend hands upon arrival.
James & Cindy RozmarekMBL1970 177BN30876Potential wing man for N34096. Put us on the alternate tower tour list.
Joel ZieveAZOc-172MN20089The Cardinal FG and RG are possibilities that I am considering for purchasing in about two years. I'm looking forward to learning more and meeting you nice folks!
Brown Winn & PhilAWM1968 C-177N29563 Davis Brown may come too.
Dan Blaskie AZOArriving with Joel and Ann Zieve. Registered by Joel.
Bob Dell06c1976 c177rgn34944
Paul HollowellOSH1978 Cardinal RG IIN52838 Looking forward to the gathering.
Curtis William39N1975 Cardinal RGN24DM I may not have a compleated interior but I need a long cross country.
Glenn Kay3CK1978 / C-177RGN52831 Will bring a can of window cleaner for those in need.
James & Rae Ellen JohanssonOSH1977 177RGIIN5599A
William LaskeyGalt (10C1972 FGN34202
JEFFREY MATTICEmke1972/177bn34244
Don BarnesARR1976 RGN7546VLooking forward to seeing a whole flock of Cardinals.
Richard SwortzelARB / 10C1971 177RGN8261GOn the way home from an Annual inspection at Galt.
Wickes RossiterNorwood; MA1977 C-177BN19857Hoping the Wx will cooperate!
Nick & Matt McBride1c268/CardinalN400L
Tom BeckPTK1977 FGN18159

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