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Concord CA CFO Flyin 2001

Our first West Coast CFO convention was a great success and a good time for all. We were all sorry that Guy could not attend as planned, but we adjusted and everything worked out.

Paul wrote a great report, I'll turn it over to him with perhaps a few marginal comments in italics:

Subject: CFO Fly-in Concord, CA Report!
From: Paul Millner

Folks, we've had a couple of great days here in the SF Bay Area, if you weren't able to join us, we hope to see you at another event soon, or back at the west coast CFO fly-in next Fall!

Arrivals began Thursday evening, and we had a gang of seven for the Friday San Francisco (etc.) tour. The group convened in the Sheraton lobby at 8ish Friday morning, and cajoled the desk clerk to take them to the BART (subway) station, since the hotel van was otherwise engaged.

After a 30 minute train ride through the Berkeley hills and under the bay, they emerged at the SF Civic Center, where the UN was founded 55 years ago last month.

A van then carried the gang of seven to the top of Twin Peaks (not the one of soap opera fame) for a panoramic view of San Francisco and environs, and a glimpse at some real, genuine, SF fog coming in from the ocean. Fortunately, that soon lifted.

We then rode the van back down the hill, through the Haight Ashbury (which looks more like the 60's now than it ever did in the 60's), across the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, into the Richmond District. We then ascended Telegraph Hill for a view of the crookedist street in the world, and a set of great photos of the participants, with steep streets and Alcatraz like a jewel in the Bay in the background.

We then rode through Cow Hollow and the Marina district, and visited the viewpoint at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge (where some of us where inspired by one of the few public statues honoring an engineer! :-)

The ride across the bridge was beautiful, as the fog had lifted, except for the odd wisp here and there for effect, and descended along the OLD highway 101 into Sausalito, for a lovely lunch al fresco, out over the water, with a view of the City.

The intrepid travelers left the van behind, and caught the Sausalito ferry back to San Francisco, taking a subsequent walking tour of the waterfront, Pier 39, and Fisherman's Wharf. The next mode of transportation was cable car, to the cable car museum (a really neat place!), and then across Nob Hill, on to Halladie Plaza on Market Street, and eventually back to Concord via BART. A lot packed in to one day. Heck, I'm tired just writing about it, and I haven't even begin to describe the fly-in yet!

Meanwhile the Cardinals were collecting at the Concord airport. Leo had arrainged for us to use the Mount Diablo Pilot's Association building for our events, and as folks arrived we gathered on the lawn to get aquanted and watch the Cardinals arrive. In all something over 21 airplanes were there, although a few left before we could get pictures of them.

Our hunger and thirst was slaked (and how often does one get to use THAT word?!) by a pleasing selection of goodies (I figured I couldn't get away with slaked and comestibles in the same sentence).

Friday evening we convened at the very nice facilities of the Mount Diablo Pilots Association, and thanks to the MDPA and especially Leo Saunders for making those facilities available. We had a two and a half hour discussion of modifications, including an update on turbocharging, speed mods, and a virtual tour of both the Plane Plastics and GAMI/TATI facilities in Oklahoma.

Paul was able to bring an excellent projector to put our pictures on the wall. It was interesting to see some of these parts in super size, but the ability to bring up a clear picture and point to things with the mouse pointer worked out very well.

We wrapped up the evening, not too late, and returned to the hotel on the other side of the airport for a good night's sleep.

Saturday dawned bright, but soon a mid-level broken to overcast layer moved in. That didn't daunt our IFR and scud-running arrivals.

We began after more eating to tour the flightline, with amplified comments from both owners and the CFO hosts on the assembled aircraft, something like 28 Cardinals overall.

In CFO tradition, we walked the flight line and gave each pilot a chance to talk about their airplane and described what was unusual and what they still hoped to accomplish. The number of exotic panel contents was amazing, and many sported metal panels and fancy interiors. Cardinal owners are clearly the type to take good care and upgrade well.

We saw a number of interesting mods, speedbrakes come to mind, and there were three turbo Cardinals, and about the same number of all metal panels in evidence. Some really nice upholstery to see there too.

Leo put his talent to work on an excellent lunch, grilling up a Santa Maria tri-tip with all the fixin's. The MDPA building was well suited for the event, with all the tools and resources needed.

It was a good chance to get off our feet and get to know people a little better, while a few folks prepared for the afternoon session.

After lunch, Wayne Grau volunteered his beautiful RG for an in depth examination, so he pulled the cowl and stinger, and we spent the better part of four hours with all eyes and many fingers on his aircraft's bits and pieces.

Wayne thought his aircraft was perfect (and it really does look it, too), but we found 16 semi-significant squawks, to his amazement. However, Keith noted that it was the BEST condition Cardinal we'd ever examined in this fashion, which restored some of Wayne's well-placed confidence in his bird.

We started with the engine, noting several things that were well done. Wayne had obviously put a lot of care into the details of the entire airplane, and many of them showed here.

There were a few details. The fuel pump tell-tale drain had worn apart and an appearant flaw in the spinner paint was well debated and finally found to be hiding a crack.

Many pens were flying as several people took notes.. perhaps we can get some of them presented to the digest. A number of items, good and bad, large and small were discussed and pointed out.

We moved to the wings, doors, and tailcone, observing clues and solutions. A slightly worn door hinge gave us a chance to review the consequences of this issue.

One member noticed that the door rattled, which explained where the door latch spring had gone. And more details were noted in the tailcone area, most of them good. It was an excellent chance to see the parts in 3D.. better than just a picture.

This portion of the program concluded with a general discussion of what we had seen. Wayne reacted strongly to our observation that this airplane was in about the best shape of any we had been able to inspect closely.

His list of around 20 items had led him to believe quite the contrary, but in fact we found it to be a well maintained airplane in excellent shape. Any airplane has a few details, and you can count on a group of more than 30 CFO members to notice them.

As the afternoon wound down we returned to the MDPA building to sort through an assortment of broken parts. This gave us all a chance to get our hands dirty as we passed them around the room.

The parts included mags with missing teeth, new and old main gear rod ends, leaky lord mounts, detonated pistons and dozens of other interesting items. When the discussion broke up everyone headed over the the Hotel for the evening events.

I'm not sure that poor ground controller has recovered yet from having twenty-something Cardinals all call at once requesting taxi from MDPA to the Sheraton... he finally go to the point of "OK, the next three Cardinals can now cross the runway!" We even had a couple clever Cardinaleers call up and request taxi as a flight of two. One observer from the hotel side of the field said that it looked like someone hat smacked a hornet's nest with a baseball bat, and all these Cardinals came swarming out!

Our banquet turned out to pose at least one challenge, finding the room! The hotel had had a fire earlier in the day, making our assigned dining room unavailable. Due to a large wedding reception in progress, options were slimmer than normal. We ended up in an adequate room, but due to poor internal coordination (I guess the Sheraton's business plan doesn't allow for fires), it took at least one couple 45 minutes to find the right dining room. Our apologies for the confusion.

But, the food was good, and the company was without equal.

The food was excellent, well seasoned and available in vast quantities. The conversations flowed, ranging from the molecular structures of materials in low tempeartures (Paul's table) to the joys of dealing with the NTSB to many other subjects of interest.

Paul and Keith thanked Leo Saunders and Duane Allen for all their help in organizing the event, and we were fortunate to have some nice door prizes; $50 and $100 gift certificates from Silver Aviation on the field, for mechanical or avionics work. A couple of the ever popular CFO hats. And a Caribbean Cowboy CD donated by our own Jose Latour, Cardinal Flyer, chanteur, and now once again Caribbean resident. Thanks, Jose!

We also recognized Duane and Audrey Allen for their attendance not only at local CFO events, but both the Cleveland and Belgium CFO fly-ins this year. And Audrey exclaimed that they plan to be in Australia for that CFO fly-in as well, next February. Notice they're working the CFO fly-in alphabet backwards, Cleveland, Belgium, Australia. There's some interest in where our Z fly-in will be located.

Our thanks to everyone who participated in making this such an enjoyable Cardinal weekend, and especially those who volunteered to make the logistics work so well, driving vans back and forth, setting up and cleaning up the clubhouse, and generally taking care of things. We all had a great time, I think it's fair to say. Make sure if you weren't there that you join us next time!

In all, those in attendance indicated that it was an event well worth attending. The question of whether to do it again next year was met with clear approval for doing it again.

A number of people deserve special mention for their efforts in support of this event.

  • Leo Saunders was a key driver, gaining access to the facility and driving several aspects of the event.

  • Duane Allen provided many levels of support, as he has a virtually every CFO event this year around the world.

  • Paul Millner set up the hotel arraingements and managed the overall schedule.

  • Harry Myler handled finances and record keeping, seeing that everyone had their badge and meal tickets.

  • And Wayne Grau's brave offer of his airplane for our analysis was also greatly appreciated.

    Thanks to all for an excellent weekend!


  • These aircraft were seen (or at least photographed) on the flight line. You can click on each image to see a larger version.

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    ccrd3103.jpg ccrd3104.jpg
    ccrd3105.jpg ccrd3107.jpg
    ccrd3108.jpg ccrd3109.jpg
    ccrd3110.jpg ccrd3111.jpg
    ccrd3112.jpg ccrd3113.jpg
    ccrd3115.jpg ccrd3116.jpg
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