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   Phoenix CFO Convention 2011

Phoenix CFO Convention

Click on any image to load a larger version.

We try to move our conventions around the country a little year by year, so all our members have a chance to attend. This was a good year to do something a little further west.

The perfect opportunity arose when we were invited to visit Amsafe, the company who makes most of the seat belts in the US and has recently introduced an Air Bag product for our aircraft. Their test cell and the chance to take in a little western hospitality in Phoenix was the prefect mix.

Our time together started, as usual, with a social outing to a location of interest. The destination on this trip was Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. The front lawn of this facility is pictured to the right.
As our group started the tour we sat in the area where this master of american architecture spent his winters designing and managing his staff of architects.

These grounds were both a project and an inspiration, and the work was both a business and a school. Students who paid to reside in this facility and learn also designed portions of it and were put to work building it.
For instance the chair to the right was a design of this center, conceived as easy to build and modern in design, make the 'sitter' look good and still comfortable to sit in. Ewald put that to the test, as did many of the rest of us, and concluded it achieved all its goals. 0frank2.jpg
Throughout the grounds little accents could be seen. Some were brought back from trips abroad, while others were designs made here.

This is one of several small statues referred to as 'sprites.' They evidently are visible in many Wright designed buildings in other places, but these were said to be among the few which had been painted.
One of the last buildings constructed here was this performance center, designed to be set up for performances of many types. The pictures show some of the personal shelters built by students as their residences, and some of the concept drawings for projects in progress when Wright passed away. 0frank4.jpg
This group shot of the CFO group was just outside the working area where the students of Wright continue to maintain the school, the work and the facility. We learned of the number of past students who remain in residence in the facility and the continued process of students paying for the honor of working in this environment.

In all it was a fascinating look into the person who's work we have enjoyed on CFO events in the past.

The picture below shows the front of the house and the community office/work area to the left.
After Taliesin West we proceeded to a local Italian restaurant and enjoyed all the excellent Italian food we could eat. They had set aside a room for our late lunch so we had plenty of time to debrief and discuss our morning tour.
The first day of the event started with a morning technical discussion at the hotel. Keith and Paul commented on some of Keith's pictures of interesting things seen on Cardinals.

We also heard from Ed Moates. He had a very interesting video showing the flight he offers for tourists around his location north of Phoenix. He flies a triangle pattern which takes in Monument Valley and a number of other scenic locations. It was very interesting to see his video and hear his description of the things to know when flying in that part of the country.
Soon it was time to load up and head to Amsafe. They gave us a nice lunch, showed us some information related to their products and shared some history of their company.

Especially interesting were the stories of situations in which their seat belts and especially the air bags had saved lives. In some cases the pilots didn't know that air bags were installed, but were very glad to learn they were after a sudden stop.

We were surprised to learn that most aviation seat belts were made by Amsafe. Seeing the difference between different materials and hearing what kinds of wear to watch for made this an interesting discussion even for those with stock restraints.

Things got even more interesting when we got out into the manufacturing area. This is a very large shop where they sew not only the belts but the airbags and the leather and other covers which make them look like part of a nice interior.

As the tour progressed we came to the sled, where the team was waiting for our arrival to fire off another test.
The test being conducted today was for an airline, checking Amsafe's solution for the first class cabin area. The white box to the right is a mockup of the seat assembly, one of those fancy ones that lays down for international flight. This design creates some sharp edges that could be dangerous in an emergency landing. Amsafe had developed a bag to protect the passenger in this configuration. amsafe2.jpg
Tucked away in a side room were many more dummies each waiting for their own ride down the sled. They mentioned the price for each dummy... it was an impressive figure I don't recall. amsafe3.jpg
Here the back of the sled can be seen along with the build up of the seating obstructions and seat attachment framework. As you can see this is all mounted on wheels, and makes up the sled which will be accelerated down the track to a sudden stop at the end. amsafe4.jpg
Here is a top view of the sled, click play to see the run. The still shows the assembly after the run. The deployed air bag is visible as is the device at the end of the track which stops the sled.
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This is another view of the sled stopping device. It turns out to be the key to the whole operation. Several rows of large bolts restrain a selectable number of steel rods, forcing them to bend into a complicated Z shape when impacted by the sled.

As the sled impacts these rods it gives up some energy to the bending forces required to create these shapes. More rods means more energy will be absorbed, and the pattern of when the rods are each engaged helps shape the deceleration curve.

Tuning the number and location of these rods allows the operators to create the perfect type of deceleration of the test they are doing. It was great to see it in operation.

As a side effect the system creates a large number of Z shaped rods. All they need now is a good application for rods bent in that particular shape....

As we continued through the facility we saw many mockups of various cockpits and seating systems, along with walls of webbing of various colors. It was a fascinating visit, and one which inspired many who attended to reconsider their current restraint system and seriously consider an upgrade.

Luckily Amsafe is running a promotion through the end of the year, so check it out to take advantage of the substantial discount!

After our day at Amsafe we were off to the Rawhide Western Town for an evening of doing, well, western things.

This was our first stop for the evening.
This was one of the first things we saw and it certainly got Paul's attention! Tanks of Hydrogen and Oxygen... just like at work!

It's not clear just what they were planning to do with this old west invention, but it was worth a picture.
Start with the good stuff... excellent steaks, beans and texas toast grilled on an open flame. It was excellent food! west2a.jpg
The group enjoyed their steaks here in the old saloon. west7.jpg
Since this was close to Halloween many of the acts and actors were in a somewhat unusual state, like this headless horseman who wandered around all night. I suppose without a head it was hard to know where he was going! west3.jpg
There were a number of shows and such around the town, and our dinner came with a free pass for all. This was a pony and dog show put on by an award winning horse trainer... very nicely done! west8.jpg
There were a few other attractions that caught our attention through the evening. Duane sat here quite a while but no one could find the switch to make the chair work! west9.jpg
Right next door to the electric chair was perhaps the rarest picture of them all... Debbie sitting down and relaxing for a moment! Everyone enjoyed the warm and pleasant evening. west9a.jpg
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, and the crowd headed to the airport for a day with the airplanes.

As is our custom at conventions we spent a half a day getting to know each owner's aircraft, including anything new and interesting, as well as answering a few questions.
Lunch was at the airport restaurant just around the corner. There's nothing like a room full of pilots with a view of the airport for a solid hour of interesting talk. 1lunchmex.jpg
The afternoon found us back at the airport, where Cutter Aviation had made a hangar available to us. We dove into two airplanes in depth, finding interesting items both good and in need of work.

There was plenty of time to look them over well and ask any question that might come up. Some details are familiar to those who've attended a few times, but we always seem to learn something new each time as well.

Then it was time to do the same on Tom Saxon's new airplane, or at least new to him. With a turbo and in the 'before' state (if you ever saw Tom's FG once he was done with it you know what I mean) there was plenty to look at here as well!

Evening brought us back to the hotel meeting room for an even banquet to wrap up the event. The following pictures show those in attendance.

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Time for awards!

The Fledgling award, for the most recent Cardinal purchaser to attend the event, went to Ralph Kirch, who purchased his Cardinal in February of 2011.
Our newest pilot was an enthusiastic one: Pamela Williams, who just got her ticket in April of 2011. zaward3.jpg
Tom Saxon had flown the furthest to attend, having come 1783 nautical miles. zaward4.jpg

Stu Tracey had the bad luck to discover a cracked spinner on his visit to the event, with the help of a few dozen sharp eyed Cardinal drivers.

For his very public discovery he was awarded, by popular vote of the group, the Hard Luck award for this event.

And last but certainly not least, the People's Choice Best Cardinal of Show, which was won by:

Al and Elaine Jung!

Congratulations to the Jungs, seen here by their award winning Cardinal. zaward7.jpg

A plane spotter and professional photographer happened to be at the airport on our departure day and captured the following images. Debbie found them after he posted them into a public area, and got his permission to share them here.

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