Wednesday June 28, 2006
At 7 sharp the reporters from Channel 7 (a CBS affiliate) and cable channel 14 arrived. Since Michael's PPC has better climb performance than Voyager, he was assigned to take the gentleman from channel 14 for a demo flight. The reporter from Channel 7 was a petite woman, probably weighing no more than 110 pounds soaking wet, and I offered to take her up on a demo flight. At this lower altitude I'm confident Voyager will carry two people just fine, especially if I leave the top tank empty, saving 48 pounds of weight. Unfortunately she had to decline, as corporate policy forbids such activities without specific insurance in place. Instead she opted to film Voyager taking off, doing a touch and go, and a landing.
Michael had taxied to the turn around area at the end of runway 22. I taxied to a spot which put me about 1,000 feet in front of Michael, and to one side, as the runway is 75 feet wide. With an 8 mph headwind, I was confident that Michael would be off the ground in less than 200 feet, and long gone by the time my location was reached. Alternately, he could taxi to a point in front of me, since the runway is 4,750 feet long, and take off from there.
After I'd dumped the chute out of the bag Michael taxied up and asked if I'd swap places with him. I saw no reason to do so, and declined, suggesting he set up at the end of the runway were he'd been sitting originally. Instead he opted to taxi back to the ramp and wait for me to take off. Unfortunately the winds started to change velocity and direction in the intervening 15 minutes, and after laying out his chute he decided not to fly.
Alana Rocha, the channel 7 reporter, took some excellent footage of the take off, touch and go and the landing. I packed up and taxied us back to the ramp where she completed the interview. Then the cable 14 reporter, Scott Shapiro, interviewed me as well.
Rusty, Michael and I crowded around the TV to watch the CBS 6 o'clock news, and believe it or not they used the Voyager story as the opening "teaser" for the news. Finally, about 20 minutes into the news, the piece aired, and it was better than any of us had expected. Whoever had done the editing deserves an award. So today was a very productive day.