I have previously mentioned that I am more interested in getting to events that are slightly more individual than the bigger airshows these days. That also includes when I am trying to get material for the magazine together. One such event was the WACO Reunion in Mount Vernon OH. This was being covered for a piece that I was writing for Global Aviation Resource and will appear in an upcoming edition of the magazine. Consequently, I am not going to preempt the magazine piece here.
Instead, this is more about the time I had while I was there rather than a description of the event and the organization. I had been in contact with Andy Heins, president of the national WACO Club earlier in the year to make sure I could cover the event. Andy told me what I needed to do to be there and then made himself available to tell me all about what was going on. The event is a gathering of club members and their aircraft and is a very social event. There is no flying display. However, the members like to fly their aircraft and that is what they do. The middle of the day is quite quiet but early in the morning and later in the day when the weather is a lot more calm is the time when people get in their planes and fly.
Fortunately, that also included me getting to fly too. My first trip of the day was in a Citabria with Tim Ponds. This was to get some aerial shots of the aircraft parked to illustrate the article. Time was very accommodating and we got some video footage as well as stills of the site. While we were up, Steve Thomas was flying his WACO and we arranged an impromptu shoot. Normally I am not inclined to shoot air to air without a prior brief. However, we kept it simple and straight and level and I was able to grab some good shots. We also flew past the airfield and got a couple of shots with the aircraft parked in the background.
Then I got my first flight in a WACO when Susan Theodorelos took me up in her beautiful model RNF. This is an open cockpit model with the pilot in the rear seat and a two seat space up front for the passengers. I was on my own in this case so had some space to move. A couple of other aircraft joined up for some formations and I was able to grab some shots of them at the same time. Vibration was not too bad but keeping myself isolated from the airframe was tricky so getting good shots was a bit tricky. However, I got some I was pleased with.
One technique thing I learned from these flights was focus activation. I normally focus with the rear button on the camera rather than the shutter button. This is fine in almost all circumstances. However, when you are trying to shoot backwards at an odd angle, this is a lot harder to do and the shutter button becomes the best solution. Swapping the configuration in flight (I hadn’t expected to shoot another aircraft when we first took off) wasn’t practical so some odd contortions were necessary. Now I have added this config setting to my quick menu so I can make the change quickly if the situation should arise again.
Everyone at the flyin was very friendly. Aviation never fails to amaze me with the way in which you can show up somewhere for the first time with nothing but a shared interest and be welcomed so quickly by people you have never met before. The WACO people were a perfect example of this and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality. I hope to be back again for future reunions. In the mean time, here is a little video that I got while there. Enjoy and don’t forget to buy the magazine when it comes out at www.globalaviationresource.com!