Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wait, I'm a member of what now?

The Alaska Airmen's Association Trade Show & Conference, generally called The Trade Show, or The Aviation Trade Show, is this weekend at the FedEx maintenance hangar at Anchorage International. Well, really, it's centered in the hangar with all 275 exhibitors inside, but even a building large enough to work on a 737 indoors is too small to contain it, and the static displays including F-22 raptors to WWII warbirds, FedEx Caravan, DC-3, C-47, Grumman Goose and Albatross, Aviat Husky or three, Sportsman, Bushhawk, supercubs and bush plane variants in kit, experimental, and production, business jets, sleek personal low-wing luxury aircraft... they take up more ramp space than the whole huge hangar does, and we haven't even started on the hangar door manufacturers or the airplane simulators.

I stopped by the booth, which was decked out again in Hawaiian theme. After all, people who are part of a lively and active forum may not recognize each other by face, so a loud Hawaiian shirt or a lei helps. Myself, I've never been a member, though I've skimmed the site to cross-check rumors and facts that come through the aviation community.

A friend was standing there talking to someone - after grabbing a mocha to soothe a sore throat, I figured I'd stop and say hi. He turned to me, waved a hand as if trying to recall something, then said "Oh, yeah! You left your earrings in the PA-12! At least, I think they're yours. Ivory and silver?"

I grinned up at him, and flipped my wrist. "Well, given you're not the kind of guy to wear earrings, they're probably mine!" They are, in fact. I took them off because they hurt when the headset pressed them into my ears, and I'd forgotten about it. He laughed, and we fell to talking airplanes. Next thing I knew, one of the guys was approaching, and draped a lei over my head and hugged me. Startled, I protested. "But I don't have a supercub! I have a Taylorcraft!"

"That's all right! Your third wheel, and your heart, is in the right place!" They grinned and had no intention of taking the identifying marks of the supercub crowd back.

Outnumbered and outgunned, as well as unexpectedly inducted, looked back over at my flying buddy, and said, "So, does this mean I actually have to create a login and leave pithy comments now instead of just reading?" The grin on his face indicated that he, too, saw nothing wrong with me being one of these guys. There are worse crowds to be associated with!


  1. So that's what all the leis were for. I have pictures - I'll send you some soon.

  2. It's good to be accepted by good people.