Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Saturday, January 4, 2014

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013: Cold Weather Themes - TrickAir Snow Skis and Polar Flight 90

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Aero Experience coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013  continues into the new year!  In the first few days of 2014, many of us in the Midwest have experienced some very harsh winter weather, and we thought this might be a good time to review the exhibits related to cold climate flying.  For those who are adept at landing in snow, the TrickAir Snow Skis configuration transforms your aircraft into a flying snowmobile.  For those who need inspiration to do some winter flying, the story of Polar Flight 90, Art Mortvedt's project to fly his Cessna 185 "The Polar Pumpkin" to both poles, will warm your heart on a cold day.  Both stories show that cold weather should not keep a skilled aviator from experiencing the joy of flight. Snow Skis, manufactured by Rick Discher's Weyauwega, Wisconsin-based  Custom Fiberglass Molding Inc., were displayed on the company's Maule M-4.  TrickAir Snow Skis are wheel penetration skis, offering good performance in snow while making it easy to maneuver the aircraft on paved surfaces as well.  There are several models of skis to fit various types of conventional-gear aircraft manufactured by Aeronca, Cessna, Piper, Maule, Aviat and others.  The aerodynamic drag penalty is negligible according to the TrickAir Snow Skis manufacturer, and any slight drop in cruising speed is more attributable to the loss of the wheel pants rather than addition of the skis.  The skis can be installed by the pilot, and a tailwheel ski is available for some models. 
The video below illustrates the TrickAir Snow Skis in action when installed on the Aeronca Champ:             

Continuing with our winter theme, we now turn to the very conspicuous Cessna 185, known as The Polar Pumpkin.  The aircraft (then equipped with skis) was flown by Art Mortvedt to the North and South Poles to demonstrate the applicability of single-engine aircraft operations in support of Polar Science.  Mortvedt, an Alaskan bush pilot with over 5,000 flight hours and multiple expeditions to the polar regions, reached the South Pole November 22, 1999 and most recently flew over the North Pole on April 6, 2013.  On the recent polar flight, the aircraft was equipped with a hyperspectral camera to search for microscopic life living in the ice and snow (similar to efforts to search Mars and other potential habitats).          

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