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Aviation Students, Faculty Member Provide Ground Support for Rotary Air Show

The view from above, shortly after takeoff Friday 'Sleepy,' Team RV's ground chief, holds the smoke-oil hose while student Jacob R. Tuck pumps Students and Thomas D. Inman (kneeling at right), during a meet-and-greet with Team RVPenn College aviation students Alper B. Tan, Marc T. Kaylor, Jacob R. Tuck, Richard M. “Matt” Hause and Daniel A. Starr along with co-department head Thomas D. Inman provided ground support for air-show aircraft at last weekend’s Lycoming County Rotary Clubs Festival 2011. The college was a “co-pilot sponsor” for the event, held at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville. Aircraft included Team RV, the world’s largest formation aerobatic team; Misty Blues, an all-female skydiving team; and Jeff Maurer, a Pennsylvania-based aerobatic act. The students and Inman pumped more than 200 gallons of smoke oil during the event. Team RV and Maurer make smoke trails by pumping special oil into the exhaust. Each airplane has a smoke-oil tank that must be refilled between performances. Altogether, the aerobatic aircraft used more than 50 gallons of oil per performance. Tuck saved the day after the oil pump came apart Saturday, leaving half inside the 55-gallon drum. The freshman used his aviation toolbox (and considerable skill) to extract the components stuck inside the barrel and reassemble the pump. Inman and Team RV members worked the phones and arranged for the Lycoming Engine Co. to loan the students a pump that was used as a backup. Inman, Tan, Kaylor and Tuck were offered a seat to ride along with the pilots. Inman rode Friday night, during a media/sponsor flight; the students rode Sunday during a practice session. “Pulling three G’s makes you feel your age,” said Inman, who added that students were much less affected. The pilots performed a variety of tight-formation maneuvers, as well as a follow-the-leader exercise in which each airplane had to follow the exact path of the preceding aircraft an exercise characterized by Inman as “much like riding a 3,000-foot-high rollercoaster.” Photos provided by Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of aviation

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