I just got the final results in from my Oshkosh sales.  While I didn’t sell as many Gee Bee Books as last year, I definitely sold more product!  Last year was the first year the book came out and I sold 420, although I did run out of books with three more days left of the Fly-In.  This year I sold 350 Gee Bee Books, as well as, 100 Audio Experience CD’s, and 120 Wizard of Orlampa DVD’s.   EAA rolled out the red carpet for me and gave me my own spot, Kermit’s Corner, in the EAA Wearhouse Merchandise building near Aeroshell Square.

kermit's corner

I introduced two showings of the Wizard of Orlampa in the EAA Museum Theater and got a great response.  When I arrived for my second showing on Thursday morning, the AV guy came out and told me it was the biggest crowd he had seen all week!  All the seats were filled with many people sitting in the aisles!  I also got a chance to read the Gee Bee Book several times at Kid Venture and gave away six Gee Bee Books as prizes.

Handing out three Gee Bee Books after reading to the crowd!

Handing out three Gee Bee Books as prizes after reading to the crowd!

On Thursday night, at the Young Eagles event, I was an auction item and my Vision Tour package including an airplane flight raised $4000!  All in all it was a great trip!

Kermit

grumman-duck-in-flightWe hosted our second Splash-In event as part of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In on Thursday, April 23rd.  It was a great success!  Last year we had 85 seaplanes and this year we had 101!  The weather was perfect and I got a chance to fly the Grumman Duck for everyone.  We are beginning to plan and promote our own Seaplane Fly-In during the last weekend of September of this year so keep your eyes peeled for more information.  With our great shoreline and seaplane ramp, we have the potential to create one of the premier Seaplane Fly-In’s in the world!

ford-tri-motor-with-hong-my-and-dan-cherryOf course, during the Fly-In I get to meet many new and old friends.  One of the more interesting new ones were Lt. Hong My and Dan Cherry.  The first time they met was in the skies over Hanoi, Vietnam where Dan Cherry flying an F-4 Phantom shot down Hong My in his Mig 21.  They got reacquainted 37 years later and have since become friends, visiting each other homes and doing special events.  They happened to be over at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and I was asked to fly them over and give them a tour of Fantasy of Flight.  I picked them up in my Ford Tri-Motor and gave them both the opportunity to try their hand at flying it.  It was very interesting to say the least because you hardly use the rudder in a jet except to steer on the ground and the Ford is very much a rudder airplane.  I think it was a bit of a shock to both of them to watch the slip ball swing from side to side as they tried to wrestle the Ford around the sky.  After landing, I gave them a grand tour of our facility!

b-25-with-kermit-and-steve-brownAnother person that came by for a visit was an old acquaintance but new Head of the CAF (now Commemorative Air Force).  I gave him a tour of Fantasy of Flight and explained my Vision as to where we were headed.  He seemed deeply influenced by some of the things I was proposing as well as some of the things we were currently doing.  I let him sit in the cockpit of the Polikarpov Po-2 while he listened to the Audio Experience about the Night Witches.  When we climbed out of the cockpit he said, “I HAVE  to play this to my Board of Directors . . . this is exactly what they need to hear!”  The next day he brought by several of his staff to show them the facility and listen to some of the Audio Experiences.  Not a bad testimonial!

Kermit

po-2-blog-shot

 

I recently got a chance to fly our Polikarpov Po-2!  It was a Russian training plane designed as a primary trainer and has the distinction of having the longest production run in history from 1928 to 1959 with over 40,000 being built!  During the Great Patriotic War (WWII) the Russians employed a squadron of women operating these at night to harass the enemy by dropping bombs and grenades to keep them from sleeping.  They earned the nickname by their enemy as the “Nachthexen” or the “Night Witches.” 

po-2-start

Engine Start!

The Aircraft Department had been working on it for some time and the weather was nice a couple of days ago so I decided to take it out and taxi around to get used to it.  It has no brakes and uses a steerable tail skid to slow it down and steer it somewhat on our grass runways.  It has an unusual feature of soloing from the front cockpit, which is different from most biplanes of the period.

po-2-blog-shot-2

 

It is powered by a five-cylinder Shvetsov engine with 115hp and has a very distinctive sound while flying.  I hope to put some time on the airplane in the near future as we have a five-hour FAA restriction to fly off locally before I can take up any passengers. This is one of the aircraft featured in the Audio Tour we offer as part of the Fantasy of Flight attraction price, although we only have twenty Audio Wands so it’s first come, first serve.  We also sell the Audio Experience CD in the gift shop as well as at http://www.audioexperiencecd.com.

It’s amazing how something sitting in a static museum can take on a completely different life and energy when you get the engine running and take it to the skies.  Fantasy of Flight is the only aviation facility in the world that currently flies something every day, weather permitting!  While the Po-2 requires a bit of manpower to get it out to the grass, get it started, and then put away, I hope to have the opportunity to fly it during special events and let everyone see and hear this amazing piece of history putt-putt-putting around the sky!

Kermit

skip1I had the pleasure to show Skip Atwater and his wife Fay around Fantasy of Flight recently.  Skip was the head of the Top Secret Remote Viewing  called Star Gate. It was a Black Project he ran from 1977 through 1988 and was a psychic espionage program run by the US government to counteract the program the Russians had.  Remote Viewing was used as part of our intelligence gathering efforts and became a useful tool once they understood how it worked and developed it.

After retiring from the Army, Skip was asked by the Monroe Institute to teach a program on Remote Viewing which he accepted.  Bob Monroe began the Institute and wrote the first book on out-of-body experiences in the early 1970′s called Adventures Beyond the Body and popularized the acronym OBE.

I had always been fascinated with the worlds around us we don’t see and after several years of trying began to have out-of-body experiences in my early twenties.  I had the chance to attend all ten main Monroe Institute Programs over the last couple years and Skip was my instructor for the Remote Viewing Program.  It was fascinating to say the least.  Skip is currently President of the Monroe Institute and you can learn more about it at http://www.monroeinstitute.org.

I have been working diligently on a book of my Monroe experiences called The Journey Never Ends and hope to get it printed some time later this year.  It describes an amazing journey into the exploration of consciousness and Other Realities that was nothing short of phenomenal!  I began recording my experiences after the second Program while they were actually happening and intend to have a website with free downloads of selected experiences to help the readers sense what I was experiencing at the time.  This should enhance the book tremendously as readers will begin to hear my voice as the words come off the pages.  Anyone reading the book will never look at Reality the same again!

Skip was fascinated with my concept for Orlampa and what I am beginning to create.  During my Vision Tour he got a chance to listen to the Spitfire Audio Experience while actually sitting in the cockpit.  When it was over and I opened the cockpit door, he looked over at me and said, “I get it!” Skip and I also got a chance to talk about how my book might help the Monroe Institute cause.  He was very kind and willing to review my notes for his program for any technical details I might have misunderstood about the Remote Viewing material.  To polish off his visit I gave him a ride in the P-51D Mustang!

Kermit

The Fantasy of Flight Audio Experience are now in CD format and are for sale in the Fantasy of Flight Gift Shop.  There are eight great stories using Aviation History that allow you to create your own history!  Each story is about eight minutes long and and are great for enthusiasts and non-aviation enthusiasts alike.  They sell for $15.95 and should be listened to with headphones for the best sound effect.

We started this project almost two years ago and it became the first project where I drew a line in the sand and told everyone that we were not going to do things as we had in the past.  Everything from that moment on must now meet our Design Mission – “To design in a way . . . that is thought-provoking, emotionally engaging, bumps you off-center, lights that Spark within, and in a way that everyone can relate to!”

By April of 2007 we had the Audio Tours up and running for rental as a upcharge.  They are in a wand format with headphones like you might rent at an art museum.  The difference in our product is that it is not a just techincal details of history and technology.  They actively engage you to think about your own life!

Since most new people now coming to Fantasy of Flight have too much to do, our sales weren’t what we had initially hoped.  I spent almost another year working to upgrade the soundscapes by upgrading the reverbs and fine tuning the background sounds.  I am very proud of the final product we have created.

For years I have been getting the “deer in the headlight” look from people when I tell them about my Vision.  This is the first product people can experience and begin to understand where Fantasy of Flight is headed.  In the end, it’s not about airplanes, history and technology.  However, we will use these as means to an end for people to Self-Discovery themselves through Entertainment! 

I could try and explain what these are but you just have to experience them to understand what I’m talking about.  Since having the Audio Experiences my business associates now say, “Now I finally understand what you’re trying to do!” 

Now that we have the Audio CD’s for sale in the Gift Shop we have been giving away the Audio Tour Wands to paying customers in hopes they will purchase the CD.  Our next step will be to take this Audio Experience format and adapt it to an immersive environment like our “Fightertown” simulator room to enhance the take-home value of the experience even more. 

Soon, we hope to have the Audio Experience CD for sale online as well as in download form for podcasting.  This is a key direction of where Fantasy of Flight is headed, so, I hope everyone can come and experience them for themselves and see the potential of what we’re creating! 

This is how I intend to create a separate Theme Park Industry based on things that re REAL!  Keep an eye of us as we’re going to set the world on fire one day! 

Kermit