21 Aug

2023 GatorMOG Goes to Space?? (Titusville) 18 – 20 August – Report from the Field

Wow!  The GatorMOG Summer Noggin in Titusville, FL was exceptional.  Thank you Adam Hitt!!  I am so happy that I didn’t have a conflict or chose to miss this one!  I would be kicking myself right now!   I would have to say it was one of the best GatorMOG weekends we have had in a very long time.  All the others in attendance were equally pleased!!

The weather was exceptional.  We had a spot of rain on the way there, but thanks to Andrea, we had the Roadster top up.  (I personally prefer it down, with my physical challenges, as I can get into and out of the Morgan much easier with the top down!!  Andrea doesn’t like the sun, she takes pills . . .)  Then nothing all weekend, except a short shower while we were having brunch on Sunday. 

It was pretty much a weekend of air conditioning.  It was a bit warm at the Valiant Air Command Museum, when we were out in the big hangars as they only have large fans to circulate the air but really it was not all that bad.  I wasn’t even sweating!  In the other museum display areas, they had air conditioning.  Then at the KSC everything was air conditioned, except the walk across the apron between the Shuttle Atlantis display and the Ice Cream Shop!  I found that walk a bit warm, but the destination made it all worth it!!

The primary activities of the GatorMOG event, mostly Saturday’s itinerary, was exceptionally well planned and executed.  It was a dipole sort of thing for me, at one end the realization of someone’s dream, in some cases the results of which proved to be wildly successful, in other cases not so much, but all were driven by the necessities of war and were accomplished with the most rudimentary of things.  Hand drawn blueprints on vellum, mental and manual calculations (no computers back then), and ultimately the grit and determination of the entire nation. 

One of the aircraft on display at the Valiant Air Command Museum was the P-82 / F-82, ‘Twin Mustang,’ two Mustang fuselages joined together at the wing.  They indicated that this aircraft is the only F-82 in the world still flying and oh by the way, it is available for sale!  It could be yours for only $11M.  And you thought the Morgan’s upkeep was pricey??  (To be honest, I’ve seen a good number of aircraft in my time, but never one of these!!)

At the other end of my dipole, the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).  Again the realization of another dream, accomplished this time with a stubborn determination, repetitive failures, big budgets and massive engineering efforts driven by national pride and patriotism.  I guess I do have to admit, that even as an engineer, I was in awe by it all and humbled by the bravery of the crews. 

Then at the KSC, my personally beliefs were again aroused, this time by the expansive and theatrical displays of early NASA and then again, with the display of the Atlantis Space Shuttle.  It was all exceptionally well done, and it actually brought me to tears!! 

If you have not been to KSC, you have to go!  There are no excuses not to!

The social activities, the Friday evening gathering at the Playalinda Brix Project, the Saturday dinner at Dixie Crossroads, and the impromptu Sunday morning brunch at Steve’s Family Diner on HWY – 1 in Titusville were all superb!  Great beer and food at the Playalinda Brix Project but it was a very, let me emphasize very, popular place!  And, with no reservations, we did have to fight the crowds.  But in the end, it was well worth it!   The Dixie Crossroads Restaurant was great, as always, but we went a bit early this time.  Something about a beer??  (And it was still packed??)  And brunch just happened.  The timing was convenient as it showered while we sat and ate!  Then it was clear and bright for our ride home.  In all cases excellent food, drink and company!!!

Again, an exceptional weekend.  And, one I am not likely to forget anytime soon!!



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