Vacuum bags, bivy bags, baby wipes

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More than a few general aviation pilots have learned the joy of camping under a wing and off the grid (“flamping,” if you’re hip to the new lingo), and most GA airplanes offer at least a modest amount of luggage space, depending on how many seats are occupied, and how much fuel is in the tank. A Cessna Skyhawk can support travel for two for weeks on end without much sacrifice in terms of toiletries, and even leave room for a towel.

Available space is hard to find in aerobatic airplanes, however. A Pitts S–1 is a fine competition airplane, but there’s not much room for your stuff. Should you wish to fly one of these to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for a week of camping at EAA AirVenture or the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships (both of which we all hope will return for 2021), the first challenge you face will be making do without the suitcase.

Several members of the International Aerobatic Club’s Chapter 35, a cluster of competitive pilots from around New England, have made the trip to the weeklong contest more than once, spending weeks living with less. While one might reasonably survey the available space in an Extra 330 SC, calculate the volume of baggage typically required for such a duration, and conclude that spending any amount of time surrounded by such pilots on the contest line would be as malodorous an experience as a hobo convention in a junkyard, that is not, in fact, the case.

Pitts pilot and competitor Eric Anderson supplied a detailed briefing on his approach to attending five weekend competitions during the 2016 season.

“I was caught naked ‘showering’ under a garden hose in Vermont, harassed mercilessly by cows in Virginia and very nearly arrested at 1 a.m. in New Jersey,” Anderson recalled in an essay supplied by way of reply. “I can tell you that everything you’ll need for the weekend packs nicely in a single-hole Pitts.”

Anderson is a fan of the bivy (aka, a “bivvy” or “bivy sack” for a “bivouac sack”), essentially a bag made of nylon or other material that takes up far less space and weight than a tent. A compact, portable cocoon developed from military and mountaineering use, a bivy offers some degree of shelter from the elements, if not quite what some might call “comfort.”

“Reading is possible in a bivy, but little else

This post was originally published by AOPA on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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