Lake Tahoe – Airshow and Fly-In 2008

The extensive smoke from the fires in northern California had dissipated enough to make the annual airshow at the Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL) worth going to.

Normally a small event, the smoke did not inhibit the performers or intimidate drive-to attendance. It did, however, have the effect of making the ramp area look more like a military airshow than a civilian event; fly-in attendance was sparse.

With an elevation of 6264 feet, KTVL’s 8544-foot runway length is needed. The effect of altitude was apparent in an unanticipated way. Prudence dictated that the airshow performers add about 1000 feet to the altitude used for their routine, and it was visually apparent why. Pull-out at the bottom of a loop sometimes showed a very high angle of attack from which the pilot immediately recovered. Without the extra altitude it might have been more than a curiosity to the sharp-eyed.

Even with the low turnout, some interesting aircraft were on display. Cessna was evident in a beautiful, all-glass aircraft with a prominent Cessna logo. Another head-turner was a CompAir 7 with a turbine engine that used the flat sides of the fuselage for photos of the region.

The favorite of the show was the SeaBee with a Corvette engine. A winner at multiple airshows, it had a constant crowd admiring the detailing. In 2009, hopefully, the show will not be inhibited by smoke. Even this year, though, it was still worth the outing.


Senior Editor Bob Fritz is the author of the popular “The Home Machinist” series in KITPLANES along with numerous articles on a variety of subjects. He completed a Jabiru J250 kit aircraft and wrote a series about building it.

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