A Journal, with Pictures

COPA Oak Ridge Weekend

by on Sep.28, 2014, under Flying


Thurs­day Sep­tem­ber 25th over 30 COPA mem­bers con­verged on Knoxville, Ten­nessee, com­ing from as far away as Iowa to join the group. The orga­ni­za­tion was excel­lent with the FBO direct­ing us to the front door then tak­ing care of all the tie down chores. We arrived from Ohio at the same time as the Tur­risi’s and Dout’s did from South Car­oli­na. We were met by the event coor­di­na­tors, pre­sent­ed good­ie bags then trans­port­ed the short dis­tance to the hotel. We had time to social­ize, then fresh­en up before cock­tails and din­ner at the hotel.

Fri­day, we assem­bled for trans­porta­tion by van first to lunch then on to the Oak Ridge facil­i­ty. We stopped in Oak Ridge for a great Mex­i­can buf­fet lunch.

Our first stop was the Spal­la­tion Neu­tron Source which is an accel­er­a­tor-based neu­tron source facil­i­ty that pro­vides the most intense pulsed neu­tron beam in the world for sci­en­tif­ic research and indus­tri­al devel­op­ment. We were met by our super guide Bar­bra, who briefed us then turned us over to a group of peo­ple with very big brains. We were briefed on how the accel­er­a­tor worked then tak­en in small groups  into the gut’s of the com­plex. The whole thing is hard to com­pre­hend but the research delves in the atom­ic lev­el of mat­ter cov­er­ing the whole spec­trum of things that effect our lives.  The key take away is this devices deliv­ers bursts of neu­trons at immense lev­els of ener­gy, 2.5 mil­lion elec­tron volts, to tar­gets to study their com­po­si­tion and reaction.

We then moved to the high flux Iso­tope reac­tor, which is a nuclear reac­tor that pro­duces a con­tin­u­ous stream of neu­trons for exper­i­men­tal pur­pos­es. We were briefed on how the reac­tor worked and viewed a mock up of the gut’s of the reac­tor as well as the reac­tor itself and the con­trol room. We then viewed the “beam lines” where the beams of neu­trons are used in experiments.

We then vis­it­ed the Oak Ridge Super Com­put­er Cen­ter were the sec­ond biggest super com­put­er in the world does it thing. We were briefed, amazed, looked over the acres of com­put­ers, which as an old com­put­er sales­men brought tears to my eyes.

Our last stop on the tour was at were it all begin, the first atom­ic reac­tor, which pro­duced the plu­to­ni­um that was used in the first atom­ic bombs. Bar­bra briefed us on the his­to­ry of the Man­hat­tan project that pro­duced the Atom­ic bomb. The num­ber are amaz­ing, the build­ing alone for pro­duc­ing enriched ura­ni­um was over a mile long, thou­sands of peo­ple were employed and lived in the city of Oak Ridge that was built at a incred­i­ble pace. They built a new house in 20 min­utes. It was a very inter­est­ing day see­ing the lead­ing edge of sci­ence and learn­ing about the incred­i­ble his­to­ry of Oak Ridge. We all left dizzy and in need of a cocktail.

We returned to the hotel fresh­ened up and had that cock­tail we all need­ed and a great din­ner. Stan Szy­bil­lo our amaz­ing event coor­di­na­tor rec­og­nized our spon­sors. They includ­ed, Choice Med Inc. Rick Hen­son  and Mar­ty Alshuler, who donat­ed cash plus the ser­vices of Katey Mari­na, who helped us for two full days. Rick Hen­son also drove a van both Fri­day and Sat­ur­day. Johnathan Foulds, of Hori­zon Avion­ics, also donat­ed cash plus, good­ie bags and the grand prize a GDL 39 potable ADS‑B receiv­er, plus on call main­te­nance for the week end. Herb Jacobs, also pro­vid­ed the name tags as well as helped with the arrival logis­tics. Stan asked for fly­ing expe­ri­ences we could learn from and each table had a speak­er. All pilot speak­ers were ladies and we all learned. It was a great din­ner with juicy prime rib, com­ple­men­tary wine and yum­my deserts. After the din­ner COPA mem­bers lin­gered and social­ized for more than an hour. New COPA friends were made and old ones renewed, which is what COPA fly-ins are all about. Every­one gave our great SE Event Coor­di­na­tor Stan Szy­bil­lo a big round of applause and thank you for the ter­rif­ic job that he did in orga­niz­ing and man­ag­ing the event. Sat­ur­day morn­ing in keep­ing with how the event unfold­ed trans­porta­tion was wait­ing and air­planes were in the air by 9:30 AM. Great event and great job by the COPA South East Region­al team.

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