Tag Archives: News

News and Happenings.

Dark Hollow Pond Trail – Phase 1 – April 27 with Greater Boston NEMBA


Trunkmonkey Racing will be in attendance at the Greater Boston NEMBA Dark Hollow Pond trail project at Middlesex Fells Reservation this coming Sunday (April 27, 2014). Come join us bright and early to move some dirt, build some singletrack, and open up Dark Hollow Pond to mountain bikes! For more information, please see the event page on Facebook or the NEMBA Web site.

Airborne Bicycles gives a sneak peak of their new Guardian 29

It’s just a single photo, but Airborne Bicycles has posted a sneak peak photo of their new Guardian 29 on their Facebook page. Since the caption reads “A sneak-peak of one of the new models coming soon~!” there are probably more fresh designs in the pipeline! Speculation is running wild, but so far the consensus is a Full Suspension BMX 29er eDH Hybrid Rig with Integrated Smoothie Machine.

Trunkmonkey Racing and Airborne Bicycles?

In my search for new Mountain Bikes I ran across Airborne Bicycles, a company that has an interesting offering of value-packed bikes (follow them on Facebook and Twitter). I’m intrigued by their product lineup, reviews, and press coverage so I applied to become a member of their Flight Crew. Hopefully the next time you see me on the trail it’ll be on a shiny new Airborne instead of my aging 1992 GT Karakoram Full Rigid.

Introducing the Canon PowerShot D20 – built for adventure

Order at Amazon or Adorama.

The PowerShot D20 is the latest generation of Canon’s waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof D-series point and shoot camera line. It keeps the same 12.1 megapixel spec as the previous PowerShot D10 but gains GPS, Intelligent IS, better zoom, larger screen, higher ISO sensitivity, and an increased shockproof rating.

So what does this have to do about Mountain Biking or Motorsports? Simple. This is beater camera designed specifically for harsh conditions where you might not want to carry a full-sized DSLR or risk taking out your camera phone. Toss into the mix built-in support for GeoTagging and a low energy consumption GPS Logger and you have an all-in-one unit that can be used to record trail information and ride statistics.

Continue reading Introducing the Canon PowerShot D20 – built for adventure

Trunkmonkey Racing Reboot

Trunkmonkey Racing is in the process of rebooting their Web presence and is in the process of merging TrunkmonkeyRacing.com and Trunkmonkey.com into a single site. We’re also bringing up a Facebook presence and awaiting page verification. Stay tuned for details!

Simulator technicians keep vital Vance training mission up and running

We see them every day, the planes bearing the letters “VN” on their tail, signifying they are from Vance Air Force Base.

We hear the roar of their engines and see the sun glinting off their wings as they traverse the skies over northwest Oklahoma.

But another large part of the base’s pilot training mission is carried out far from public sight, inside Vance’s Ops Group building.

In this building, in rooms chilled year-round no matter the temperatures outside, a dedicated group of men and women work to keep a vital part of Vance’s training mission up and running.

They are the simulator technicians.

Much of each student pilot’s training is conducted inside these multi-million dollar machines, which are used to teach pilots to cope with all kinds of different situations they will encounter in an airplane, all without leaving the ground. In a simulator there is no danger to the student or instructor, and the lessons can be conducted without burning any fuel.

The people charged with keeping these sophisticated machines up and flying have to be versatile, able to deal with computer, electronic, visual and even mechanical issues.

Ron Hall has been working on simulators at Vance since 1977, when instead of computers, terrain model boards and closed circuit TV cameras were used to simulate flight.

He is one of three T-1 simulator technicians at Vance employed by L-3 Communications, who maintain two full training simulators and 3 part-task trainers. Part-task trainers are used to teach students to program their onboard computers to guide the plane to 100 waypoints around the country, but can’t simulate takeoffs or landings.

Ron Hall said maintaining the T-1 sims keeps him and his colleagues busy.

“There’s quite a bit (of maintenance) because you have alignment in the visual systems,” he said. “Your hydraulic systems have to be tweaked or aligned, all your (control) surfaces. Your power supplies, there’s tons of power supplies, computers, fans.”

The T-1 sims were built in 1988 and installed at Vance in 1990. Trying to maintain them is like trying to keep a 20-year-old PC running.

“I have diversified 486 and 386 computers in my sound system,” Ron Hall said. “Try to find old hard drives to work in that kind of equipment. They sent us a lot of used F-16 visual systems that we use to keep the T-1s going. They don’t manufacture tubes anymore so we have to rely on older tubes or older remanufactured tubes to keep our visuals going.”

The T-1 simulators are being upgraded, however, a process expected to be completed by 2013. Vance normally has three full training simulators, but one has been removed for an upgrade.

The T-1 sims are operated 16 hours a day, meaning there are two shifts of technicians working to keep them flying.

“We have an hour and a half in the morning for maintenance to get them up and ready, and two hours at night to put them to bed,” Ron Hall said. “I really enjoy keeping the simulators working. It’s a lot of electronics in all kinds of fields.”

Vance’s T-6 and T-38 simulators are maintained by 13 technicians employed by FlightSafety International. Michael Oaks, the site manager, dubbed his men and women, “The Trunk Monkey Squad,” after the stars of a series of TV automobile dealer commercials depicting cars that carried magical chimps in their trunks, who came to the rescue in difficult situations when the drivers pushed the “trunk monkey” button on the dashboard.

“I have absolutely the best crew, anywhere, and I’ll stake my very reputation on that,” Oaks said. “They don’t get the recognition, they do the grunt work of the simulator world, but it doesn’t happen without them.”

There are 17 T-6 simulators. There are five operational flight trainers, which feature high-resolution graphics and a 270-degree field of view that give students the closest experience to actually flying. There are seven instrument flight trainers with a cockpit and forward visual display and five unit trainers, with no visual systems but fully functioning cockpits designed to teach cockpit familiarization.

“As parts fail, we spend a lot of time on them,” said T-6 technician Ben Tucker, “but we have preventative maintenance we follow on a daily, weekly, monthly and semi-annual basis. We have checklists galore on all our preventative maintenance.”

That is the routine maintenance, but there is plenty of the non-routine type as well.

“When one of those projectors just decides to not turn on one day, we get to figure out why,” Tucker said. “If we’re bringing them up in the middle of the night, we can have a couple of hours, but if it happens at 11 o’clock in the morning we have 15 minutes to get it going before we start losing missions and devoting our entire day shift to fixing it.”

“As a general rule we’ll have at least one or two system failures of some kind a week,” said Oaks, “be it something small like an instrument or something big like a computer or a projector.”

Day shift technicians, Oaks said, “sit around waiting for the fires,” while night shift techs “do all the dirt and grime.”

T-6 and T-38 simulators are used in a daily 12-hour window, from the time of the first flight to the last.

Technicians don’t only fix simulators, they have to be able to fly them, too.

“We do daily pre-flights to make sure that every device is fully functional and operational for the next day of training,” Tucker said.

The T-38 sims, said technician Phil Johnson, “are pretty well built, they don’t require really high maintenance.”

Vance has two T-38 weapons systems trainers, which allow pilots to dogfight against one another with full simulated weapons. These have 14 projectors and 18 computers to produce the full wraparound graphics.

There are two operational flight trainers, without the weapons and with a 216-degree by 135-degree vertical field of view. And there are three unit training devices, a cockpit with a 40-degree field of view.

There is one big advantage to being a simulator technician, Johnson said, particularly in the summer. The simulator rooms always are kept cool in deference to the delicate equipment.

“They worry more about the equipment than the people,” he said, laughing. “It’s fun to keep it all running.”

“I enjoy puttering around and fixing all the small problems,” said T-38 technician Mark Ewald.

“The best part of this job is the diversity of the things you have to do,” said T-38 tech Robert Hall.

Source: The Enid News and Eagle
Byline: Jeff Mullin, Senior Writer

Trunk Monkey antics win over fans far, wide

PORTLAND — Perhaps it was his cool-headedness in delivering a baby on the side of the road. Or his expertise in giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a man overcome by hot coffee. Or maybe it’s just that we all wish we had our very own Trunk Monkey.

Whatever his charm, Trunk Monkey, a chimpanzee featured in a comical series of car-dealership commercials, has been winning over audiences so successfully that he’s generated a profitable side business for the Portland ad agency that created him 3 ½ years ago.

Dealerships from as far away as New Zealand pay to license the series of commercials for their own use and now are the largest source of revenue for the R/West agency. Meanwhile Trunk Monkey is about to debut in his biggest market yet, as a New Jersey dealership is buying ads to run in the New York City area on Super Bowl Sunday.

Tim Ciasulli of the Planet Honda and Used Car Universe dealership in Union, N.J., is hoping that viewers will have the same response he did when a friend first e-mailed them to him.

“I’m watching them and I’m just laughing,” he said. “They’re very funny and extremely memorable.”

Like other dealerships that have licensed the commercials, he is supporting the campaign with his own marketing blitz — hiring an actor to wear a monkey suit and decking out the dealership in a jungle motif. “I think our phones are going to be ringing off the hook,” he predicted.

R/West, which first created the farcical commercials in 2003, has been banking on that kind of response. The agency, headed by President Sean Blixseth, found that the commercials — originally commissioned by Suburban Auto Group in Sandy, Ore. — have just as much sway with audiences outside Oregon.

The first commercial, showing a driver hitting a Trunk Monkey button on his dashboard to subdue an aggressive road rager, was produced for less than $50,000 with the filming assistance of a friend, Blixseth said.

The commercial, and others that followed, quickly gained popularity online. Trunk Monkey has since dispatched a would-be car thief in “Sopranos” style, fended off aliens and tried to bribe a police officer to let a speeding driver off.

R/West has continued to produce the ads for Suburban Auto Group, which supplements its Trunk Monkey campaign with T-shirts and bumper stickers. It also hosts the commercials, one of which will be broadcast locally during the Super Bowl, on its Web site. But since the 2003 debut, 45 other dealerships around the world have licensed the commercials, each for tens of thousands of dollars a year, making it the largest source of revenue for R/West, which employs 20.

The proceeds go for production of new commercials — now costing about $75,000 to $100,000 — and any profit above that is split between R/West and Suburban. The two declined to disclose the profit.

Syndicating commercials isn’t new, said Norm Grey, executive creative director with Creative Circus, a two-year advertising school in Atlanta.

But the challenge is, “no matter what happens, every bank, every car dealership has its own needs,” he said. “It’s not necessarily personal.”

Still, in the world of auto advertising, which focuses on price and “the deal, the deal, the deal,” Trunk Monkey breaks new ground, said Steve Miller, a senior reporter who covers the auto industry for marketing publication Brandweek.

It also is a way for a small agency like Blixseth’s to gain national attention, and perhaps open the door for national clients.

He said it’s unlikely that car dealerships, which have such defined geographic markets, would object to running the same commercials as another dealer somewhere else.

It didn’t bother Gary Grubbs, the advertising manager for the Lawrence Hall of Abilene dealership in Texas, which started running commercials last year. “Anything that’s a good idea never stays an exclusive for very long.”

The commercials don’t escape criticism. Some call to complain that he isn’t really a monkey at all, but rather a chimpanzee. (But Blixseth protested that “trunk chimpanzee” just didn’t have the same je ne sais quoi.)

And some animal-rights activists are upset about the use of a primate in advertising. The agency contracts with a California company that provides animals for filming.

But some dealerships say the commercials have only brought positive comments — as well as suggestions from customers about potential scripts.

“It has totally changed our life,” said Jane Delligatti, marketing director of Arnell Auto Group in Burns Harbor, Ind. “We have people calling, giving ideas for different spots. … This whole area of Northwest Indiana loves our Trunk Monkey.”

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

Byline: HELEN JUNG, The Oregonian
Source: Seattle Times Newspaper

Trunkmonkey Racing gears up for Maine Forest Rally 2006

Trunkmonkey Racing has been hard at work preparing the Trunkmonkey Pink Impreza for Maine Forest Rally 2006, Round 5 of the Rally America National Championship. The team will again be competing at the Regional level in Production GT and has made many improvements to the car and service vehicles to make life easier for the Driver, Co-driver, and Service Crew.

Sean Sosik-Hamor and Andrew Hobgood will again team up to traverse the Special Stages while Sabrina Vollers has stepped up to the plate as Crew Chief to coordinate team logistics and Service Crew movements. Chris Brenton, Brian Knapp, James Mackey, and Kelly Sosik-Hamor will join Sabrina as Service Crew to help keep the Trunkmonkey Pink Impreza running smoothly over the two days of racing.

We’d like to thank our sponsors for the 2006 season:

Finer Touch Auto Body (603-668-4713)


RallyHo Motorsports


Trunkmonkey Racing at Wicked Big Meet 2006

Trunkmonkey Racing will be attending Wicked Big Meet 2006 on Saturday, May 20th to represent the team and Pepper Computer’s Pepper Pad. Our Webcam will be up and running all day assuming we have EVDO coverage!

Trunkmonkey Racing Camera 1


Greetings to everyone from NASIOC
and i-Club who couldn’t attend!

We are also organizing the First Annual Wicked Big Meet Fun Rally Presented by Trunkmonkey Racing on Sunday, May 21st! Come on out and join the fun! Pre-registration is closed but you can register at Wicked Big Meet on Saturday or the morning of the Rally on Sunday.