So playing catch-up the first day back.
One day really isn’t enough to see the entire show.
Much like every firearms enthusiast should attend an NRA convention, the Oshkosh show is a semi-required pilgrimage for pilots..
We flew into Fon Du Lac from Northwest Indiana. (Google “Fisk Arrival” for videos to find out why I didn’t want to go and land at Oshkosh) Takeoff was delayed as the ceiling at 06:45 was 200 foot and Viz was 3/4 of a mile. Well under my minimums (I like to have the ability to return to the airport should something happen on the climbout)..so we delayed….
We waited a half hour until the ceilings were about 800 and 2-ish miles. Got our IFR clearance and took off, The routing was….odd. First they routed us almost to Grand Rapids, then shot us across the lake to just outside of Milwaukee…..where we got below the clouds and went VFR from there. (There were no available IFR slots left into FLD (I tried to file for one but they were snapped up almost immediately 72 hours before) so we had to arrive VFR, but did go IFR for most of the trip) flew fairly high at 16,000 ….I had requested 10k, but 16 was what they gave me and so we flew it at 180 knots true for most of the way burning right at 32 gallons per hour.
I had another pilot in the right seat, who shot the landing into FLD as he wanted a landing in the 340 for his logbook….
The FBO was well organized and did a great job upon arrival. We turned the plane over to them and got tickets to the shuttle bus and waited.
The “Airventure” is HUGE. Tons of planes, huge exhibits, lots of vendors. Whole boatloads of people. It is kinda overwhelming at first.
After getting our ticket scanned and having our wristbands placed around our writs, we entered the show itself….al the while planes are screaming overhead trailing smoke and gyrating through the air.
Everyone who is anyone in the airplane world was there. Boeing/Foreflight, Garmin, Aspen, Avidyne, Collins, Continental, Lycoming, Pratt and Whitney, Rotax, Cessna/Beech. Honda, Cirrus, Kitfox, everyone who sells something airplane related had a booth, or an exhibit, or something. Lots of pretty young ladies and handsome young men and earnest salespeople.
Tools to build aircraft. Tools to bend aluminum, Tools to shape fiberglass. Tools to fix airplanes, Tools to cut and sew fabric, tools to glue fabric. Glues…Patches for fabric aircraft. Used parts, used avionics. Used tools. New parts, super-duper lubricants. Acrylic polish. New engine cylinders, new baffles, air and oil filters. hoses stock and custom. ends for hoses, tools to make hoses, wiring tools, rivets, riveting tools, tools to remove rivets….Conversions from auto engines to airplane, booths representing destinations like the Bahama Islands (apparently lots of people fly to and around the Bahamas and the Caribbean) Engine rebuilders , Avionics installers, Tiedowns, Window polishing companies (yes, really)….
And that was just the Tradeshow portion. Capitalism at it’s finest…(“Buy MY product!!!”) I didn’t see it all as there just wasn’t enough time. and I wanted to see the rest of the show…..
The airshow is sorta nonstop. Plane after plane doing aerobatics, flybys, precision flying….then a few dozen arrivals, then more airshow,,,,then a few more dozen arrivals, then a few more flybys. F-16’s then Mustangs, then biplanes, then FA-18’s then B-24’s, then some PBY’s…then a flight of Beech-18’s, then some experimental aircraft….then more airshow and aerobatics and some precision flights…then more jets…..then some DC-3’s…All punctuated by the repeated takeoff and landing of the Ford Trimotor…MC REALLY liked the jets.
And the planes on the ground! From C-17’s to 777’s to KC-46’s to Citations to Barons to 172’s to Senecas to Kitfox bushplanes to Pipistrel electrics to Technams to all sorts of smaller manufacturers. If it is currently produced and there is a market for it, then there was an example to show and a salesman to tell you about it. The military was there to show off some of their toys….
Then there were the owner-shown planes: from antique biplanes to just old aircraft, Civilian planes from the 30’s, 50’s, and more modern ones. Some fully restored, some just plain flyers. Some had original avionics and instrumentation, some had modern panels. Electras, Beech 18’s, Straight tail 172’s, Cubs by the bushel full, Mooneys, row upon row of Bonanzas. Cessna taildraggers by the tens of dozens, Row upon row of Luscombs, Barons, Aeronicas, Ercoupes,….Cessna Twins. Commanders and Twin Commanders….Even a Beech Staggerwing!. lots more too.
Warbirds by the hundreds!!!. P-51’s, Spitfires, FW-109’s. Me262’s, Zeroes, Corsairs…190’s. Devastators. Torpedo planes, Bombers! 24’s, 17’s 25’s…..A25’s…… Skyraiders. Kates, P-40’s, P-47’s,Yaks, Mosquito’s, Avengers… You name it, if there was a surviving aircraft it was likely represented. Plus light reconnaissance aircraft.
And the Homebuilts! Hundreds and hundreds of them. All shapes and sizes and colors. If a person can imagine them to design and they fly, there was likely one at the show. Too many to list. Lots of really neat stuff if you are into that.
I reached overload about then, and really couldn’t take in more. My brain simply could not record anymore. One day really isn’t enough. I didn’t see half the aircraft, really. Plus all the time, while looking at aircraft on the ground, there is an airshow going on over your head….
I have to say that the organization was incredible. Hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers, all doing a great job. All polite, and cheerful. AND ALL VOLUNTEERS. Yes, there were employees at the concessions and stuff, but most were volunteers. Traffic guides, trash removers, trolley drivers,, all volunteers…all helpful and working for free. Whoever organized this volunteer army of people did a great job, as did the volunteers themselves.
One thing to note: the crowd was extremely polite…Much like the crowd at an NRA convention. (I would not doubt that the Venn diagrams overlap a great deal). These folks did not, for the most part, throw trash on the ground, were fairly respectful of the others in the crowd, didn’t push or cut lines, etc. It may be because these people were, for the most part, well educated and fairly intelligent (one cannot be a moron to be a pilot) and hardworking….kinda a self selected group. It may be the overrepresented demographic, it may be other factors…but this group was clean, polite and respectful of others. I dislike crowds, in general, but not-so-much this crowd.
Another note: No one gave two shits about Glowball Warmering. About 1/2 the crowd had either flown or driven fairly long distances to get there….(and, lets face it, airplanes are not the most fuel efficient way to travel) and the airshow itself burned large quantities of fuel,,,all day long….Carbon emissions was NOT an issue for any of us. Fuck Gaia.
Sadly, I was so overwhelmed that I did not take many photos, and those I did take are not worth showing….
If I go again, it will be for more than one day. We shall see. But it is a pilgrimage that is worth it for any pilot or aviation enthusiast. Like Mecca, everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
I normally walk between 8 and 10 thousand steps a day, but at Oshkosh I walked over 21,000….and that is with over 4 hours of sitting in planes and busses and cars getting to and from the show.
So, as Aaron says…. 1.4 out with 1 landing and 0.6 of IFR and 1.2 back with 1 night landing…… and a really long and fun day.