A few weeks ago my buddy Mike emailed me asking if I had any interest in flying out to Oshkosh. What a silly question! Of course, I immediately took him up on his offer. This would be an excellent opportunity to get ideas for my project and visit vendors on top of just being a darn good time. We decided to do homebuilt camping, and I’m glad we did.
The plan was to depart from Westminster (KDMW) early Wednesday morning and stay at Oshkosh through either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. From there we would visit Mike’s friends at their lake house in Wisconsin (5K6) and return to Westminster mid-day Sunday. We wound up leaving Oshkosh mid-day on Friday, and with the incoming weekend crowds it was the right decision.
We met at Westminster airport at 0600, and were quickly airborne. We made only one stop in Gary, Indiana (KGYY). I had initially planned to capture a variety of excellent GoPro footage and overlay it with both cockpit audio and monologue; however, at Gary, our technical difficulties began. Between the two of us, we had three GoPros, but only 2 memory cards. Then, my cockpit audio app stopped working and I had to use Apple Voice memos. But the difficulties didn’t stop there. Upon arrival in Oshkosh I promptly deleted all of the audio. Initially, I also thought the video had stopped during arrival, but upon later inspection I was relieved to find everything captured. I was severely disappointed with the difficulties as I had hoped to put together a rather complete video detailing the VFR arrival. I am still working on a video, but it will be substantially shorter and more basic than my original intent. I will update this post with the video when complete. ***Update September 14, 2014 – Oshkosh video is complete and available at the bottom of this page, on the media gallery, and via Vimeo***
Ohio’s landscape is as perfectly boring as one imagines Ohio to be…
We did have to dodge a little weather on the way out, but nothing to worry about or divert over.
After our stop in Gary, Indiana we flew the coastline past Chicago. What a beautiful sky line! The lake water looked brilliant. I’ve always written Chicago off as a place not to visit, but seeing it from the air has forced me to reassess my position.
Arrival into Osh was certainly busy, but the controllers had done a fantastic job, and Mike did an excellent job flying. I backed him up with the approach procedures. I really can’t speak highly of the professionalism of the controllers working this event. All told we logged a little over 4.5 hours of flying time! Not too shabby.
Airventure is big. Really big. There is no other way to describe it and until one goes, statistics and photos don’t convey the scope. But I will provide both. This year’s Osh saw 500,000+ visitors and over 10,000 aircraft!
Here is our camping setup. If you’ve been to Oshkosh, but not camped, its a great way to go. We couldn’t have asked for a better parking spot. We were right in the middle of all the action… as central as you can get. More importantly we were close the Beerventure and the facilities!
Here are some more photos from our vendor visits. The Angel from Heaven’s Landing was the owner’s daughter and aside from being very pretty she was a good salesperson. Mike almost purchased a lot!
The Aircam. Love it, and this isn’t the last photo…
Just a quick demonstration of the scope of Oshkosh. Also, note the number of RV’s in attendance. Every other airplane. We are like cockroaches.
On the second day, Mike and I attended one of the hands on activities and tried TIG welding.
We spent lots of time at Beerventure. Especially the first night. I was so hungover after the first night, that the second day was kind of miserable for me.
On the final day we took a trip to the Sea Plane base where we found this beautiful Aircam on floats. The Aircam is definitely on the top of my airplane list.
My buddy Wes swears his Hybrid Tahoe is economical. He gets 19.5mpg. I shot the below photo to prove him wrong… at 180mph!
Our neighbor, Brian, a mathematics professor from Louisiana had a really interesting plane. I don’t recall the name of it, but we enjoyed taking a look over it.
This is no lie!
Mike operates Rivetbangers.com, and as a result, he was able to score free media passes for us to the event. Golfcarts were a big perk! We checked out curtesy media golf carts twice. Here I am in the cart displaying my media credentials. I’m still waiting on my paycheck from Rivetbangers.com though…
We used the golfcart to make the rounds and get ideas for my RV-8. Below are some interesting designs. The first RV-8 pictured had multiple modifications. First up auxiliary fuel tanks in the wings. Not something I would do, but an interesting mod.
He also had a storage compartment in the wingtips.
I did, however, love the clear plastic mats he had for entering and exiting the cockpit. I prefer these to the black ones you commonly see.
We also came across this beautiful RV-8 with the showplanes fastback & tipover canopy modification. Every detail has been meticulously attended to. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not do a fastback / tipover. This airplane makes me want to.
I’m a big fan of this intake cover…
Some interesting work to cover the slide behind the canopy on an RV-8 slider.
Here is Mike’s RV-7 in the line.
After departing Oshkosh, we stopped to visit Mike’s friends who have a lakehouse nearby. We spent two days on the pontoon boat. Kara, Terry, Chris, and “Rose” were extremely welcoming and generous. I had a blast!
Departing the lake house on Sunday, we flew back past Chicago.
And stopped for fuel in Warsaw, Indiana. We took the courtesy car into town for some Mexican. Sadly, the local Pho place was closed.