August 02, 2009

Return from Airplane Heaven

We returned from Oshkosh Friday night and while I had intended to post a daily review of the event I was once again thwarted in my effort to blog the adventure due to poor wifi reception, sore feet and cold beers. So today I will give a short recap and time permitting post some photos on Flikr for my aviation friends.

Oshkosh is, in a word, Fantastic! Even though this is my third trip in four years it is never boring. We arrived Sunday afternoon set up camp and strolled to the field to get our tickets and take a look around.

At Camp Scholler there were tents, campers, and RVs for as far as the eyes could see, everyday the parking lots seemed to be filled to overflowing, and hundreds of participants pitched camp under the wing of their planes. Despite all that you never get the impression that the place is particularly crowded, unless you wanted to grab a burger or get on board the A380 then of course the lines resemble Disneyland

Monday we spent most of the day in Aero Shell Square and explored the four hangers that are filled with vendors of everything aircraft from avionics to tools. Late afternoon thunderstorms cut short the air show and cancelled the Doobie Brothers concert however.

Tuesdays highlight was the arrival of the The White Knight(photo above) accompanied by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines fame. The plane is indeed an incredible piece of aviation engineering with it's twin fuselages joined together by a center wing. The rest of the day was spent walking the flightline and shopping at the Flymarket and rummaging through old airplane parts at the Aeromart.

Wednesday was spent mid field admiring the new aircraft on display as we wandered our way toward the north end of the field where the homebuilts were located. At 3:00 the Airbus A 380 made its US debut and performed a short airshow before landing. From the ground it appeared that someone had decided to mount wings to the hanger as it demonstrated a series of slow turns, climbs, and decents. The plane is three stories high and a max gross weight of 1.3 million pounds.

Thursday it was back to the main gate to see the new planes we missed on Wednesday. We walked the length of the flightline from the vintage aircraft area down through the aircraft camping area examining every type of airplane big and small occasionally stopping along the way to watch the arrival and departure of hundreds of aircraft from homebuilts to Russian Mig fighters. We had a radio along this year and were able to listen to the flight controllers keeping everyone sorted out. After lunch we hopped a ride to the other end of the field and spent the afternoon in the war birds area.
P51's, what a machine.

Friday we spent several hours at the float plane base on Lake Winnebago before packing up and heading home.
Wet and aerodynamic, hey how'd she get in there. (click to enlarge of course)

Hats off to the EAA, the controllers, and the hundreds of people that make this premier event possible. Most of all a big round of applause for the dedicated pilots (and their families) that spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to keep general aviation alive.


MrTex said...

You gave up too soon on the Doobies Scott. The concert went on about 45 minutes late and they sounded great.

Scott said...

We heard that the show was rescheduled for Wed so we headed for the beer tent. No big deal really we were there for the planes. How was you trip there?

MrTex said...

I was there from Sunday to Sunday and spent 80% of my time attending forums and looking at airplane stuff. I am an aircraft design and homebuilt geek. I hope to fly to Airventure 2010 in the Zenith CH750 that I am building.
Saw very little of the airshows but found this video of Airventure 2009 to feast on:

Scott said...

Sweet video MrTex, Thanks
Not familiar with the Zenith but the picture reminds me of the Piper Tripacer. Looks like a fun plane. My friend and I have rebuilt a couple planes C170- 180. He is now a AP/AI in Alaska and rebuilds bent and dented aircraft. We spent alot of time picking over the restored planes and digging through parts at the airmart. There is just so much to see there its unreal. Good luck on your project. How long have you been working on it?

MrTex said...

Actually, I have worked on it very little. I picked up the kit in January and 2 weeks later slipped on ice and severely broke my wrist. After two months in and out of casts, it was springtime and my wife and I were in the middle of major house remodeling. That project is now winding down and I hope to have the fuselage riveted together in my shop and ready to move to an airport hanger before the cold gets too brutal here in NW Iowa. I can then work on the aerosurfaces, engine, and instruments in the basement or in the garage as weather permits.
The kit comes with at least one part to be joined to another part having rivet holes drilled by computer controlled CNC machines and most parts are joined with pulled rivets, so assembley goes very quickly. I am aiming for a total build time of 600 hours.
I would love some day to fly it to your beloved AK. I have been there twice and want to see it from the air. In the meantime I will be happy to explore parts of the US such as the Black Hills of SD and northern MN within the range one tank of fuel.