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Oshkosh 2013, Recap

Overall… our trip to Oshkosh & Airventure 2013 went very well.  The weather could NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!  Morning temps in the 50’s and mid afternoon highs in the 70’s made it really easy to sleep in the tent.  We had very little rain and only one big gust of wind…  No tents were harmed in the making of this adventure!

Attendance… seemed on par with last year and was confirmed this week by EAA.  Over 10,000 planes made it to Oshkosh for the week.  RV’s were well represented in homebuilt camping as you can see by the panoramic photo below… this was taken from the wing of our RV9A (click for larger view).

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Show Changes and Cool Stuff… I think were, for the most part, good.  I liked the new airshow format, the $2 water everywhere, the new food vendors with a much larger variety and TWO night airshows.  The biggest thing missing this year was ALL military aircraft.  We had no C-17’s or A-10’s on static display or the usual daily flybys from F-18 Hornets or F-22 Raptors.  Thank goodness there is one person alive that can afford to privately own and operate a Harrier Jump Jet so that we can get our fill of noise on the flightline every afternoon!

Flying Car and a Jet Man…  One of the neatest things we saw was the Terrafugia Transition (flying car) do its thing in public for the first time.  It rolled out on its own power, unfolded the wings and took off to do a nice aerial display… then it landed, folded up its wings and drove off… pretty cool!  The “Jet Man”, Yves Rossy, was interesting enough, but watching something 6,000 feet over your head that didn’t even make much noise left a lot to be desired.  One of the “sleeper” displays of the week was the SubSonex single person V-tailed jet by Sonex Aircraft.  I’m not sure how you would insure it, but with a $10,000 deposit you could reserve a production slot on this $125,000+ single seater to be delivered next year.

Shower House RANT… It wouldn’t be the EAA if we didn’t have something to complain about now would it?  When you go to take a shower at home you expect to leave the bathroom cleaner than when you came in… not necessarily so if you shower at homebuilt camping.  Try putting on fresh clothes with water ankle deep in dirty bath water… wet cloths & shoes, ain’t no fun!    I know it costs money, but HBC could really benefit from a permanent structure like they now have on the North 40 with flush toilets and private bath stalls.  I know we didn’t spend as much money on our homebuilt planes as the Bonanza Bums & Station Airheads that camp the North 40, but we are part of the reason over a half a million people show up every July. (OK, lots of my friends drive Bonanza’s and 206’s… just laugh, OK)

20130728_112144IA, New State… On the trip up to Oshkosh, we made a fuel stop in Dubuque, IA (KDBQ) and parked next to a familiar P-51 Mustang and our friend from home, Dan Fordice.  Dan offered us lunch with the T-6 group that had been training there all week as he fired up “Charlotte’s Chariot” to beat the weather into KOSH.  After a quick bite and some fuel we managed to get out in front of the long line of T-6’s as they formed up and headed north.  After looking at my log when we returned, I realized that Iowa was a new state for our “land in all states adventure” – number 17 – a long way from all 49, but we are getting there!

Next Year?… you bet, we plan to be there.  Where else can you spend a week in a tent with 10’s of thousands of propheads like ourselves that traveled across this beautiful country of ours to the aviation Mecca, OSHKOSH!

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Oshkosh Day One – Best Porta-Potti Day!

Waked up to reveille
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from the nearby warbird  camping at 0630.  Temperatures are in the mid 50s and the Porta-Pottis are in the best shape they will be all week! With the smell of coffee in the air at the homebuilt camping area, we stopped for a cup and headed to see the powered parachutes at the ultralight area before the winds pick up. The P51s are cranked and the Aeroshell T-6s are in the air, let the show begin!

Packing for Oshkosh 2013 & Where have we been?

By: Beth Hardy Duff

FIRST DAY OF THE BRITISH OPEN… (okay, sooo…)  It is Thursday, late afternoon on July 18th.  We are sitting in front of the TV watching the recap of the first day of the British Open.  The weather there looks to have been pretty good for the first round.  Exceptionally good… as opposed to our own weather in Madison which was host to the Sanderson Farms Championship.  It treated our entrants and spectators to a spectacular display of Mississippi weather in July at its finest.

EARLIER IN THE DAY…  When I finally crawled out of bed this morning and went outside to complete a long put-off chore of cleaning out the gutters on the back of the house, it was as oppressive and humid as Junior Samples’ shorts!  I got the ladder up and dug out all sorts of dirt, leaves, shingle dust and the occasional displaced skinks.  All finished, I swept off the 50 pounds (or so it appeared) of stuff I had pulled out of the gutter and sacked it up for the “garbage fairies” to haul off.  Garbage Fairies are my term for the garbage men who come to my house on Mondays & Thursdays and magically make my garbage disappear…. I LOVE them!

Shortly thereafter, it began to thunder, then it rained, then it poured.  I LOVED the fact that the deck was getting a freebie wash-job and that the gutters were operating correctly and getting a great hosing out.  As I turned my back, a bolt of lightning plunged into the ground somewhere very close and I ducked and almost ran for cover.  This continued on long after the rain ended providing a special viewing of Mississippi lightning in July in the daytime.  Those imported spectators visiting our area were now fully versed in the bizarre weather Mississippi can sport and probably headed straight to Wal-Mart to replace their now soiled undies!

So after that, I went back to the TV… I planned to watch the day’s recap of the Sanderson Farm Championship, however, there wasn’t much to show as the rain and lightning scared off everyone including the Golf Gods and forced not just a “rain delay”, but a “rain postponement til the next day”.  Better luck tomorrow, guys.

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Miaow helping Paul with weather planning…

WHERE ‘YA BEEN?  You haven’t heard much from us in a long time and it’s not because we have forgotten about you or have abandoned the blog.  Frankly, we had no idea that anybody really REAALLLY paid that much attention to us….but we found out differently!  Recently, everywhere Paul and I have been, one or both of us have been politely chastised for being so delinquent in our writings.  If we didn’t run into you telling us this, we actually got emails from you!  What a boon to our egos!  You like us!  YOU REALLY DO LIKE US!!  (Move over, Sallie Field, we’re good too!)  So, we will try to do better.  We have both endured our fair (and very unfair) share of family sicknesses and woes over the past several months and that does a lot to kill the flow from the writer’s fingers.  It just doesn’t flow at all.  A couple of weeks ago, Paul mentioned that he intended to sit down & write a few things for the blog and that he sat at his computer, fingers poised and nothing….just nothing happened.  Nothing except Miaow hopping into his lap and loving on him as she has learned to do when I’m gone.  She has quickly become Paul’s cat as I am no longer her favorite.  She’s Daddy’s girl and she knows it and plays it to the hilt.  Perhaps she has forgotten who feeds her, changes her litter, bought her the $30 S-Curve upholstered cat recliner and a zillion dollars’ worth of assorted toys.  When I do come home, she twines around my ankles until I pick her up and then she bites me in a somewhat playful and somewhat Freddy Kruege-like manner.  Somehow, Ialways forgive her.

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Where are ya’ll going now??

PACKING FOR OSHKOSH…  While I was at my parents’ house, tending to them, I asked Paul if he would start getting out stuff for OSH and just put it on the dining room table.  He said he’d be glad to.  In fact, it was exciting to think of packing up for our annual fun cross-country trip and would help get his mind off things too.  When I finally got home, dead on my feet, I expected to come in to a view of the tent, sleeping bags and other assorted stuff piled high in the middle of the dining room table.  Instead, I caught sight of the paperback Notam and a single sheet report from AV Lab of our oil analysis and that was all…except cat hair and dust.  I asked what happened and I never got a real precise answer other than, “I wasn’t sure where the tent and sleeping bags were”, “Uh, I never got a good start on it”, “Uh, well, I needed your help.”  For all you other married pilots out there, number three is the proper answer.  After 31 years of marriage, floundering around until you cough up, “Uh….I needed your help” or something related to this greatly aids your case immensely.  All is instantly forgiven and packing immediately gets underway.

More to come as we continue to pack this week.

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Oshkosh Fun Part 2, Dark & Stormy…

By Beth Hardy Duff

AFTER A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP…  Thursday morning came and we had the day planned to sit in on more forums than we could possibly squeeze in a day, but that was the fun of it – plan way too much to possibly get done in one day, so you are never NEVER bored!  That afternoon, we found a fantastic forum called, “Flying with your iPad”.  Since we both own iPads and we fly a “paperless cockpit” with them, we thought this might be the perfect opportunity to learn more about using them.  We got settled into the forum and it was a packed house!

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT….  Well, it wasn’t night, but the sky was looking like it.  That might also have been another reason that this popular forum was so popular.  People were beginning to crowd in and it was standing room only.  The speaker began his discussion of the virtues of the iPad and the wind began to huff and puff, then blow, then just downright howl.  The sides of these forum buildings (which are open on 3 sides) have heavy-duty curtains that can be let down to keep out wind, rain, dust or whatever else is blowing that day.  The curtains were let down and quickly, there was quite a commotion going on.   Some people began to stand up and well, of course, so did I.  The speaker asked, “How many of you folks are worried about your airplanes parked out there?” knowing full well that he had indeed lost the immediate attention of his audience.  About that time, I decided it was a good time to video whatever I could with my phone since I always seem to be about 10 seconds late in cutting it on and missing out on anything I’m trying to video.   I had my phone well over my head (since I’m short) and I thought that maybe it could see what I could not see.  It did record the impact of the storm and the howling of the wind, but neither it nor I could see what caused the entire back part of the audience to gasp and shout, “Oh My God!”

Okay, by this time, we were well beyond being able to pay attention to the very interesting speaker and his subject and were near panic with worry over our sweet Caddie and Big Broken Tall Agnes, so we picked up and left the forum.

UH OH…  As we quickly trudged back toward the plane, we noticed what everyone had been gasping over.  A beautiful, little yellow experimental bi-wing had been flipped over on top of a mini replica mustang.  Oh, what a terrible sight, but we couldn’t stop, we had to head on and find out the status of Caddie & Agnes.

As we got closer, Paul turned around to me and with a big frown said, “I don’t see our tent — again.”  We got closer and there lay Agnes again in a heap, but with Taylor’s sweet helping hand attempting to hold the tent up and keep the water off what he knew were some of our precious electronic toys inside.   I was so shocked that I never even thought to take a picture of the tent or Taylor holding her up this time.  As we began to pull the tent off our belongings, it became evident this time that the storm had felled the giant – Agnes would stand tall no more.  In fact, one of the things that we had thought was an asset, was in fact, not.  Agnes had rested on an incline and we had thought at first that would be great to divert water away from her and that was right, but we didn’t figure straightline winds into the scenario and that probably did us less favors by actually forcing the wind over and through Agnes at an accelerated rate – sorta damned if you do, damned if you don’t.   Our clothes, our iPads, our “juice box” which was our essential recharging unit for all things needing a charge at night,  our iPhones, EVERYTHING was soaking wet!  Paul actually poured water out of his iPad!  Taylor had done all humanly possible and had stood out there in the midst of the storm to save our stuff!  Tell me – WHERE do you find people like Taylor?  If they exist, most times you will find them affiliated with aviation in some way.   Thankfully, the Claw System had held Caddie steadfast to the ground and she had not moved an inch.  She was just fine and our new waterproof cover we had just bought for her had kept the cockpit dry as a bone.   This is the time when your airplane does double duty as the world’s largest clothesline.  We spread out the sleeping bags, pillows and other assorted amenities on the wings and hung towels off the prop

World’s Largest Clothesline

to dry.  As wet and wild as that storm had been, it was incredibly hot now and things were beginning to dry out very quickly.

HAD ENOUGH YET?…  Well, reality set in when Taylor actually offered to let us sleep in their tent stating he would sleep in the plane to make room for us.  And know what??  I absolutely believe that he would have!  But this blow we’d been dealt finally broke us this time.  Taylor walked with me to the dumpster as I carried Agnes’ remains and he lugged along the remainder of her tent stakes and rain fly.  We gave her a very quick funeral aka – open the dumpster and toss her in (I did finally remember to return later & snap her picture).   After we left there, we walked back over to the sight of the flipped planes and once again, Taylor jumped into action asking if there was any way he could help.  He began carrying parts of the destroyed bi-wing over to another section of the field where the loose parts were being stowed.  Once again, what a kind hearted soul.

Big Agnes… RIP’d

IT’S ONLY MONEY…  Paul began to call around as we no longer had a tent and now needed a place to rest our heads for the night.  While he was on the phone,  Tom Poberezny, former EAA Chairman of EAA Fly-in & Convention, came by and actually asked us if we were okay and if we needed help.  If you have any idea who Tom Poberezny is, it’s very much like God himself asking you if you could use a little help.  We thanked him and said we were okay and had located a place to stay for the night.  We had indeed found a place to stay – Paul had been on the phone calling area hotels to see if they had any vacancies.  This is very much like calling around at night during the Olympics just to see if hotels had any vacancies.  Yep, somebody’s going to have a vacancy, but somebody’s gonna pay!  So, in no time at all, we loaded up everything we could carry, wet and not, and walked a mere 2.5 miles to the cheapest $250 a night hotel one could ever have!  It frankly was worth every penny – I think I took 2 showers that night, but we slept in air conditioning in a dry bed and we were thankful for it too.  Oh yeah, we did manage to find a little wine to soothe our pain while we poured more water out of our electronic toys.  Thankfully, only the juice box bit the dust.

BACK FOR MORE!…  One might think with all that went on, that we would pack up and abandon any further idea of ever returning to AirVenture – Oshkosh!  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Where on earth would you ever find such helping hands and 500,000 people with at least ONE thing in common?  The aviation community is quite a giving, generous and loving community in it’s own right.  Granted, like with any other large group of people, you do have some that don’t quite fit the bill, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.  Frankly, I cannot wait until next year to return to Oshkosh, with our new tent in tow, and a chance to meet new fresh faces and catch up with lots of old ones.  It’s something that makes precious memories even more precious, year after year.

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“5150 Somebody Call the POPO!” Oshkosh Fun Part 1

By Beth Hardy Duff

Our New Friends, Mel & Taylor

HOME, SWEET OSH, HOME…  So arrive at Oshkosh, we did.  In perfect RV style, packed to the hilt with our belongings, looking somewhat like Santa’s red & white sleigh.  We followed our guide to our appointed spot and parked Caddie.   Great spot this year, we thought to ourselves – on a slight incline so no rainwater would pool up beneath our tent and very close to the road making for an easy taxi out when it’s time to go home.  We hopped out and quickly snugged Caddie to the ground with our trusty “Claw System” (don’t leave home without it) and began to set up our Big Agnes tent.  We had purchased Big Agnes just for tent camping with the plane in mind – she’s a big, roomy tent with plenty of headspace – enough for Paul to stand and just enough room for the two of us (Big Agnes is considered a 6 man tent) and weighs less than 13 pounds.  Awesome tent! We got the tent all set up and headed to registration to pay our tent camping fee and to register.  Within 15 minutes, we ran into two of our hangar buddies from home, Tom and Webb.  They had gotten here earlier in the week and looked and sounded like they were having a blast!  We chatted for a minute and headed on, so much to see and do and oh so glad to be back here again. The afternoon passed by quickly and we began to meet some of our new neighbors.  Mel and Taylor, a father and son team who had flown in from Colorado.   They were cattycornered across from us and quickly became two of our newest favorite friends, such great people!  We, ourselves, were sandwiched in between a white Velocity and a blue and white RV-10, not too shabby company either. As it got close to dinnertime, we met up with some more folks from home and headed over to the Charcoal Pit for dinner.  Everyone was having a great time at AirVenture, but most were planning to head back tomorrow being that they had gotten there much earlier in the week than us.  Not us, our fun was just beginning…

5150, SOMEBODY CALL THE POPO!… Our first night at OSH, a great dinner had been had by all and now it was time to go night night…or so we thought.   About 3:00am or so, Paul and I were awakened by the most terrible racket!  We sat up and struggled out of our zippered sleeping bags and unzipped the opaque part of the back of our tent.  We rubbed our eyes and stared into the darkness.   It sounded like someone banging a Port a Potty door, shortly followed by a LOT of yelling and hollering!  A young man apparently high on “something” was standing on top of another guy’s AIRPLANE and screaming not just gibberish, but was on some sort of wild rant about “sustainable development”.  Now how does that topic grab you at 3:00am in the morning??  The owner of the plane bolted out of his tent yelling, “Stop It, Stop It, GET DOWN” and jumped the guy standing on his airplane knocking him to the ground.  The young man on the ground was very strong and it was hard for the plane’s owner to hold him down.  Thankfully, a LOT of help ran to his aid and helped subdue the assailant until more help could arrive.  First, Grounds Security showed up on 4 wheelers and flashing lights, then the police showed up along with the K-9 unit shortly followed by an ambulance.   He was still thrashing about on the ground with 3 or 4 big men sitting on him and his utterings eventually became x-rated.  The paramedics finally injected him with something that didn’t knock him out, but slowed him to the point they were able to get him strapped to a gurney and hauled away.  Eventually, everyone finally settled down.  We found out later on that the young man was high on bath salts which caused his delirium.  Hopefully, that night ended his career of experimenting with them, although, I’m sure his troubles didn’t end there, with his visit to the local hospital and the fact that there was a certain amount of damage done to the owner’s airplane.   SHEW, that over, we re-zipped our tent and went back to sleep.


CAN I HAVE IT? CAN I HAVE IT? CAN I HAVE IT?… Wednesday morning rudely rolled around, after we finally got back to sleep Tuesday night.  We were ready to start out the day by looking at all there was to see in the newest crop of “airplanes and airplane accessories”.  We spent part of the morning strolling though Van’s display and their new announcement – the RV-14.  If we had not already built our beloved RV-9A and were still looking for the perfect airplane, this one would have been it!  A Lycoming IO-390 (210 hp engine) as opposed to our 160 hp, the ability to hold 50 gallons of fuel as opposed to our 36 gallons, had a little larger baggage capacity and area (maybe those golf clubs would actually FIT in this one) and not that this was a must, but it was aerobatic!  Hmmm….for a brief second or two, Paul and I began to drift off into the dream world of breathing life into yet another airplane.  We had enjoyed building over those 3 years and had made mention of the fact that both of us did miss the process some.   At times, it had become rather Frankenstein-ish, but it was overall a fun and exciting adventure.  HOWEVER, snap back to reality – we absolutely do NOT have the funds to start this again without selling our “first born beloved” and I absolutely will NOT give up the ability to fly just to have another airplane ready in “a few years”.  NO!  We both looked at each other, more or less shook ourselves back into “now-time” and completely agreed that we were most happy exactly where we are in life right now with our “completed” airplane and things will just stay that way…for now.  BTW, thankfully Webb and Tom both lost their bets that we would have the tail section to a brand new RV-14 ordered before we left OSH – give us credit, guys, we have some restraint (but mostly, lack of money)…

CAN YOU HEAR THE WIND BLOW?…  Wednesday afternoon, found us strolling around looking at some of the vintage warbirds.  We always enjoy seeing these old beautiful birds that people love enough to maintain in excellent form and fly them to AirVenture – the “Mecca for all things Aviation”.  The wind was beginning to kick up a good bit and the forecast called for bad weather that afternoon.  The wind had already removed my hat from my head twice.  Thankfully, I was wearing my “fishing hat” which has a chin strap that kept it with me (I promise, it’s not quite as “gooberish” as it sounds).  Anyhow, Paul got a call on his cell and looking down, didn’t recognize the number right off hand.  He answered and someone with the grounds crew at Oshkosh had called to let us know that our tent had blown down and we might want to go back and tend to it.  Apparently, the winds had gotten a lot worse over on that side than where we had been.  Thankfully, it never rained that afternoon, it just blew.  We walked back toward the plane and immediately noticed that we could see the tail of our plane, but could no longer see Big “Tall” Agnes standing.  When we got there, Agnes was lying in a pitiful heap on the ground with a broken tent pole staring us in the eye through a newly poked hole in the rain fly.  We picked her back up, looked her over, and really, very little harm was done.  The tent was still just fine, only one broken tent pole and a “somewhat” minor hole in the rain fly.  Our good neighbor, Taylor, helped us by locating some duct tape and helped us mend Big Agnes and her broken tent pole back into an acceptable position and she was deemed good to go again.  I talked to Taylor for quite some time and found out he was a remarkable young man and just as easy and fun to talk to as anyone I’d ever met.  I told him about meeting Brittany, the beautiful young pilot and her grandfather on our stop in Mankato and Taylor told me I needed to find her and let her know he was available!  So, Brittany, if you are checking out our blog, let me highly recommend chatting with Taylor (if you are not already taken) because I think you two would be a perfect match!  You have TONS in common!!!  Now, Taylor, I have fulfilled my duty and done what I can, the rest is up to you!

STAR WARS ON THE HUDSON…  Wednesday night came and we attended the EAA Chapter President’s Reception hosted by Ford Motor Company.  This year’s special guest was George Lucas – yes, THE George Lucas!  Jeff Skiles was also there as one of the Young Eagles Co Chairmen – you’ll remember him as Chesley Sullenberger’s co-pilot from “Miracle on the Hudson”.  So the night was full of fame, food and fun.  We ran into our dear friend, Steve, from home and spent quite some time chatting and sweating with him as it was as hot as a Mississippi night in July in Wisconsin that night.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2…  “Where’s the tent?”

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Rapid City to Oshkosh, Just the Beginning…

Density Altitude… It was Monday morning and the forecast was still looking a little nasty for the next few days.  So, we decided to break camp a day early and try to get as close to Oshkosh as we could.  It was only a five hour flight, but we would would lose a time zone hour traveling east.  This would make it hard to get into Oshkosh before the airshow closed the field, so we decided to get as close as we could, find a hotel, take good shower and spend the night in an air conditioned room.  By the time we packed everything up and loaded the airplane at KRAP it was 10:00 and the temps were already in the 90’s.  The automated weather at the airport was indicating a density altitude of over 7,000 feet… with a field elevation of 3,200 feet, thats a lot of DA!  To the non-pilots out there, density altitude is a calculation that tells you basically where the plane “feels” like it is.  The higher a plane climbs the harder it is to continue that climb.  So, on this day, at this location and temperature, with the wheels on the ground our plane would climb like it is already at 7,000 feet… not too good, but well within her performance limits.

Long Roll… After “holding short” for a few planes on final, we were finally give clearance to takeoff and get out of this sweltering heat.  As expected with the high density altitude, we rolled a lot further down the runway before lifting off, but soon we were climbing out and heading east.  As we were departing, the controller even asked if we were going to Oshkosh… he sees a lot of RV’s stopping there during Airventure week.

Weather Ahead… We knew when we were planning the route that morning that we were going to have to get around a cold front that was slowly falling south from Canada.  As we approached the looming clouds we could see several openings to the north and since its always better to be behind the weather than in front we took advantage of these openings.  This did turn out to be a good decision since the front consolidated to our south and the temps fell into the 50’s at 9,500 feet – a welcome relief from the 90’s we just left!

Two Hops to Wisconsin… We were not able to land at our intended first stop due to weather but made it a little farther northeast to Mankato, MN.  Mankato Regional Airport (KMKT) is located just south of Minneapolis and has two nice long runways.  The staff was friendly and had free hot dogs and drinks for Oshkosh travelers along with a fuel discount.  While resting there, we met two folks from California that were headed to Oshkosh.  A young lady that had just taken her PPL check ride at 16 years of age and her grandfather.  It was inspiring to see the two of them sharing a passion like flying and to hear her

Caddie at KISW

dreams of becoming a Naval aviator.    They were going to try to get into Oshkosh after the airshow that day, but we had decided to fly close to Oshkosh and spend the night in a hotel so we could wake up clean and fresh for the demanding OSH arrival.  I had chosen Alexander Field (KISW) at Wisconsin Rapids, WI and gave them a call to see how far we would be from a hotel.  The lady that I talked to, called a local hotel with a reasonable rate for us and offered to give us a ride in when we arrived – What a deal!  The weather appeared to be moving in on us again, so we said our goodbyes to our new friends and continued east to KISW.

Great Place to Stop… We arrived at Wisconsin Rapids without any issues and were able to put Caddie in a hangar for the night for 20 bucks (good insurance, considering the weather we had been through).  Howard, the owner of HJ Aviation, drove to the hangar, picked us up and carried us in to the hotel in his personal vehicle and said he would be back to pick us up at 7:30 the next morning.  Our hotel was nice and within walking distance of an Arby’s (dinner) and a CVS (wine)… two showers and a good nights sleep in air conditioning AND Howard was picking us up and taking us back to the plane early Wednesday morning.  You always hear of southern hospitality, but we were treated like royalty at every airport we stopped at on this trip, especially at HJ Aviation!

Red & White RV, Cleared to Land Runway 36L…  We threw our overnight bag in Caddie, said goodbye to Howard and departed to the southeast for Oshkosh.  Beth flew the first leg to Ripon which allowed me to setup the radios and go over the NOTAM one more time.  Our plan to get into OSH early worked out perfect, there was very little traffic due to the bad weather south and 4,000 overcast in the area.  I took over flying once established on the arrival.  At Fisk, we were asked which runway we wanted & we took 36 since it is what we did last year and it lets us roll out near the taxiway to home-built camping.

See The Short Video Below…


Great Times Ahead…  Once we got the plane tied down and the tent set up, we headed to show center with eyes wide open and our thoughts turned to all things aviation – what a great week we have ahead of us… I am turning the keyboard over to Beth for the next post from Airventure 2012 – Stay tuned…

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica and now you can “TRACK US” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

Track Our Progress with SPOT…

See Spot Run… or better yet, see Paul & Beth fly!  We have had our Spot Satellite Messenger in the plane since our first flight almost two years ago.  While we rarely use the tracking feature, it is nice to have the peace of mind that we could get a message through to the authorities from a remote location if needed.  This handy little device keeps up with where you are and has the ability to transmit your location automatically for tracking purposes or in the case of an emergency, we can push the red help button and the unit will contact search and rescue, giving them your exact coordinates for a speedy rescue.  Spot’s website boasts almost 2,000 rescues initiated by the device with 314 rescues in 2012 alone.  I hope we don’t need it, but like insurance, it is a good thing to have, especially since our trip will take us over “The Badlands” – not a place I want to spend much time in.

New “TRACK US” Link… If you’ll notice at the top of the page, I have put a “TRACK US” tab.  This will take you directly to our Spot Messenger publicly shared page.  I will “try” to remember to turn the unit on when we take off (yes, it is on the checklist) so that those interested can see where we are and where we have been.  Just a note… if you see it just stop tracking in mid-air, don’t be alarmed, it runs on 3 little AAA lithium batteries that will die without warning and I do have a handful of replacements.  I had hoped to embed the linked page into our site, but apparently WordPress does not allow embedded links due to web security concerns, so for now you will just have to hit the “TRACK US” link and be routed to Spot’s shared site.

The plane is packed… the GPS databases are updated, the oil has been changed and we are ready to go!  Plans now are to leave after work on Thursday, weather permitting and fly to Flippin, AR and stay in the camper Thursday night.  Friday morning, we will head to Rapid City, SD with probably one stop around Grand Island, NE for fuel and a potty break.  After a few days tent camping in the Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore, we will head on over to Oshkosh to enjoy the rest of the week at AIRVENTURE! – can’t wait…

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

Mississippi to Oshkosh via Rapid City & Night Wall of Fire Video from Airventure…

Let the packing begin…  We have started getting things ready for our annual trip to Airventure in Oshkosh, WI.  For 5 years we pulled our camper for the 2,000 mile round trip to the mecca of aviation and last year we were able to fly our newly built RV-9A.  This year we are planning a little “side trip” to the Black Hills area of western South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and the Custer National Forest.

Dining room table overload… So, about two weeks before we take a big trip, we start setting things on the dining room table, “so we don’t forget anything”.  Yes, we do have a list, but this just seems to work well in organizing the packing.  First a few towels and hats, then the sleeping bags, mats, tent, rain gear… you get the point.  We figure, once the table is full, thats it – it probably will not fit in the plane!  Luckily, most of the stuff we have is VERY light weight and we only carry five days worth of clothes since we plan to hit the laundry mat when we transit from Rapid City to Oshkosh.  Our biggest issue is the volume of stuff that goes in the plane not the weight… the baggage area in a RV-9A is not very big!

Wall of Fire…  Two years ago, while at Airventure, I took the short video below on my iPhone.  It was very exciting and since it was the first night airshow at Oshkosh, I’m not sure any of us were prepared for what we saw – enjoy, and I apologize in advance for the “S” word and yea, I know I sound a little like Larry the Cable Guy…

Tracking our progress… In an effort to keep family and friends up-to-date with where we are and how things are going, I plan to put a link on the blog next week to our SPOT emergency locator tracking page. I just bought $20 worth of the required Lithium batteries to keep it going while we are moving around.  We also plan to “live blog” with the iPhone & iPad and will try to push a few postcard pictures up when we get near some wifi.  So, to keep up with the trip’s progress, please enter your e-mail address in the box to the right of the page  or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

Planning for Airventure – Oshkosh, Here We Come!

Every Year, About This Time… Aviation enthusiasts around the world start planning a trip to Oshkosh Wisconsin and Airventure — we are no different.   The stats are incredible, 10,000 plus airplanes, 30, 000 plus camping and over a half million folks will visit the hallowed grounds of KOSH, making it the busiest airport in the world for a week.  We pulled our 5th wheel camper to Oshkosh for 5 years before we were able to fly-in last year, in our freshly home-built RV-9A.  Trust me, if you like airplanes and have not been to Airventure, you need to put this on your “bucket list”.  It is truly impossible to take it all in, in three or four days!

Side Trip…  This year, we are planning a side trip to Rapid City, SD (KRAP) to tent camp in the Black Hills and visit Mt. Rushmore for a few days.  We intend to visit Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota, if the weather allows, and roll into Oshkosh near the middle of the week.  We may even try to fly fish while we are there, just to see what they do differently.  We will be in a tent for probably 9 of the 10 nights on the road (thank GOD for a wonderful wife!) and will wash clothes the night we spend in the hotel.  I am currently researching campgrounds in the Black Hills around Mt. Rushmore, so if anyone has any ideas about places to stay, please, let me know.

Last Year’s Video…  While were planning this year’s trip, I ran across a video I made from the approach to KOSH last year.  It was a fun ride; we had made it to an airport about an hour south before we hit bad weather.  After waiting it out all day, we found a nice opening that allowed us to make it in before dark on Sunday.  It was very busy, with planes coming in from every direction, but we made it in safely and saw a friend of ours from Mississippi before we even got out of the plane – Only at OSHKOSH! So, check out the video below and as always, you can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

Jump Jet – SNF2012

The Loudest Plane on the Field…  When the Harrier pumps water into the jet engines as it hovers over the runway and the black smoke begins to roll out it truly becomes the loudest plane on the field! This photo was taken at Sun-N-Fun 2012 of a Marine Corps Harrier AV-8B.  The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) ground-attack aircraft. (Wiki)  This shot was another 3 shot, hand held HDR taken with the D7000 and processed in Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photomatix PRO.  Click on the photo for a larger view and let me know what you think of the processing level…

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