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.
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…
We left Jimmy and Lulu behind at 40J and flew south (see SNF Leg 1 post), maneuvering just east of the Tampa class bravo per the NOTAM. About 60 miles north of Lakeland, the Zaon PCAS started talking to us… “TRAFFIC” she blared. As expected, the airspace is getting crowded with other planes headed to the same place we were and several headed north from KLAL. The good news was that everyone seamed to be at the proper altitudes and doing what they were supposed to be doing. We tuned the approach frequency and descended to the approach altitude and started trying to get in the “congo line”. Our first attempt to get in line put us behind a Piper Cub at about 75 knots that didn’t seem to be headed in the correct direction. This was a little slow for us, so we looped around and got back in line, this time behind a nice twin at a 100 knots… perfect! Then we hear the magic words: “Red and white RV over the power plant, rock your wings… looks good, follow the twin to 27R and welcome to Sun-N-Fun”.
We have arrived… once on the ground, we taxi’d to homebuilt camping and began the process of unloading and setting up the tent. This area is away from the other camping areas and we were worried about where the showers were and other amenities, then we met Mary Jane! Mary Jane was like the den mother to the most awesome group of volunteers anyone could ask for. We were treated like royalty; there was cold water, sandwiches, a nice large tent for shelter and an invite for dinner every night! We even had a group of pilot musicians on Saturday night come entertain us. Homebuilt camping is the place to be!
The show… while not as big as Airventure, SNF had plenty to offer rabid aviation nuts like us. Most of the aerobatic performances we have seen dozens of times and they do get a little boring, but I never get tired of seeing the Thunderbirds turn tax payer purchased Jet A into noise… it just never gets old to me. The night airshow was beautiful as usual and we were able to take it in from the comfort of our chairs at the tent. The vendor booths seemed to be busy with lots of folks standing around anything with an iPad attached to it or the letters ADS-B associated with it.
Overall SNF was great, the weather was perfect, only a few passing showers, the cool temperatures at night made it easy to sleep and the new friendships we made will bring us back again. I have already heard from our tent neighbors, Chuck from Oregon, who flew down with his friend Ron in a beautiful Lancair (and we thought we had a long cross country). We also ran into old friends from Mississippi who managed to slum their way down in a King Air for the day on Thursday. Once again, our many thanks go out to Mary Jane and crew for their help and hospitality and we hope to see you all again next year.
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