Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oshkosh Fly-In Expedition

With the date quickly approaching for the 2010 Oshkosh Fly-In, I wanted to alert readers to an event that would be very worthwhile to include on your "Bucket List", especially if you are the least bit interested in aviation. The dates in 2010 are July 26 - August 1, and the revenue that it brings into all kinds of businesses in the Oshkosh, Wisconsin area, make it a welcome income producer for an otherwise slow economy. The new, official name for this air festival extravaganza is "EAA AirVenture Oshkosh" ( and the EAA is the abbreviation for Experimental Aircraft Association. The very first EAA Fly-In was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1953, with just a few attendees. It was moved to Oshkosh in 1969, and since that time, has grown to be the world's premier aviation event. I had the opportunity to attend the event several years ago with my son, and it made a lasting impression on us. We were wondering aimlessly through the airfield, when one of the EAA-member pilots who had flown his airplane to the event, invited us to be his guest " beyond the ropes " where only the pilots and their guests were able to walk around. Just like hundreds of other pilots and their guests were doing, we had our lunch while sitting on the ground under the shade provided by the wing of his airplane. He gave us a few tips about a strategy for seeing as much as possible at the airshow, and told us about the big news for the day, which was the visit by the famous CONCORDE. So as you might expect, the highlight of our visit was getting to see the CONCORDE aircraft not only land, but also, take off again, complete with its movable, pointed "nose piece". It was on the ground for a very short time, and my son and I actually were allowed to walk up the stairs and walk completely through the plane, from the pilot's cockpit to the bathrooms in the back of the plane. That wouldn't be so amazing, except that there were no crew members on board as we walked through the cabin! (As you can imagine, this was BEFORE the tight security measures, taken after the 9/11 terrorists attacks by jet airplanes.) All the crew had exited the plane, and as they were walking away, I casually asked one of them if we could go on board, and to my astonishment, they not only said "yes", but let us go unaccompanied!At the time, I was collecting and framing restaurant menus from places I visited around the country, so I felt compelled to add the menu from the Concorde to my collection. That is a photograph of it with this blog. It was more like a "tray card" than a menu, but it certainly brought some "class" to my otherwise, humdrum menu collection! There were lots of vendors selling all kinds of aviation-related items, so my son bought a model of an airplane. He spent the entire time, of the drive back to Arkansas, working on putting that airplane model together. The exhibit selling airplane models was all I remember that was specifically targeted to kids. However, these days the fly-in has a special section called "Kidventure", with hands-on, aviation-based demonstrations , and activities, including tethered hot air balloon rides.
Although we were only at the fly-in for one day, most people stay more than a day, with many of the pilots sleeping beside their aircraft. There may be as many as 10,000 pilots who fly their planes there, and there are at least 2,500 special "Show air craft" on display. The displays include homebuilts, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, and rotocraft. In addition, there is an air show every afternoon. The Oshkosh Fly-In (aka "AirVenture Oshkosh") has become an international gathering place for aviation enthusiasts, and something I would heartily recommend attending at least once in your life! An event like this always reminds me of what I call "The Expeditioners' Psalm" because one part of the 139th Psalm (The Message) says "Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go underground, you're there! If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute---you're already there waiting!" Remember these promises from God each time you go "Up, Up, and Away"!! Miles of smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa