Oshkosh 2017

After a 2 day stop in Salt Lake City to visit family, Madeline and I made it to Oshkosh 2017! This is the second time I’ve taken the RV to Oshkosh, but the first time I’ve flown it in via the FISK VFR arrival and parked in homebuilt camping.

We arrived on the Sunday before the show around mid-afternoon which is probably the busiest arrival time for the whole show. I started monitoring the arrival frequency about 40 miles out and as expected it was crazy busy. There was nonstop chatter on the frequency and the controller was chastising pilots for being stacked up or flying side-by-side. It sounded like it was going to be a cluster-fuck, so I asked Madeline to help me look for traffic as we got closer. As we approached Ripon, the chatter died down and we were virtually alone on the arrival!

The controllers directed us to runway 36, and after landing we turned immediately into homebuilt parking where a guide on a scooter ended up escorting us to a new lot that they just opened this year that is only a few hundred yards from show center!

We’re basically due west of the forum buildings and coincidentally only a few hundred feet from the Factory Five booth. This is the first year that Factory Five has come to Airventure and there was a fair amount of interest in their booth the whole week. We just started our own Factory Five car this summer and it was great to chat with the founder of the company for a bit at the show.

Formation Clinic

I attended the 2016 West Coast Formation Clinic in Madera, CA this weekend. I got in 5 two-ship flights and made some good progress in station keeping and learning procedures and hand signals. On the second day, the more experienced pilots did a large formation with multiple passes over the airport.

The clinic was well attended and the briefing room was packed before and after every flight.

Alpine County Camping Trip

Some local RV pilots arranged a camping trip at the Alpine County Airport. We had about 10 planes show up on Saturday morning to the quiet little strip nestled in the foothills of the eastern side of the Sierras.  I took my 11-year-old son which was his first real trip in the plane.

There’s not much there, just a 5k’ runway and a small ramp, but there is a really nice spot to camp just a couple of hundred feet off to the side of the runway.

After everyone showed up, we hiked down to the Carson River for lunch and to wade in the water.

After resting back at camp for a bit, a few of us decided to hike to the top of a small hill on the other side of the runway (you can see it to the far left of the first picture). The terrain was pretty easy going and we reached the top after 45 minutes or so.  Here’s a nice shot looking back toward the Sierras.  Lake Tahoe is just beyond those mountains.

Headed Home

I got a very early start out of Tulsa, OK since I need to fly all the way back to San Jose, CA and then grab our Bonanza and fly up to South Lake Tahoe and back to get my kids.  I battled pretty stiff headwinds across most of New Mexico (over 30kts for much of the time).

I passed just south of Edwards Air Force Base and the famous dry lake bed.  There is so much amazing history at this place including all of the X planes that lead to our space program.  Coincidentally, I have been reading Chuck Yeager’s autobiography during the trip, and much of his flying career takes place here.


Overall, it was about 9 hours of flight time from Tulsa to San Jose and then another 2.7 hours up to Tahoe and back.  I’ve done a number of 12 hr flying days before and they’re always pretty tiring.  Over the whole trip, I put just over 30 hours on the RV and it performed flawlessly.

Headed to Tulsa, OK

I stayed in Lexington for a few days visiting family and giving some rides to family and friends before heading down to Tulsa, OK to visit some more family.  While I was out giving rides to family, one of the prototype Honda jets stopped for gas.  The crew was great and let us look over the airplane and ask questions.  They didn’t want any pictures of the inside since it was unfinished and loaded with test equipment, but they were more than happy to let us take pictures of the outside.

Flew Down to Lexington, KY

I left Oshkosh and flew down to Lexington, KY to visit family.  There was a line of storms between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, so I had to deviate a bit west to clear them.  I also popped up to 15,500 so I could get over most of the clouds.

I crossed the line through a low spot in the clouds.

It’s pretty dark under those clouds…

…as you can see on the weather display.  It shows yellow right where I am, but that’s below me.  If I had been in IMC, I wouldn’t have come through here.  You can see a really large buildup ahead and to the left.

You can see that buildup just to the left of the propeller tip in the distance.  I gave that a wide berth and then turned on course to Lexington.

Arrived at Oshkosh

Greg and I flew into Oshkosh today as part of the Bonanzas to Oshkosh formation group.  They fly as elements of three planes with about 1/2 mile spacing between elements.  We were the photo ships for the flight, so we flew along the outside of the line of elements, slowing down to around 125kts at each element to take pictures then speeding up to around 175kts to catch the next element.  It was a blast, and I’m sure we had way more fun than the rest of the formation.