This past July, CHI got to fly in to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2019!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with AirVenture, here is a brief overview of the event and everything it has to offer:
Located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, EAA AirVenture is one of the world’s greatest aviation celebrations. For one week each summer, EAA members, pilots, aviation enthusiasts and individuals world wide fly in for this event. There is something for everyone: daily airshows, forums and workshops, activity centers, airplane tours, vendors and more! It’s a great opportunity to meet others who share your passion for
flying and celebrate the world of aviation.
You can learn more about the event and how it came to be by visiting the EAA website!
OUR TRIP TO OSHKOSH:
We departed for Oshkosh in N922CA on July 20th, which happened to be one of the hottest days of the year. It was about 95 degrees outside, hot, hazy and humid. Boy, oh boy, the first 30 minutes of that flight were not fun. Once we got to altitude the temperature dropped and made for a much more comfortable flight. From KPSM, we made our way to New York and landed at KPEO to meet up with Brian and Kyle, two of CHI’s current students. Brian has his private license and is currently working towards his instrument rating. He and his son, Kyle, who is also training with us to get his private, flew their Mooney out to fly to Oshkosh with us.
Once we fueled up we all began our next leg to 16G in Seneca County, Ohio. This is when we hit our first speed bump on our journey to Oshkosh. We had already been planning to stay overnight due to the weather, but something we weren’t expecting is for all General Aviation camping to close at Oshkosh. That day Oshkosh got slammed with a series of severe storms and flooded all of the parking areas (lightning, 60mph winds, and 5+ inches of rain just a few hours). Not knowing when parking would re-open, and with some nasty looking weather to the north of us, we made the decision to refuel at Seneca County and fly in Fulton County (RCR), Indiana for the night.
Sunday morning we woke up to find all GA parking was still closed at Oshkosh. So with this in mind, we decided to continue on our journey and get as close to Oshkosh as we could. That way, when we did get the notification that parking was reopened, we could zip right over to Green Lake and make our way into Oshkosh. We departed Fulton County around noon and made our way west only to be met with quick developing storms. This forced us to land only 50 miles away at Jasper County Airport (RZL), Indiana.
We taxied in with giant black and green clouds looming behind us, so needless to say we were happy we landed when we did. We locked up the plane, threw chocks on the wheels and ran inside to wait out the storm. As the storm approached, the winds began to pick up, and everyone was glued to the windows anxiously watching their planes. We were soon hit with a wall of intense downpours, high winds and frequent lightning. Everyone's planes started to rock and winds continued to pick up. That’s when our hearts sank and adrenaline spiked as we witnessed our little RV-12 start to spin. I don’t think either of us have ever moved so fast in our lives! We sprinted outside to re-position the plane and re-chock the wheels, and then retreated back inside. We spent maybe 45 seconds outside and still managed to get soaked to the bone. Definitely one of the more memorable parts of our trip!
After the storm passed and we filled our bellies we hopped back in the plane and made our
way to our next stop at RYV, Watertown, WI. Holy moly that FBO was packed! It seemed everyone had the same idea to camp out there for the night and head to Oshkosh the next day. We got 922 fueled up and then parked the plane next to a small grassy patch. We popped up our tent, set up our chairs and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
Bright and early at 6:00am, we packed our things and hopped into 922CA to head north towards Oshkosh. We still hadn’t gotten the notification that parking was open, but wanted to be the first in line when that alert did come through. The day before had been hot and sunny so we were hopeful the parking areas would be dry by the morning. We took off from Watertown Municipal Airport and made our way straight to Green Lake. Green lake is the first part of the traffic pattern when entering Oshkosh. All arrivals must circle around Green Lake and then follow the railroad tracks up from Ripon to Fiske and then land at Oshkosh. Sure enough, on our way to the lake, we received the alert parking was open! Within 20 minutes the screen turned into a beehive of planes coming from all directions. Everywhere you looked there were planes! We had never seen anything like it. Luckily we were the first in line so we avoided the bulk of the traffic trying to get into Oshkosh.
You can watch the video of us landing at Oshkosh below (be sure to turn your audio on so you can hear how the tower and volunteers manage this many arrivals at once, it’s extremely impressive!):
FINALLY, after three days, we made it Oshkosh! After landing on runway 36R, we taxied over to the North 40 parking area and set up camp! We tied down 922CA and set up our tent right behind the right wing. As soon as we got everything situated, we made our way to the front gate to see everything EAA Airventure had to offer!
Throughout the week we got to explore, sit in on pilot workshops and forums, see planes of every make and model, watch daily airshows, travel to the seaplane base, and meet so many new people who share the same love for aviation and flying. Check out our photos below:
Oshkosh 2019 was an incredible experience, and we feel so lucky that we got to be part of this amazing event.
We also have to send out a huge thank you to Chris Hosford for making this all possible! Thank you Chris, we are so thankful and proud to be a part of the CHI Aerospace family!