9:59 AM

Onward to airplane heaven

Last night, my lovely wife and best friend Julie booked my flight to EAA Airventure 2006, and I could not possibly be more excited about going back to Oshkosh!!! And getting there for frequent flyer miles and ten bucks is perfectly cool too.

For aviators, Oshkosh is the closest thing we have to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is like a trip home to the mother ship, like stopping over for a few days on hallowed ground.

For non-pilots, it may look on the outside like a big honkin’ airshow, and indeed it is. But for people who fly, words cannot begin to describe the feeling one gets while touring Wittman Airport during these few prized days in July.

On any given day, if you see a nice, shiny Swift parked on the ramp in Anywhere, USA, it will be a big, big deal. Ramp rats will crowd around gawking at the shiny skin, and the plane will be the only topic of conversation at the airport coffee shop that day. But at Oshkosh, there will a row – maybe two or three rows – of bright, shiny Swifts, the finest examples of that airframe flying in North America.

Now multiply that by all the airframes out there, and you’ve got Oshkosh. Like P-51 Mustangs? How about 71 the first year I was there! DC-3’s…twelve or so, all impeccably refurbished (Basler’s are the hottest). Or how about a Ford Trimotor? See one of these at your local patch about to launch and all activity will stop until it flies off into the sunset. But at Oshkosh, the EAA Museum’s Trimotor makes endless laps, taking off on RWY 9/27 all day every day, giving rides to happy pax.

I have the flight, I have a car reserved…these are the easy parts of going to Oshkosh. Finding a hotel room in Cheese Country, USA is the tough act. Last time back, I stayed in a fleabag trucker’s motel 30 miles away…but this time I am vowing to find something a touch nicer.

This trip will be an ongoing theme in my blog during the upcoming months, so if you want to learn about the largest, most awesome Airshow in the world, stay tuned right here…

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