Those ‘Oshkosh Moments’ Stay With You for Life (Part 1 of 10)

2:17 PM

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

(Ed. note: I will update this post with the next 9 chapters in this story every few days - dan)
O.K., sure, I write about Oshkosh a lot here on Airplanista. If you’ve been to the show, you know why. If you have never been to the World’s Largest Aviation Celebration, you may not be able to understand how this show stays with you all year, and the memories you make there stay with you for life.
There are triggers that sometimes bring up one of my favorite “Oshkosh Moments,” those incredible experiences that can only happen at EAA’s annual convention also known as AirVenture. Recently, as I was driving out of my gym with my truck’s stereo on shuffle, up came Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” and it happened:

When those first few notes came out of the speakers – da da da da DA da – followed by that killer aggressive guitar, I was instantly back on Boeing Plaza in 2014 when Loggins and his band headlined the Opening Night concert. If there was an anthem for the 600,000 #avgeeks that stop by Oshkosh for one special week each summer, this is it. Hearing this song, in this place, surrounded by thousands of airplanes was incredibly special….I mean “goosebumps” special. The only thing that would have made it even better was for EAA to have arranged for a pair of F-14A Tomcats to do a high speed, low pass over the crowd at the precise moment Loggins was singing RIGHT IN TO THE DANGER ZONE!!
It got me thinking about some of those cherished “Oshkosh Moments” I have experienced over the years. So if you are not yet over-saturated on me writing about Oshkosh, here’s my Top 10 list, in order of total awesomeness. I will add the next nine right here every few days:

10. A380 crosswind landing (2009) – The arrival of Airbus’ latest – and biggest – product at the time, their spanking new A380, was a big deal on the show grounds. Of course the flight engineers knew it could land on KOSH’s 8,002’ x 150’ runway 36, but it still was a very big airplane to watch land so close in front of you. As arrival time neared, a nasty crosswind probably 20G35 developed out of 270 degrees, so every person on the field knew the A380 driver would have to crab it in like an Aeronca. 

After a couple of passes (low and slow, and max thrust climbout), the pilot set up for the landing, with his nose pointed at what looked like a 45-degree angle to the runway. As he came over the fence, the 575-TON (MTOW) ship was aimed straight at us on the flight line! I was positioned well south on the field, roughly on the south end of Vintage generally at the touchdown point of runway 36, seated cross-legged right on the line. I could not have had a better position for this experience.

It was really quite spooky as it touched down right in front of me, and this AVweb video will show you clearly how the landing went. The pilot slammed it to Earth, kicked in hard right rudder to bring the giant nose back around to center, and after the huge wings stopped flapping from the impact/arrival, he stood on the brakes and went full beta on the four engines, and made the taxiway turnoff at mid-field. Yeah, seeing a gigantic airplane coming straight atcha is mind blowing. 

Take a long look at the photo I shot at the top of this post. If you didn't at least THINK what might happen if he does not get this right, you are not thinking. Staring down an airplane this big really gets your attention.

Stay tuned right here for the next chapter in this 10 part series coming soon.

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