Oshkosh Airventure 2022 Fly-In Err Camp-In

The excitement, the nerves, the anticipates for Airventure builds as the days get closer. Flying into the busiest airport in the world single-handed is not for the faint of heart and I’ll openly admit there is a big sigh of relief each time I am on the ground at Oshkosh. Then the fun begins talking airplanes, checking out cool airplanes, and watching cool airplanes.

This year I arrived on Sunday after a big storm passed through Saturday night that sadly damaged the rudders of a number of planes. My heart goes out to those builders. My camping/parking spot was right behind the Young Eagles building and across the street from the forums, great location for enjoying the show but that area has very narrow taxiways – more on that later… So after saying hi to my neighbors I got to setting up camp and getting N241VP tied down. Gawd I love the RV-10 for all the crap I can bring, including a full sized mountain bike which I used for a grocery store run and a few dinners out.

Martin (building an RV-10) organized an RV-10 dinner and surprised us shortly before the show that he was able to arrange sponsors to cover the cost. Huge shoutout and thank you to Martin! It turned into my latest night out of the show, it is just so damn hard to stop talking to other builders and sharing stories and passion we have for these airplanes. Of course the free beer didn’t hurt either. I stumbled my way back to my tent and drifted to sleep with RV-10 visions bouncing through my head.

Monday was the first day of the show and it is hard to not be a kid in a candy store bouncing from spot to spot trying to see everything. My list of questions for vendors kept me somewhat more focused and knowing Vic Syracuse was presenting on maintenance for homebuilts meant I had to squeeze that in (more on what I learned in a later post). And a swing past the Van’s booth was of course necessary too. All in all a strong first day, and it wasn’t over yet. That evening Van’s hosted the annual beer gathering – more bragging about how great Van’s planes are and a few more beers for the win. After dinner I hit the ultralight field for the STOL competition and watching the hot air ballons. Yes, I might have overdone it…

The day before my friend Allan (and the guy who with his wife bought SV Strikhedonia) flew in with his brother Mark. I was looking forward to hanging out with them but I had work to do, first up was hitting the Garmin booth to purchase my aviation databases (discounted at the show), and more talking to vendors. Then it was time for the big unveil of the RV-15. Excitement was high and I feel safe saying that the RV-15 display was the hit of the show. The big bummer was that Best Tugs is unable to operate with a stock RV-10, I talked with Mark Patey so no doubt I got the correct answer. The reason why is that the tubing would be narrow and they fear wheel pants getting damaged. His suggestion was to have parts custom machined. I might have to hit up my friend Andrew who has a metal lathe. Soon it was time for a forum with Mike Busch. After that I finally connected with Allan and Mark. We enjoyed the airshow in a secret shaded spot with chairs. Man was that nice. Allan and Mark had not gotten tickets for the Van’s dinner, so unfortunately I had to do this one solo. The food was good, the company was good, and the presentations by the Van’s team and Van himself made for a great night. To cap it off I won a dimple die holder from Cleveland Tool, so exciting to win something when there are over 300 people crossing their fingers for their ticket to be drawn!

My last day at the show started with the Warbirds. Mark and Allan are both retired Air Force and Mark is an encyclopedia of information on the old birds. Not that Allan is a slouch himself. I was spoiled with a personal tour where discussions were had about which bomb wasn’t appropriate on which airplane. Was this plane a German original or the Spanish version. These two knew just about anything and Allan had flown many of the aircraft as part of the Commemorative Air Force. They headed off to the museum for a presentation while I hit a forum on flying into Mexico. Yep, it is on my list. The afternoon was rounded out with for more Warbird time. A break for dinner and then regrouping for the evening night airshow. It was kicked off with an impressive display by the F35, sliding into formation flying with a P51, A1E, and the F35. Very cool. A few performers into the night airshow and the rain started. Blerg. We disbanded and caught the end of the show from my plane.

Thursday morning it was time to breakdown camp and form a plan to depart. I hit up a couple neighbors to be wing walkers as I taxied out, holy Hannah was it stressful with at one point only 8 inches between my wing tip and a plane (with about 18 inches on the other side). This taxiway is much too narrow! Earlier in the week I experienced this first hand when a high wing clipped the head of someone I was talking with and then proceeded to clip the propellor of an RV-4 two camping spot down from me. Thankfully it didn’t appear to have any significant damage but the owner has my contact info in case there was unseen damage… Well I did make it out and after the long taxi to runway 36 I was on my way back to Minneapolis. A great four days at Airventure and another one in the books.

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