EAA AirVenture Oshgosh 2019

This was our second trip to the biggest fly-in convention for aviators and aviation enthusiasts of all types. EAA AirVenture 2019. In the coming year I’m going to get organized so that in the end I don’t have hundreds of pictures, thoughts, memories, and schedules from which to dig through. I’ll keep a log and journal so that I can write up bite sized segments and if not daily, at least every few days during the week, and shortly thereafter get it posted. This year was about upping my camping gear game and letting the kids experience their first fly-in. Oh and another kid, relative to age, Chris, who I met through training was able to come along.

In 2018 we came ill prepared to camp for 10 days and left with a list of camping gear to buy and ideas from walking around and looking at how those whom have been coming for decades do it. I didn’t get organized as soon as I would have liked but it all worked out. I made huge improvements in our comfort level and though I have a few things to improve on I think it was a huge step forward. Last year we had just a few items and a really small leaky tent. As Laura put it, “This isn’t going to work for me…”. So I researched gear and accumulated quite a pile, Laura drove it from Maryland to Oshgosh WI in the car and Chris, the kids, and I flew. After the event a friend and I rented a storage unit next to the airport and all of our gear will be waiting for our next visit which I hope will be a yearly pilgrimage to aviation Zen. I have a few things I’ll buy in Oshgosh next year and just add them to the storage unit.

We departed Maryland a few hours before Laura with hopes of making it to Cincinnati, OH. We could have gone further but weather was tough, lots of thunderstorms building, and especially in the direction we were headed things didn’t look real good. Being the kids first year I wanted to keep the flying days somewhat short and enjoyable; make a real adventure out of it. We were heading out 4 days before the event started because we like to get their early and watch the airport turn into a city, watch all the airplanes come in, and meet all the people. Plus you get a really good parking spot. So we stopped and checked into a hotel and enjoyed the town, walking to dinner, and my son Vincent got to take lots of pictures of the historic buildings as we explored town.

The next day we flew to Chicago and stayed overnight again. Again enjoyed a hotel and the town, a nice dinner, and prepared for the the final leg. I wanted to have plenty of fuel for the 1.5 hour flight since it can get quite busy with everyone flying in and there is always the possibility of having to hold or divert flying into such a big event. Also I wanted to fly the scenic Chicago Skyline so that the boys and Chris could experience what I did on my way in last year. We arrived mid afternoon with Laura arriving in the car a couple hours later. In prior days we would fly and get to the hotel several hours ahead of her; however, with the last leg being the shortest it worked out great and we were able to get camp set up and start exploring the gourds. The weather turned bad the next two days and parts of the grounds were under water. It made a survival event out of it but finally the afternoon before the official start AirVenture the weather broke and was perfect for the entire week. I ended up going into town to get some additional gear to keep everything dry and learned a lot about camping in severe rain and wind. It was memorable!

The boys were so excited all week and had a blast exploring all that aviation has to offer. Vincent took hundreds of pictures throughout the grounds, displays, and daily air shows. We spent many hours sitting together watching the air shows and watching all the planes take-off and land. We lucked out and got a parking spot right on the end of a row, directly on the edge of the runway so we could sit at our plane and cook meals while watching planes land. What could be better?!!!!!

I would have loved to stay all week but that means a 10 day stay as we did last year verses seven. This year Laura and the boys needed to be back in Maryland by Friday and Chris and I had plans to continue flying West to Minnesota and South Dakota to visit family and do some sight seeing by air. So early Thursday morning we packed up the gear and all departed, tired but fulfilled. Laura and the kids left for a 15 hour drive to Maryland and Chis and I flew to the Western edge of Minnesota, Hector, where my brother lives.

We spent 2 days/3 nights with my brother in Hector, MN and during one day flew west through South Dakota and around Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse with fuel stops in Huron and Rapid City. I got my 1st “Check Density Altitude” warning from a tower! Density Altitude 6500 msl so we completed the static leaning checklist.

From there we departed and flew into Rochester, Mn to visit my niece and family for a couple days on their farm. Low cloud cover and weather was moving in later that morning so we got going early for a partial IFR flight. As we pulled into the ramp at Rochester, MN the weather caught up with us; heavy rain and thick cloud cover.

We left Maryland July 15th, it was now July 30th and though we had the plane for 2 more days a large frontal weather system was moving into the Mid East Coast region and I needed to be back by Monday. I had purposely allowed for flexibility in the schedule for safety purposes so we decided to leave a day early and ended up flying all the way back in one day. We had several areas of weather to work through, especially near the last fuel stop and into our home airport. We did use the opportunity to get fuel and stop at a well known airport, I69 and Sporty’s Pilot Shop, for whom knows my credit card well! Upon arriving home a cell of heavy precipitation was obscuring the runway; an extremely dangerous situation. Therefore, we went into holding for 30 minutes until it moved well east and then continued in for an uneventful landing.

So our second EAA AirVenture Oshgosh was Awesome! Many lifetime memories and learning moments logged…. Each day waiting until Oshgosh 2020!

Vincent took most of the pictures and did a daily video with some of his thoughts. You can see the videos and more pictures on the Photos & Video page.

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