Departure from Puyallup was planned for Thursday afternoon. Things went well and there was some significant overcast so Jeff, Martin and I all filed IFR and flew out one after the other. This was FUN! We had some pretty heavy rain just before breaking out of the clouds at 11,500' but from there to Montana was nice. We opted to spend the night in Helena MT and as we approached western Montana we started picking up some significant haze from the wild fires.
Friday morning the plan was to fly to Oshkosh with two fuel stops along the way. Mid way through the day there was some pretty nasty weather building up around Oshkosh so we opted (after much discussion) to stop for the night and finish our trip on Saturday. I have to pause here for a minute to warn everybody that if you ever ask Martin to be the navigator for your lunch run be prepared for just about anything....including a trip to another state to get Subway sandwiches. :-)
The next morning we got up early and headed for Oshkosh. Again we had to delay a time or two to avoid weather but we finally landed in mid afternoon and set up camp. The great part about this trip was the actual arrival at Oshkosh. In the past few years we always arrived on Friday and managed to avoid the mad rush on the weekend. This year we were in the thick of Saturday afternoon traffic and we had to keep our heads on a swivel to avoid the incoming traffic. This was the first time we got the full Oshkosh arrival treatment and fortunately we didn't have to hold over the lake or go around due to too much traffic on final.
Saturday was pretty hot and humid but the grass was all green and our camp site was nice. The evening cooled off nicely which made sleeping possible in the tents. Sunday we spent the majority the day on the edge of runway 27 watching the arrivals. No accidents, thankfully, but there were a few pretty spectacular close calls.
Monday was a day of forums and vendor visits...and the arrival of the B1B in full afterburner! Holy cow that thing is loud!
Tuesday morning we awoke to a public announcement that Wednesday had "Damaging winds and hail" in the forecast. We again discussed this and decided we would rather be home wishing we were here rather than the opposite so we packed up a couple of days early and headed home. We stopped in Dickinson ND to spend the night at my sisters. On Wednesday morning Jeff has a mag failure that kept us from an early departure. Fortunate for us the FBO on the field actually had the correct mag in stock so we were able to launch for home shortly after noon.
All in all it was a great trip but I would like to have had one more day in Oshkosh.
|Fueling up for the first leg. You can see Jeff's RV-7A and Martins RV-4 in the background. What you can't see is our ground support team (Harry) sitting in his truck watching the departure.|
|First fuel stop after Helena...I didn't take any pictures in Helena...|
|Second fuel stop and our unplanned hold point in Laverne Wisconsin. This is also where Martin took us to Ohio for lunch at Subway!|
|Parked with the welcome wagon in the background. You can see Victors RV-9A just on the other side of Jeff. Martin opted to fly to Appleton and stay in a hotel there.|
|A view off to the North from our parking spot. Thats an RV-14A sitting beside me by the way.|
|All set up and ready for evening.|
|Random RV-10 interior that I saw and loved.|
|Blue Origin rocket on display.|
|My vantage during the Monday airshow...who says you cant find shade under a low wing aircraft!|
|Lots of sky writing this year...|
|I think we took this picture and sent it to Harry who could not join us this year... Dinner at Applebee's.|
|Jeff working on pulling the mag that failed while in Dickinson.|
|Using the courtesy truck I made a run to McD's for lunch before we launched out of Dickinson...holy cow... I don't think I've ever sat in a McD's line that long!|
|One of the bigger fires in western Montana. Look below, you can't see the ground due to the smoke layer.|
|As the sun set in the west my shade wasn't providing any cover from the sun so I had to "improvise" for the last hour or so of our return to KPLU.|