Saturday, July 25, 2015

Oshkosh 2015I

As promised here is my Oshkosh 2015 story.  Keep in mind that this has been a bucket list item for my for as long as I can remember.  The idea of building my own airplane and then flying it half way across the country to spend a week camping under its wing was a dream come true this year.

Jeff, his son Lane, Mark, and I took off last thursday the 16th of July and headed east on our two day journey.  We had planned on leaving Friday morning but weather concerns prompted us to leave as soon as Jeff and Mark could get off of work on Thursday.  The first leg of the flight took us to Coeur d'alene Idaho were we spent the night at my brother Jim's house.  Jim was kind enough to pick us up on short notice and take us back to the airport early Friday morning.

Friday morning was a beautiful clear day and we got off the ground shortly after day break.  We had a nice smooth ride over to Townsend MT where we stopped for our first fuel stop.  The airport is very nice and had an old custom van that we borrowed to drive into town and get some breakfast.  A plate of biscuits and gravy later we were saddled up and launching for Pierre SD.   Our original goal was to go to Dickinson ND and spend the night with my sister but the weather forced us to cancel that plan.  Too bad too...Samone had made some fresh caramel rolls for us....

Anyway, we had and awesome tailwind as we flew across Montana and into South Dakota.  In fact the tail wind was so nice that we decided to push on to Oshkosh after a short stop in Pierre for fuel.  Turns out we had a great flight on into Oshkosh and I got my first "rock your wings and land on the orange dot"!  Jeff nailed the dot of course and I don't know how far off I was but 60 minutes later we had camp set up in "Homebuilt Camping" and was out looking for some food!

We had six days of walking 20,000+ steps a day looking at airplanes, seminars, forums, airplanes, warbirds, and did I mention airplanes?  I took a few pictures and should get a few more from others that took pictures.

Finally we were starting to get tired of the food, heat, humidity, and dehydration so we decided to pack up and leave on Thursday the 23rd.  The plan was to fly to Dickinson and spend the night but I think the Thunderstorm gods were conspiring against us because once again we had to deviate due to severe thunderstorm warnings in the Dickinson area....we never did get those caramel rolls....

With weather getting a little dicey in Montana later in the day we decided to push for home.  We had one bout of rain to deal with, a little turbulence around Missoula and a little head wind but come Thursday evening we were safely on the ground back in Puyallup.  We had made the entire trip in one day...about 12 hours after we launched from Oshkosh.  What a trip!

Mark getting ready to saddle up.

All packed up and ready to go.

On the Ramp tied down for the night in Coeur d'Alene.

First fuel stop in Townsend Montana.

A B-52 sitting on the ramp in Oshkosh.

Another picture of the B-52.

Our campsite in Oshkosh.  This is Jeff's airplane and mine side by side.

Sitting back enjoying the evening.  Somebody forgot their razor....

Another picture of our camp site.

F-4U Corsair in the setting sun.

Jeff standing on a sign base trying to get a picture of the area.

Hard to see but there are a bunch of white specs in this picture.  It was a group of 120 sky divers attempting to set a world record during the air show.

Panorama of the Homebuilt camping area.

Last day as we were preparing to leave Oshkosh.  This is Jeff doing his preflight as we wait for the field to open up so we can fly out.

A big apology and a major update

Well, its been well over a month since I last posted and I have to apologize to the remaining 3 people that still read this blog.  I have been very busy flying and taking very few pictures so I haven't felt like I had much to post but having just returned from Oshkosh I figured I better post something if for nothing more than something to read when I get too old to fly...

So, that said I think my blog posts will be more topic based from now on.  I do plan on building another airplane in the not too distant future so who knows I might pick up the pace once again some day.

What has the summer been like since my last post?  Well its been a whirlwind of aviation activity.  So far I have put just over 160 hours of time on the airplane which is really a huge number.  Most people barely fly 100 hours a year let alone 160 hours in four months.  The airplane is so much fun to fly and I still make minute changes to it in hopes of one day actually finishing it.  I have a list of at least 10 items that still need to be done including paint, a few fairings, some electrical modifications, and some interior work.  All in good time.  Now that the airplane is at the hangar which is about a 45 minute drive with no traffic (and we all know there is always traffic in the Seattle area) it's much harder to get any major work done without endless driving.  Staying home and doing nothing is not an option either so I figure I might as well start building another airplane.  Granted it will be at a much slower pace than the first one.  Still not 100% certain which plane I will build but I am leaning strongly toward the RV-8 which is a two seat tandem airplane with the look and feel of a fighter.

My IFR lessons are coming to a close and I am getting close to doing my final check ride.  This will allow me to fly in the clouds which is something I feel is very important if I want to fly in the PNW.  I have a big cross country flight planned for this coming week and then its just getting comfortable with the entire process before my checkride.

I finally got to do some airplane camping as well this month.  The Arlington airshow was the first time and the Oshkosh this past week.  Arlington was fun and the tent/sleeping arrangement was very good.  The weather was a bit cool but overall I enjoyed the show.

Oshkosh really deserves a post of its own so I will do that next.  In the mean time here are a few pictures of some of the things I've enjoyed the past month or so....

Here is a picture of the Spruce Goose as it sits in the McMinnville museum.  Jeff, Harry, Chad and Jeffs dad and me flew down to this museum on father's day.

Another picture of the Spruce Goose from below.  Hard to believe those are actually full sized planes under its wing.

Chad H, Harry N, Jeff B and his father...the McMinnville trip group.  Here we are standing in a missile silo replica.

This is an odd picture but it shows the "coking" of oil buildup on the vacuum valve in my exhaust tap.  I expected this but I am amazed at how quickly it built up.  This was taken at about 140 hours on the airplane.

I tried to clean out the coking and this is what it looked like when I was done.  Not perfect but at least its open and clear.

Dad and I sitting at the airport watching airplanes and drinking cold beverages.  Couldn't resist the chance to take this picture.

Ah yes, the PBY.  This airplane is a WWII relic that was being restored here at Thun field.  Jeff and I got a unique opportunity to fly chase as it flew its last major flight.  It was destroyed a week after this picture was taken.  Long sad story but as I heard it the PBY started taking on water after a hard landing and the salvage crew basically broke it into pieces as they were attempting to lift it onto a barge.

Here is my RV-9A sitting under the wing of the PBY as it was being fueled for its final voyage.  We didn't know it was its final voyage at this time.

This is a rather fun picture for me to post.  I have been doing some formation flying with the Cascade flight group out of Thun.  In this picture we (Marv, Andy, Randy, me) were flying over a cub scout camp (aviation related) as the "Grand Finale".  The significance of this flight is it was my first actual event.  The red arrow points to my airplane as we flew over in Fingertip formation.

And here we are again this time in diamond formation.

Jeff, Lane, Chad and me setting up camp at Arlington.

A panorama of the Arlington camp site.  This was early on Thursday so not a lot of airplanes had arrived yet.