We’ve just returned home from our big Oshkosh adventure, and I’m still reeling, trying to process everything. This was only our third trip to the show, and my first time overnighting at Camp Scholler. Dad and I spent three nights and two days at Airventure, but it seemed like we took in a month’s worth of sights and sounds. I’ve listed a few of the highlights.
A Sea of Van’s Aircraft. This was my first Oshkosh experience where I really felt that building an airplane was within my reach. I’m sure I’d meandered through the RV’s in past years, but I don’t think I really knew what I was looking at. This year, I was awestruck by the waves of Van’s aircraft that have been built and flown to Oshkosh. The ball is rolling. I will build an airplane.
WhiteKnightTwo. I’d been waiting to see this thing in person since it was first unveiled last summer. It’s such a unique aircraft with such a fantastic mission – commercial human spaceflight – that it was easily the highlight of the show for me. As far as I’m concerned, Pete Siebold (chief test pilot at Scaled) has the best job in the world.
Burt Rutan and Virgin Galactic. If you’re in the aviation business, I guess you either love Burt Rutan or hate him, but there were very few of the latter at his presentation on Tuesday. Mr. Rutan’s name will almost certainly be remembered with the other great pioneers of flight.
Sheet Metal Workshop. I’d taken a SportAir workshop earlier this year, but I really wanted Dad to have the same experience, because I thought it would be great if we could work on an airplane together. We both learned a lot, although our finished product left a little to be desired. They didn’t kick me out of EAA after seeing my (lack of) riveting skills, though, so maybe there is hope for us after all.
Airbus A380.The largest airliner in the world is impressive to see, even if (like me) you’re not easily impressed by airliners anymore. And the way those test pilots maneuvered that beast through its flight regime – especially the slow end – was enough to wow any crowd.
AeroShell Aerobatic Team. I don’t know what it is about these guys – whether it’s the deafening roar of the T-6 Texans, the flashy red-and-white paint jobs, or the smooth harmonious formation aerobatics – but the AeroShell team is one of my favorite acts to watch. I don’t think you’ll ever find me slamming an Extra 300 around in a competition, but the easy grace of the AeroShell boys is something I’d like to aspire to.
Well, it was a refreshing few days in Mecca, and my aviation batteries are definitely recharged. Now it’s time to buckle down and make some of these dreams a reality.