This trip write up is going to be a little different from the usual trip write ups I’ve done in the past. No one really wants to hear about or see my approach into Williston, ND nor do you want so see picts of me filling up with gas in New Ulm, MN
Instead I want to share some of the different things I experienced and encountered during my first trip to OSH. These high lights and low lights are in no particular order and hopefully they will answer some questions for future Airventure goers.
To say I was excited to go would be an understatement. I read the Notam through a bunch of times and watched all the youtube videos I could on the approaches. I felt I had a pretty good handle on things but nothing beats doing it yourself. This is a good segway into my first notation.
SECOND PAIR OF EYES: My Dad was with me in the -7 and it was a little difficult to see Ripon. I was glad when Dad said he saw the water tower and the train tracks. I was busy slowing the RV down, getting to 1800 feet and watching for traffic. I had the co-ordinates plugged into the GPS so that guided me but without him I think I might have flown past it.
As an aside, my run from Ripon to Fisk was going great until some bonehead in a Cessna cut my nice half mile space to quarter mile. He cut us off and if I had a horn I would have used it. Fisk controllers had to send him and the guy in front off the right and by then I was past Fisk so I went straight ahead. I didn’t even get to “rock my wings”
Oh well, next year.
DON’T CAMP BY TOLIETS: To HBC we went and we were parked in front of the portable toilets. I thought the problem would be the smell. Not so. The service guy comes every second day. The big problem is the doors bang every time they are closed. Not a biggy in the day but try sleeping 30 feet from 10 banging doors !
CHECK BATHROOM SIGNS: We got in late and before long it was dark. I went to the first row of showers and found them mostly empty. Hey good deal, no waiting ! After I got out of the shower I passed one of the cubicles, which have translucent doors. “Hey, that ain’t the silhouette of a man” I said to myself. After I exited the building I realized the sign on the door said Women. Oops…..
KIDVENTURE vs. SEAPLANE BASE: Day one Dad and I travelled from Kidventure to the Seaplane Base. If you have never checked out Kidventure I suggest you do next time. Amazing stuff they have set up for the kids. Van’s donated an RV-12 for the older kids to buck on and for the younger set there are: composite lay up stations, carving propellers, simulators, wooden airplane building etc…. very cool.
The Seaplane base, to me, was a waste of time. It’s free to take the bus down there but a $3 charge to get back to the main grounds even though we were told $2. It was Saturday so it wasn’t very busy, but it is a very small area and the planes aren’t parked up near the shore where you can get a good look. They are tethered in the lagoon and a small boat shuttles the occupants to shore.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ASK MULTIPLE PEOPLE: And get multiple answers and then take your pick of the best answer. What do I mean ? The place is massive and no one knows all the answers. The volunteers do their best but did lead us astray a few times. For example: When do the tram buses stop running?, Where does the North 40 bus drop off?, Which way to the D hangers?, Where is the Departure Briefing building? etc…. The place is massive, you need a GPS to get around at first….. then you learn the lay of the land. By the end of the week Dad and I didn’t need out maps.
RV’ers ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE: HBC is dominated with RV’s. I chatted with a bunch of fellow Van’s heads and enjoyed their company very much. I particularly enjoyed meeting some of the people I’ve corresponded with on VAF. A highlight was meeting Doug Reeves and personally thanking him for single handedly decreasing the productivity of North America I, like others, cruise VAF all the time while at work. Luckily I’m self employed. If you haven’t made your yearly contribution to the Tate Reeves college fund, I encourage you to do so. If VAF ever goes under because of a lack of $$, then we are all going to have to work harder….. and nobody wants that!
DOUBLE CHECK FUEL BILL: I got fuel from one of the trucks on the field. I was by my plane talking to a fellow Canadian RV’er when the truck arrived. I was too busy chatting and didn’t pay attention to the fuel bill he left me. He told me it was 35.5 Gallons and I said fine and found out where to pay. It wasn’t till the next day when it dawned on me. There is no way I used 35.5 Gallons for the hour and a half flight from New Ulm, Minnisota to OSH !! I checked the Advanced EFIS and it showed 15.7 gallons used. Yikes. Those jokers messed up. Fortunately when I went to pay for the fuel I explained to the lady that the mistake was on their end. She was cool and I paid for 15.5 Gallons of fuel. Whew…. Could have been ugly.
WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: There are trams and buses but you will still do A LOT of walking. Like I said, the place is massive.
TOO MUCH POLISH SAUSAGE AND BRATS: There are several places to eat on the grounds but they mostly serve the same stuff. I’ve been home since Thursday and I don’t want to see a hamburger or a hotdog for at least a month
You can take the North 40 bus off the property and go to alternate eating establishments. It just takes a bit of time.
WIFI CONNECTION: You can catch a wifi connection in most places. Problem is that it often gets overloaded and slow. I didn’t have too much success downloading videos etc…. stick to just the web pages. It’s still better than paying for a Data plan.
A TOUGH LANDING: I’ve had my plane for a little over a year and have put some 225 hours on it. I am still learning her nuances. Coming from Western Canada I did some long legs to get to OSH. I find that after sitting for over 2.5 hours it’s tough for me to grease my landings. My brain gets a bit foggy and sometimes on flare I lack that fine touch needed to land the -7. Sometimes it’s good, other times not. Give me a nice 3000 foot paved runway, no sweat, but my home field is neither. Home base is a 2000 foot grass strip at an elevation of 3340 ft. Coming home on Thursday night Dad and I were racing the sun. We were delay on our departure by the F-16 that ran off the runway. Then we joined the huge departure line and sweated in the plane for an hour.
After clearing customs back into Canada we raced the setting sun into Calgary. I was over the field at 15 minutes past sunset. Tired eyes, aching back, full bladder, darkening skies, heavy plane, no wind and a shortish runway is not a great combination. I prefer wind but on Thursday the wind sock was limp. Great….
Full flaps, 75 knots on approach….. too fast. No way I will stop in time. I saw one plane run off the runway for the day. I don’t want to be #2. Go around. Second attempt, 70 knots, full flaps and approach 20 feet short of the threshold in the weeds. Flare, bounce, bounce, brakes, grass is wet, slip, slide, curse, tail wheel down, stop. Still 200 foot of runway. Whew…. Home at last. Scared myself and Dad….. sorry again Dad…. But as he said, “ Any landing in one piece is a good one”
Thanks Pops, lets do it again next year.
Some picts below.