Update 1: Congratulations to Andy and Theresa Millin on winning a Bronze Lindy.

I’m going to start trying to do more travel reporting now that we’re flying to more interesting locations. First up is Oshkosh, our longest flight to date, and a very significant one. So, without further adieu, Part 1… (continued in Part 2)

Thursday July 24th 2014


Our Airventure started with getting the plane ready to fly. You might have seen from the blog that my brother and his son were in town the week before Oshkosh, so we hadn’t packed up and prepared as much as we generally would. Also, while flying them to football camp and back, I picked up a cowling screw which went through the prop, so I filled this with JB Weld on Thursday evening.

Friday July 25th 2014

Then on Friday the 25th Beth and I both took half days off of work to get packed up and moving. The weather for the weekend was looking iffy at best, and we wanted to put some miles under our wings. We talked to the Millin’s in the Grand Rapids area, and they were already hosting the Riley’s that night and offered to put us up as well. That sounded great to us, and is about half way to KOSH, so it’s a nice waypoint. We knew the Riley’s were aiming for a 7 pm arrival, so we wanted to be off the ground by 5:30 or 6 ourselves to save Andy a trip to the airport. As it happens we were up about 10 till 6…

Low Pass (to check windsock)


Andy’s buddy Carlos was there too, so we put the airplanes away in some hangars that Andy had secured for us (thanks Andy!) for the night, and piled in their cars to ride into Plainwell. Theresa picked up some yummy local pizza for us, so we chowed down on that, and of course she had baked. 😉 This year we got extreme chocolate brownies that were as dense as lead. Mark too a funny video that I hope to share later. Mark was having trouble with his autopilot, so he talked Carlos into helping him with that early on Saturday, and I told Andy I’d help him get his airplane back in flying shape since there was forecast to be low clouds and fog in the morning.

We’ve arrived, and our baby is safe for the night

Beth and our loving hosts

Andy relaxes after dinner

Elizabeth and Nancy bonding

The life of Riley

National Sundae Day! YES!

Saturday July 26th 2014
It think we were all a bit anxious to get moving on Saturday. Mark and I checked the weather as soon as we were out of bed. It wasn’t good, but it was expected to be VFR later in the day, though crossing the lake would dubious with the mist and haze. Once everybody was up the Millins made coffee and breakfast, and we had some egg/bacon casserole that Nancy had brought and headed to the airport.

While Mark and Carlos were flying and working his TruTrak autopilot issue, I helped Andy some and Elizabeth washed our airplane with Nancy and Sean’s help. I knew the plane wasn’t clean, but I didn’t realize just how dirty it has gotten over the past few months of flying. We knew we wouldn’t win an award, but Beth wanted the plane to look her best and was going to enter us for judging anyway. Andy had his paint crew working on buffing the newly painted gear leg and generally sprucing the airplane up, while I filtered and refueled it, and he worked on putting the interior back in. After a quick lunch (thanks Nancy!) Mark and I re-evaluated the weather. The briefing wasn’t a whole lot better than it had been earlier. Conditions on the east side of the lake were just VFR in haze and low ceilings, though it got better – though not great – on the western side. I was dubious, and Andy was downright negative, but Mark had been up for over an hour and said it was flyable, at least between Allegan and the lake. We huddled up and decided we’d launch, with the plan to return to Andy’s for the night if we didn’t like what we saw on the southern route past Chicago. I was so convinced that we wouldn’t get to Oshkosh I didn’t even turn my wing cameras on.

Low clouds and haze

The lake is not inviting

We can see the shoreline


There were a couple of places along the route I was ready to throw in the towel. We were on the air-to-air frequency talking to the Rileys, which was a great comfort. They were running south along the lakeshore, and we were about 4 miles inland to make sure we didn’t find each other in the haze, and were making good time, though not running flat out since we didn’t know who else was out there. Eventually we were far enough out I didn’t think going back to Allegan was wise, so I kept looking for paved runways we could use in case the conditions got worse. We were flying just below the overcast, no more than 1,500-2,000′ AGL. It felt like flying in a sack of 5 mile visibility. Later, at the VOBA BBQ, Mark and I joked that it was our version of limbo…. ‘How Low Can You GO?’.

As we worked our way south, the clouds thickened a bit, and as it got darker the perceived visibility was worse. Mark said his vis was still good, and he was ahead. While we were talking, and I was telling Mark, “if it doesn’t get better in the next 5 minutes, where landing at X…” another pilot overheard us on the frequency. I didn’t catch his name, but he sounded middle-eastern. He’d just flown the same route and was now on the other side of the lake.

[helpful PIREP] Hey, Velocitys, I know it looks bad now, but I just came through there. Avoid Gary airspace, and just past Chicago it opens up. It’s much better on this side, just stick with it another few minutes, you’ve made it. Skies and visibility are much better.

Another funny story that came up when we made it to the Velocity booth the next day. Duane, President of Velocity Aircraft, said he’d seen us fly in. That surprised us, because we’d understood they were not at the show that day due to a death in the family. He said yes, in fact they’d spent the day on at a beach house on Indiana on the lake and watched us fly overhead.

[Duane] I heard a Velocity approaching, and told our friends ‘That’s one of ours, you can tell by the sound’
[friend] Do you know them?
[Duane] Yea, I think so…
[friend] Those are pretty cool, do you think we’ll see another one?
[Duane] Oh, no, they’re very rare….

{our Velocity approaches, right on cue, about 4 miles in trail}

[Duane] Well, that’s one of ours too. Yes, I definitely know who that was now….

The whole flight took about an hour and half, with us flying really, really close to downtown Chicago. As we past Gary, the clouds did start to break up. Now we could see blue sky with much more sun, and we could see the airliners coming over us into Chicago. There was traffic everywhere. We past a high wing below and to the lake side, and I kept a eye on him while Elizabeth flew. I can’t say it was any fun, but it was a good learning experience to know we could do it. And having just flown the airplane 15 hours in the last 3 weeks gave me the confidence that we were up to the challenge. Our arrival was made even more special because the Riley’s had scored us excellent parking right in the middle of everything (row 345 in homebuilts, right on the main drag to Warbirds), and the Basol’s (Cozy builder/friends of ours from Rough River) were there to greet us as well. What an awesome first year!

Flying the approach into KOSH was actually not nearly as bad as I had expected. For one thing, we were flying up on Saturday, when relatively fewer folks are heading in. Secondly, the weather was not great, which also controlled the numbers a bit. However, I’d been so confident that we were not going to make it all of the way, I hadn’t programed the EFIS past RIPON. As we got closer, I asked Mark if he could hear the ATIS. He couldn’t, we were all too low, but we started to get requests on the frequency to pass it along once we did. Mark was now well ahead, probably 10-15 miles, and reported they were using 27. I quickly programmed FISKE and KOSH into the EFIS, and studied the 27 arrival as Mark announced he was switching frequencies. A couple of minutes later we were over RIPON, turning to FISKE. I found the railroad tracks, but it was nice to see them on the EFIS too, we were on course at 130 kias and 2300′.

We passed over FISKE with no contact. I started to worry that I didn’t know what was expected of us in that situation, but then we got the call “EZ type, turn right now for 36L, rock your wings”. We did, and then they called “Check Gear Down”. If our gear isn’t down, we’ve got a real problem, as it was there when we took off, but hey, whatever. I grabbed the 36L arrival page, and luckily this one was even easier. They put us on a left base for 36L over Fiske Avenue. When the see us, they call a dot to land on. They gave us the Yellow, second, dot and asked us to begin our descent. We settled down a little early, and Beth was keeping it in the air till the dot but we got a bit slow, so she set it down just ahead of the dot and we rolled a couple of hundred feet to the next hard surface taxiway, and we got to taxi all of the way to homebuilt parking on hard surfaces. Nice! My baby doesn’t like grass! Mark, Nancy, and Sean had a parking space next them for us, and our Cozy-building friends the Basol’s were waiting there too. Awesome! We have arrived.

It started to clear up rounding the lake

Lot of traffic near Chicago

We few under O’Hare’s airspace, quite close to downtown Chicago

Conditions in Wisconsin were ‘pretty good’, at least comparatively

Not bad at all here…

The Riley’s documented our arrival


How low can you go?

The Basol’s

But, what does it all mean, Basol?

N929X tied down

Snug as a bug

Ray, our EAA974 tech counselor stops by


Once we were tied down, we made a call to VOBA President Reiff Lorenz, who was ready, willing, and able to give us a ride to the dorms. Since the show hadn’t started yet, the “Welcome Wagons” weren’t yet running, nor were the buses. Somehow he was able to talk his way inside the gates, and drove all of the way to our airplanes. Very nice (thanks Reiff!). We all piled into his car and headed to UW Oshkosh. It’s a 70s era dorm, so no private bathrooms/showers, and no AC, but there was good hot water, and I never had to wait for the shower or toilet, and we had plenty of electric, very nice WiFi, and no mud between me and the shower, so it had definite advantages over camping.

We borrowed this little folding wagon from Elizabeth’s mom, and it made short work of moving our stuff

Check in at UW Oshkosh Gruenhagen

I patiently wait (not) for Elizabeth and Mark to check us in so I can get my dinner.


Home sweet dorm, South Scott Hall… no A/C… No problem, summer hasn’t come to Wisconsin yet…


It got messier as the week went on

There was decent working space, a fridge, and microwave

If these halls could talk


We arranged our rooms and settled in a bit, opened the windows and set up our fans, and then started working on dinner. There are a few choices within walking distance of the dorms, and the most promising was Mahoney’s, so we headed that way, finding some amusement here and there.




After dinner the Riley’s introduced us to the local bar, Kelly’s. It’s every bit the college bar, and nothing much was happening yet, as most of the crowd hadn’t arrived, but we enjoyed a couple of drinks and some brisk temperatures before turning in.


Sunday July 27th 2014

Sunday morning broke bright and beautiful in Oshkosh, but the forecast held true, we likely would not have gotten over if we had waited. We caught a nice breakfast in Blackhawk commons at UW, and (using the bus passes we’d bought the night before at check-in) grabbed a city bus to the show. We didn’t need wrist bands for Sunday, but we bought our week-long passes anyway, and put them on, before heading to Homebuilder Headquarters for check-in (where we got a swank mug and patch) and bought the obligatory “I flew my homebuilt to Airventure” shirts.

Then we stopped by the Velocity booth where we heard the Swings had been delayed, but saw John and the Twin as well as Mohammed’s XL. They were still setting up, so we headed for the airplanes and dried them off and spruced them up a bit for showing off while answering questions from our adoring crowds.

On the bus

Mark and I are Jazzed

At the gates

Mark and Sean

And Close-up


Our first “Walk me” sign!

On our ‘Airventure Pilot’ pin

A sweet sight

Obligatory Brown Arch photo

Other Velocity’s nearby


Beth with Larry’s plane N58LV

And with Larry


Velocity on the diagonal road

with Mohamed’s airplane Nasr N916TC

Doing some traffic early

Wow that’s red





We then joined a bunch of other Velocity builder’s and owners for lunch at the Twin Oaks food court. It was completely different from 2 years ago when Zaug ran the concession. I’m not in love with the new format, as you used to be able to count on getting the same food everywhere within the grounds. It wasn’t great, but it was predictable. Now every stand has different food. Some of it’s good. But I found that the Papa Johns was often out of pizza, the Buca di Beppo was quite slow, and the lines were fairly long (there were only half as many concessions as in 2012)… and I never knew what would be available in each section of the airport. Oh well. I got the carnitas tacos, which weren’t bad. After lunch we headed over the runway 27 to watch landings. The winds got up later in the day, and there were some spirited gusts causing trouble, especially for the tailwheels… we saw a 170 ground loop trying to get to the grass, but luckily he didn’t scrape anything. Later the Velocity crowd at 10th and Elm invited us over for dinner. We had nice steaks and burgers, and hung out until night fall, at which point it was so freaking cold we rushed back to the dorms.

The Brainards, Bill Mulrooney, and Reiff, VOBA chief

Elizabeth and Melissa

and Mark

Reiff does his “Tube Man” imitation

at 10th and Elm, tired, for dinner.

The Velocity crew

Our gold-winged-want-a-Velocitite…

It’s THIS way!

I have a secret…


Eagle One, where are you?


Monday July 28th 2014

We spent most of the morning Monday sitting with the airplane and talking to folks, and Andy was able to fly in, but he ended up parking way in the back near the homebuilt camping. We went to Buca for Italian for lunch with the Riley’s and then headed into the convention vendor displays starting with the A hangar. Here we picked up some of these handy folding chairs that Mark had showed us. The fold up like a tent into a little 12″x4″x4″ bag, and weigh about 2 pounds. These are great for carrying around all day, and are much lighter than our typical lawn chairs.

We decided to grab dinner just off of the airport at Friar Tuck’s with the Rileys, so after catching a tram to the North 40, then a bus around the runway, we waited for a table. The meal was pretty good, but they were clearly struggling with the crowd. The girls flagged us a bus for the ride back to the ride back to the ride back. It really wasn’t that bad, but transportation is a bit complicated if you want to save yourself some blisters.

Talking Velocitys

Talking Velocitys

Chair sales-dude does his “Mr. Clean (TM)” (as seen on TV)

Action Shot!


Tuesday July 29th 2014

I guess I took fewer pictures as the week wore on, tough luckily Mark kept snapping away. We did more of the same, morning at the airplane answering questions, a quick lunch, and then afternoons in the hangar. We stopped by the usual suspects to talk GTN650 pricing. Everybody was pretty close, so we were pretty sure we’d go with Tim at Approach Systems (which we did eventually), since he’ll be building the harness, we want to make sure it all works together, and if he sells me it all, he’s on the hook to get it to work.

In the evening we went to the Cozy Girrrls spaghetti bash, but apparently took no pictures. The event was nice, and we got to catch up with some folks as well as talk to a nice naval aviator named Drew, but who had stopped by the airplane earlier in the day. We stayed until the storm blew in and then sought shelter in Bob Bittner’s car, who ran us to the bus stop so we could get home without getting soaked…

Dave Nelson is a bit of a wag… as evidenced by his prop tag… we actually had someone ask us about this “that guy says it’s too slow and heavy….”

The Riley’s were at their plane before we got out of the dorm, which made me sad….

There were some cold nights at Kelly’s…

Mark has us rolling…

… and rolling…

… two-fisted drinking…

I have my eye on you!

Take me to the gun show



Wednesday July 30th 2014

Lather, rinse, repeat. More hanging out at the airplane, and finish up the vendor booths. We ordered the radio. In the evening was the Velocity BBQ… we were running a bit late, and it was the first really warm day of the show. I was sweaty. I’d gotten used to not being sweaty. After the BBQ we stopped by Kelly’s again, but the night was cut short by a traffic accident that nearly crushed Mark and Nancy… and that’s only a slight exaggeration. We heard this bang/crunch, and as I watched this SUV thingie swerved in an arc, bouncing and hopping until it rolled over and stopped just outside of the patio of the barn… and then started smoking. Check please! What a buzz kill. Nobody was seriously injured, thankfully.

My ‘duck face’… if ONLY it were a SELFIE! It makes my lips look big, beautiful, and pouty like Angie’s!

Buffet line

Bill Mulrooney, Reiff Lorenz, and Randi and Chrissi – the Cozy Girrrls


Duane Swing, President of Velocity (left)


That Mark, he’s HILARIOUS!

who flew, oh Yes We DiD!

the mini wine is kicking in….


‘Ya der, eh… Jeepers, that’s a bad scratch, but we can buff it out…’

Move on to Part 2 of Airventure 2014

Posted By: Brett Ferrell
Thursday July 31st, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Categories: Blog Travel Log
Tags: 2014 Airventure Blog Fly-In Flying Oshkosh Travel

2 responses to “2014 Oshkosh Part 1”

  1. Document says:

    […] 2 – (I was about to break our hosting software if I continued Part 1 – I won’t bore you with the […]

  2. Document says:

    […] cruise of about 150 kias and just over 12 gph of fuel burn at 23 squared. Not bad. Look for the full travel posting for all of the pictures, videos, and full […]

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