It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, but Oshkosh is over for 2017, and as Mark says, only 353 days until Oshkosh…
But, this year was different, as we would be making our last trip as full owners of Victor Fox which brought of lot of various emotions. But, as I said in my last post, I do think it will serve everyone well, and as you’ll see later in this post, maybe we’ll fly her more than we expected before we left home. So… in roughly the right order…
We stayed at the UWO dorms again this year, with the Riley’s and their (and now our) friends Garrett and Kathryn, as well as Doc Rene’ (aka the most interesting man in the world…. did you know he taught ballroom dance in college? neither did I, but I’m not surprised…). The first day for us consisted of getting up mind-numbingly early not to beat the Riley’s to Oshkosh (I actually didn’t think they’d arrive on Saturday at all given the weather), but to avoid the Chicago traffic. The goal was to hit Chicago by 9 am. We just made it, in a van we rented so we could schlep everyone who flew to dinners off-airport… we may just Uber next year, but the van was actually really nice. The first time also entails a run to the Pick-n-Save for supplies!
Sunday dawns early, particularly for Mark, and for me is one of the best days of the show, which isn’t really even open yet. But I love the relaxed atmosphere as the vendors are still setting up (we spent some quality time with the Swings and helped them organize their booth a little bit), and to watch arrivals on whichever runway has a crosswind (usually 27). It’s become quite the ritual with many of the Velocity family coming out to join us. This year we had most of the usual crowd (the Rileys, with Garrett and Kathryn, the Brainards, the Lorenz’s, Kurt and his son – though we missed out on Misty, plus the Irion’s and John Youngblood, and this year Scott Swing had a couple of hours to kill before his flight back to Sebastian, so he hung out with us for awhile.
First day also involves the “Velocity Mass Arrival”… they don’t let us really fly in, in formation, so we have to do it renegade style. The Velocity booth is on the way to RWY27, so we pop in there on the way, and then settle into lawn chairs. This year was very pleasant temperature-wise, though I did manage to still burn a bit. Later in the day Elizabeth and I hooked up my “godson” (ok, not technically, but the son of one of my oldest and dearest friends, and godson is easier to say) Reagan Alley and showed him around a bit… and I started imposing on my friends to let him sit in their airplanes. He’s already soloed, so maybe he’ll fly in next year!
It often also involves a trip to Friar Tucks. Sadly, there is no evidence we were ever there. I would’ve sworn I took some pictures. More’s the pity… you haven’t lived until you’ve watched Mark eat a steak on a bun in 22.8 seconds. For reals. It’s a thing. Then back to campus for a nightcap at Kelly’s and the dorm common space for drinks with the whole gang. It might be our last year to see our barkeep Jessie, as she’s getting hitched. She says she’ll show up next year just to hang with us, but we’ll see…
Monday is the first ‘official’ day of the show. We didn’t really have EAA business to do, so the only thing on our agenda really was to get Elizabeth to her flight with Team Oracle (she does business with them, as well as some presenting at trade shows about how she uses their software on her job), and to get to our group dinner at the Fox River Brewery. Mission accomplished. Did I mention it was cool? I think Doc pulls out his wool hat at anything below 90, so I think he had on just about everything he brought with him at breakfast, and still looked cold.
Before her flight was SteveO’s… but not that SteveO. Reagan had checked out his YouTube channel before and knew who he was, but it was all new to me. His dad was cool and said he’d hang with Reagan some after his flight, but he didn’t. Too bad. I guess when you get a little acclaim it goes to your head, even in the YouTube world. But John De Gennaro, on the other had, was the real deal. When Elizabeth mentioned to him that she was a pilot he got really excited and told her that she’d get to do most of the flying and taxi out, and seem to have a really good time with her, taking her on an extended flight. You can check out the video of that here. He and Sean signed her WomenVenture shirt, and he endorsed her logbook for the flight as well as getting her the complete cockpit video. The whole Oracle team was really awesome.
The rest of the week was more of the same, we got some shirts at the Velocity booth (this year’s version is a nice material), and some goodies at the EAA Merch store for ourselves and our God-baby, Elizabeth went back to the death chamber (FAA altitude/hypoxia chamber), and then we went to the Cozy Girrrls spaghetti dinner. While there we introduced Reagan to Gary Hertzler (of the Hertzler Silver Bullet propellor), Terry Schubert (Central States honcho) and Leif Johnson and Rene’ Dugas from the Airventure Cup, as well as others. Elizabeth did much better in the Hypoxia booth this year (she’s gotten her anemia somewhat under control) and went over 4 minutes! Way to go!
It’s funny what you start to think is normal. When Andy arrived we had several Lindy winners on our row (Andy – Bronze Lindy 2014, Youngblood Workmanship 2011, and Irion Gold 2015), but then we saw this Homebuilt banner with N427VA, Mulrooney’s bird on it from the April 2010 Sport Aviation story. Very cool. We had a good meal and another great sunset at the Fox River Brewery, and the Velocity dinner was catered for the first time at the BOS Beer Moon, which was a nice change (and solved a lot of folks transportation problems as the bus runs right past there).
Sadly, the weather was driving most of our flying friends to head out on Thursday so we decided to pack up and head out that day as well.
Posted By: Brett FerrellFriday August 4th, 2017 at 7:54 PM