By STAN Sundance Logo KASPRZYK

FlightLog Archive

Aircraft Flown

Flying to Oshkosh - Jul 2015

Although I've been involved in flying since 1972, I had never made it to the summer aviation extravaganza at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. As I began my 2015 summer planning, I found out that our Cascade Warbirds group was planning a few cross-country flights from Seattle to Oshkosh to join the world's greatest aviation celebration, along with arranging for the access to a rental home at Oshkosh for the entire week. There was a slot in Dave Desmon's Navion, as he planned to lead a two-ship cross-country to Oshkosh with Kirstan and Vic Norris in their IAR-823. Dave offered a co-pilot slot, and I gladly accepted the chance to attend Oshkosh by flying in!

The Navion and IAR-823 stopped at Renton to pick me up on a gloriously sunny Northwest Friday in mid-July, we loaded up bags and departed from Renton northbound, turning immediately east as we started tracking I-90 eastbound. I flew right seat in Dave's Navion, with Rich Cook, a fellow Cascade Warbirds member, in the back seat. Climbing through the Snoqualmie Pass, we noticed how little of the snowpack remained, even on the highest peaks. We continued east past Ellensburg, Ephrata, Moses Lake and Spokane, with Kirstan and Vic in the IAR-823 in a relaxed trail position at our 5 o'clock. Our first fuel stop was at Coeur d'Alene, ID (KCOE), where we decided to press on to Bozeman, MT, and started hotel arrangements for our overnight in Billings, MT. After takeoff from Coeur d'Alene, we climbed into the rising terrain of the Rocky Mountains, still generally following I-90, as we encountered our first and only weather for the trip, skirting to the south of some mist and rain near Missoula, MT.

Continuing eastbound past Missoula, we crossed the broad mountain plateau west of Butte, enjoying the clearing skies and nice tailwinds en route to Bozeman, MT (KBZN) for our second fuel stop. After a short leg to Billings, we had our most interesting landing, flying into the setting sun with a stiff crosswind to the tabletop 3488-foot elevation runway at Billings (KBIL). Billings was an excellent host, with lodging at the newly updated Northern Hotel downtown, and a great steak dinner at Jake’s.

The next morning we departed eastbound in the late morning, crossing a corner of Wyoming, flying into the high plains of South Dakota, where we had an inspiring flyby of Devil's Tower and Mt Rushmore en route to a refueling stop in Rapid City (KRAP). Since the weather was gorgeous and the tailwinds were aiding our journey, we decided to press on as far as we could eastbound. After transiting the surprisingly green South Dakota expanse, we landed at a small airfield in the middle of a cornfield near St James, MN (KJYG) for refueling, enjoying the amazingly low price of $3.99/gal for 100LL Avgas.

With lots of daylight remaining, we flew on into Wisconsin, and landed at sunset at Appleton (KATW), where we picked up our rental car and drove the short distance to our rented home in Oshkosh, on the shore of Lake Winnebago. On Sunday morning, we flew a short hop to make our arrival at Oshkosh (KOSH) using the well-orchestrated Ripon/Fisk VFR arrival procedure, landing on the Blue Dot in the center of runway 27, joining the thousands of aircraft already on the ground for EAA AirVenture 2015. We parked in the Warbird area, lined up with other liaison aircraft, tied down and started to explore!

I was impressed with the thousands of parked aircraft already at Oshkosh! The week was fantastic, and I'll try to convey the impressive size, diversity and spirit of Oshkosh with a list of just a few of the aircraft and events I experienced:

Thanks to Dave Desmon and the Cascade Warbirds for coordinating this outstanding opportunity! Oshkosh AirVenture 2015 was outstanding, and I'm looking forward to returning many times in the future!