are all sorts of interesting routes to take to Oshkosh. Jack
Allison, who is from Sacramento, California, flew by airliner to
Chicago, where he met up with a friend and they came the rest of the
way in a rented 172.
usually flies an Arrow out of Lincoln Regional Airport near
Sacramento. Heís flown the Arrow all the way to Oshkosh for the
past three years.
is Jackís sixth visit to AirVenture. Like so many, the appeal of
Oshkosh is not just watching the planes but meeting up with new and
like just sitting out here watching airplanes come and go. Thereís
a bunch of friends that weíve met over the years that we usually
hook up with."
also likes the chance to meet other aviation people who he normally
only sees from afar. Jack flies near Beale Air Force Base, and you
often share the skies with some of that big iron.
spitting distance from the guys with the U-2 at Beale," says
Jack. "In fact I talked to them yesterday and I said, ĎI fly
through your airspace all the time.í"
in the final analysis, the Oshkosh experience is about being with
just-plain folks, who share your love for flying.
think itís the chance just to hang out. Everybody you talk to,
especially out here in the North 40, everybody flew in from
different areas, and you never know who youíre gonna camp near.
just living and breathing aviation for the week. Iíll connect with
friends that Iíve met six years ago here on the field that Iíve
established friendships with, people from Wisconsin, from Iowa, all
over. Itís a neat chance to just sit and hang out with people and
Caughron has been coming to the fly-in for five years,
but this is the first time heís flown here in his own plane.
flew here from his home field of Flying Cloud Airport in
brought my instructor with me just to make sure I didnít screw-up.
And I was so focused on the plane in front of me, and maintaining my
altitude, I didnít know I was a half mile from Wittman. Suddenly
he goes, Rob, look out your right window. And Iím like, whoa!
There it is! Wow. Iím actually doing this."
was great; I got a compliment from tower. I landed right on the dot,
he goes, ĎHey, orange high wing, good job on the dot.í I was
flew two hours to Merrill, Wisconsin, on the day before they arrived
here. Merrill is one of Robís favorite flying destinations.
a wonderful place to come through here. Itís one of my weekend
hops. Itís got a beautiful long strip on it. They have lots of
ultralights. I get to go up with all the other little planes. They
have fly-ins. Itís fantastic."
they made the 45-minute hop to OSH in the morning.
loves all the people he meets at AirVenture.
year I met a CFI, weíre great friends now. Heís in Florida. A
couple of years before that I met a gentleman from Hawaii. It just
so happens that we were going to Hawaii. I hooked up with him. I
said, hey, weíre here. He said, címon, letís go flying. We got
a 172 and went island hopping."
been flying for six years and is now working on his instrument
plane is a 1974 C-150 Aerobat. He just got it this past March. He
found it in Flint Michigan, and the flight home with it was his
first adventure in the plane.
flew every piece of weather we could, flying back to Minneapolis.
Nine-and-one-half hours of flight time. We went through snow, rain,
fog, haze, minimum visibility, Class G airspace."
got to one point, halfway through Wisconsin, where thereís not a
light bulb to be seen. And all of a sudden he flips the landing
light on, and all I see is blinding snow. I said, ĎBrian, please,
just shut that off.í"
only been four months, but he already has strong feelings for his
keep getting so attached to it. Itís like my little baby. I have a
hard time seeing myself ever letting go of it. Everyone keeps
telling me itís just a tool. But I donít know; I love this
who love their airplanes are not in short supply at Wittman Field
for this magical week each year. Whether we own, or rent, or merely
stand and gaze longingly, we all share this love of flight. We
gather here each summer to renew old friendships and make new ones.
Weíre here to learn and question and brag and even lie a little.
But itís all among friends. Most of us are heading out now,
heading home. But weíll be back, we wouldnít miss it.
See you all next