Thursday, July 30, 2009


You can forget about the B'Gosh. For one week each year, Oshkosh, Wisconsin is focused on general aviation instead of overalls.

Rich and I decided to fly in his Baron, and then Rich joined the B2Osh group, who fly and arrive at Oshkosh in formation.
I was thrilled by this development, as formation flight seemed extra cool, and it also meant that I got to fly with Derek deBastos while he trained Rich.

After his initial training, I flew the Tiger straight and level one evening so Rich could get some more formation practice in.
Once he figured out how to slow the Baron down enough to keep pace with me, it worked pretty well!

Last Friday afternoon couldn't come quickly enough, as far as I was concerned. After packing the Baron, Rich, his Dad (Sam) and I were finally en route to the B2OSH rendezvous point of Rockford, Illinois (KRFD).

We dipped South to stay clear of some towering rain clouds, and fought a decent headwind, but otherwise had an uneventful four hour Westerly run. We chocked the Baron beside the many other Beechcraft planes, and arrived just in time for the B2Osh hangar party, where we ate Mexican food and ice cream and mingled with scores of other general aviation enthusiasts.

erek deBastos was more than a little surprised to see me, and commented, "I thought you couldn't come because you had a wedding to attend?!"

Before I could respond, Rich chimed in, "Yeah, and is her fiance ever pissed."

I quickly elbowed Rich and explained to Derek that my friend had graciously allowed me to miss her wedding so I could get my pilot fix for the year.

"I like Rich's story better," Derek replied. "And I plan to repeat it."

nd so he did!!

Breakfast the next morning was quite the sight to behold. Donned in our matching t-shirts, hats and name tags, we definitely felt like part of the flight team. (Either that, or we had just been transported back to Grade 3 camp.)

After the formation flight briefing, we headed outside so Rich could pre-flight the Baron. Fortunately, we had ample time to goof around too.

Can't touch this!!


Rich learned that our Right Wingman had had mechanical problems en route to RFD, so Rich would be in a flight of two instead of three. Rich was Left Wingman, flying in Baron Element 1, which was to lead the Baron planes into Oshkosh behind the Bonanzas. I was nearly vibrating with excitement as the 120 odd planes ahead of us fired up and taxied out to the runway. FINALLY, it was our turn!

As we waited on the taxiway, Rich commented that nothing had better happen to our Lead, or we would become a formation flight of one and all of his training would be for naught. I chided his negativity, and assured him that all would be well.

We took off, and I watched in shocked disbelief as our Lead's right main gear failed to retract.

With the first GPS waypoint of our route forming a tight triangle, the planes ahead of us were nearly doubling back on top of us, and combined with our Lead's mechanical issues, it was somewhat of a hairy start. Our Lead eventually decided to abort the flight and return to his home airport. As he fell back to assume Right Wingman, it was not without a certain amount of disbelief that Rich announced, "I have the Lead."

And so, Rich led the Baron group into Oshkosh, touched down lightly, and followed the long line of planes to our campsite. (We later learned that our former Lead landed without injury, although his gear did collapse on impact.)

We got the two sleeping tents assembled, and were turning our attention to the dinner tent, when The Oshkosh Saturday Afternoon Storm hit. Sam, Rich, our neighbor, Kevin, and I struggled to hold onto the dinner tent before eventually admitting defeat and seeking shelter under the wings of the Baron to wait the storm out.

As the rains subsided, we made our way to the B2Osh pizza and margarita party. Later we met up with Rich's friend Ken, his former instructor, Rusty, and another friend of theirs for dinner at the local steak house. We hit Target quickly so I could get some warmer clothing than I had thought to pack, and retired to bed early. It had been a fun, but tiring day getting to our little home away from home!

The next morning, Sam and Rich set out to explore, while I got some document review out of the way. We rendezvoused early afternoon and struck out with our lawn chairs to sit and watch the planes arrive. It was a great afternoon.

We passed a Royal Canadian Air Force plane as we made our way back to camp, and were soon enjoying another pizza and beer party with the B2Osh group.

Rich even managed to win a door prize!

I just practiced making the planes look cool.

We soon hunkered under the B2Osh tents as The Oshkosh Sunday Afternoon Storm hit, followed by a double rainbow. (I later discovered that the storm had knocked over our dinner tent and bent most of the poles. Fortunately, Enter MacGyver and His Son and a Whole Lot of Duck Tape, and our tent narrowly missed joining the scores of others that were piled near the dumpsters on Sunday morning.)

Don't forget to click on the above video (Mum!)

After the B2Osh event, we visited with our Congressional Flying Club friends, who were conveniently parked one row over and about ten planes down from us. They had encountered some tricky weather out of Gaithersburg on Saturday, and one plane put down for mechanical problems, but all had eventually arrived safe and sound.

On Monday we were again up at 0600 ("What does the 'O' stand for? OMG it's early."), showered, and headed out to check out more planes. We started with the war planes, of course.

I like planes, but watching Sam and Rich listening to the various owners explain the finer details of their aircrafts was almost too cute to watch. Just look at them. Look how happy they are!

As the day progressed, the weather once again turned ominous and the afternoon airshow was cancelled. I was disappointed to miss the Blue Angels and Patty Wagstaff, but we spent a few hours checking out flying gadgets, clothing, and assorted paraphernalia, which was fun. Rich and I eventually found a restaurant that promised to start serving beer at 6 o'clock, where Sam joined us, and all was once again right with the world.

We left the restaurant as the skies cleared and the first beat from the Doobie Brothers was heard from across the fields. I was pleasantly surprised to recognize almost all of their songs, and Sam and I decided that a little dancing was in order, which Rich videotaped (below).

Rich and I met up with the B2Osh group after having dinner with Sam, and stayed up far later than a 0600 start makes wise.

But you party with the boys, you get up with the men, eh?

Tuesday was a crazy busy day, starting with birthday cake for Rich at the CFC campsite.

We then headed over to the church chapel and admired the aviation themed stained glass windows.

Afterwards, we high-tailed it to Hangar A, as I had volunteered Rich and myself to assist Lynda Meeks at her Girls With Wings booth for a couple hours. I lured in men and pitched the organization and tried to make a sale, while Rich put tattoos on any number of blushing teenagers. Of course, I claimed the privilege of putting on Sam's tattoo for myself.

As Sam, Rich and I departed our lunch table that day, I suddenly realized I did not have my telephoto camera with me. I had left it in the John, of all places, before lunch.

As we checked in with various officiates, I had to remind myself of the scene from the movie, A League of Their Own, where Tom Hanks shouts at a female baseball player who is starting to cry, "There's no crying in baseball!"

The financial sting was bad, but it was the thought of all my pictures from Oshkosh being lost that really had me on the verge of tears. Rich dashed off to check the far lost and found, while Sam and I made our way to the closer one. Then, a horseshoe fell from my, er, pocket, and my cell phone rang. An officiate announced that it was my lucky day, and that he had my camera.

Rich caught up with us at Hangar B and informed me that he had bought me a present so I would always remember what I had done. I could tell by the look on his face that he was up to no good. Note the writing on my tank top in the below picture.

Ribbing done, at least for the time being, we headed out to watch the afternoon airshow.

It was an impressive show, and made me want to get back into my aerobatic training with Adam. There is clearly much more to learn!!

We packed up camp as quickly as we could after the airshow ended, and all too soon we were following the officials' flags and tower cleared us for take-off. As we climbed out, we said adieu to all the pilots and planes still on the ground.

None of us were ready to leave, but we had had a truly amazing four day adventure.

And naturally, we have already begun planning next year's trip.


At July 31, 2009 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Greg said...

What a great trip, and great photos, too! Congrats on becoming a fully indoctrinated pilot!

At July 31, 2009 at 1:45 PM , Anonymous annemcmaster said...

Believe me, OshKosh will never mean overalls again! What a wonderful adventure! The photos are truly marvellous; amazing planes and such happy faces! Thank you for letting us share it all!

At July 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Great pics... and cool video. I put together a little video too. Check it out at

At August 8, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Anonymous sam fenati said...

Great blog Amy! Truly a great Oshkosh trip with you and Rich, our CFC friends and new Bonanza Society friends and being among all those people who love aviation. Loved the people, planes and parties.

At August 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Here is my feeble attempt to document the B2Osh 2009 event.


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