AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 – Day 1 – Part 2

This is a regular blog post. Looking for show notes or show audio? Please check out the other posts.

This shot isn’t particularly well-composed or in focus, but I think I like it. The Harrier demo is usually among the loudest at AirVenture. Here it is hovering in front of the crowd and there’s this guy with his fingers in his ears. Okay, maybe I’ve blown out my ears with too much rock and roll, but I come here for the noise. Maybe it’s that this guy visually tells the story and gives the photo the noise element that the visual aspect can’t. Anyway, I like it.

I’ve seen Gene Soucy three or four times and, much as I continue to expect that some other aircraft is going to thrill me more, Gene’s ShowCat is just phenomenal every time. I saw him perform at Battle Creek in 2006 with a 1,000-foot ceiling – one of the few acts that could or did go up that day. Flying his heart out in a machine that made really wonderful noises and that is featured on the “Shut Up and Listen to the Airplanes” episode.

I also love that he turns toward the crowd to give you angles like the ones in these pictures. And either his smoke generator is oversized or he’s flying more slowly. Either way, his smoke trail is really thick and, in good light like we had today, it’s really dramatic.

That’s Theresa Stokes on the wing. I’m not fan of wing walking. I get the willies watching someone get out there and do something that depends for the thrill on the danger of the activity. I love to watch flying because it’s beautiful and graceful and can be done safely with the right precautions. I don’t think there’s anything in the pose or anything else in wing walking that adds much to the flying. I guess the defiant gesture in the shot here is pretty dramatic . . . I’m torn.

Can I say this without anyone thinking that I’m beating up on Theresa (or Gene)? I’m not. I met Theresa two years ago and she’s really together and is very good at what she does. And she’s an accomplished visual artist, too. And wing walking is a time-honored barnstorming tradition. But wing walking just isn’t my cup of tea. Doesn’t mean I won’t have the camera out and ready whenever she’s on the wing. And doesn’t mean that I’ll never get it. Just trying to reconcile what seems to be heresy when I actually type it.

More when I can get out on the net again. Connectivity here is really awful. Haven’t been able to get on the WiFi since I’ve been here. And haven’t talked to anyone who has.

And AT&T connectivity for wireless web is awful during the day. Couldn’t even tweet for most of the day, much less check e-mail. Kent suggested that it’s all of those iPhone users who had to take the AT&T service and who then descended on Oshkosh. I don’t know. I was a Spring customer last year, but didn’t depend as much on Internet access on my prior Blackberry device.

Anyway, it’s a little frustrating to be here with all kinds of content oozing from every crevice of the grounds and not be able to get any of it out without really working at it. I guess that, if you see these posts, it’ll mean that there’s at least some means by which to connect.

More later!

Follow me on Twitter as StephenForce!

And shoot me a friend request on! Beta invitations are available from I’ve already set up groups that address some of the things that you guys tell me you like best about the show, including Gooney Birds and Aviator Musicians, but it’s always better when you guys add your own thoughts, pictures, tips, and other content. Be a part of the rising tide that will give pilots and other aviation enthusiasts a genuine and authoritative community designed by pilots for pilots!

About Steve Tupper

Stephen Force is the superhero alter ego of mild-mannered tech and aviation lawyer, commercial pilot (glider, with private privileges in ASEL, ASES, AMEL, IA, and DC-3 (SIC) type-rated), and Civil Air Patrol lieutenant colonel Steve Tupper. Steve writes, records, and brings you the inside story about everything that really matters in aviation. He's flown with the USAF Thunderbirds, he's and airshow performer and air boss, and he's one of only five pilots ever to earn a FAST card in the glider category. Follow Steve's ongoing quest to do all that is cool in aviation at or on Twitter as @StephenForce.

Speak Your Mind