AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 – Day 1 – Part 1

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First full day at OSH! Every kind of people and every kind of airplane! I keep forgetting how much I love this place. I gathered and submitted three pieces for EAA Radio. One was a Dan Gryder DC-3 student talking about his type rating trip from Griffin, Georgia to Oshkosh and back. Then I got LtCol Frank Alvarez, a KC-135 driver from the Wisconsin ANG. Lastly, although it took more then four hours to coordinate, I got Bob Cardin, the man behind the extraction of Glacier Girl from her icy home of 50 years.

Cole spent most of the day taking pictures of Koala, his stuffed koala bear buddy, in nearly every aircraft on the field. It made for some slow going around the field, but he’s very into his project and I think it’s cool that he’s taking it so seriously. Here he is under a Husky floatplane doing a self-portrait.

I found out that Canon will lend you these huge lenses to go shoot the airshow. And here I thought that this guy was just making up for something. Alas, I’m a Nikon guy, mainly because that’s what Costco was pushing the week that I decided that I needed more than just a point-and-shoot for the show. It seems that about one in 50 of my shots with the 200mm lens is usable. The auto-focus just doesn’t want to lock onto airplanes, so I’m focusing manually. And I still blur the overwhelming majority of them. Not going to stop me from taking pictures, though.

Here’s a nice one that did work out. Not sure, but the rumor is that Lucas sponsors him.

I love the Super Decathlon. It’s close to the Citabria that I fly these days and it’s just so cool to see guys up there wringing gorgeous aerobatics out of the limited energy that you get with the engines in these things. There’s nothing at all wrong with hyper-tweaked engines with composite airframes, but I really appreciate what goes into these performances by airplanes that you might actually be able to rent and fly at your own local airport. Sutton Aviation has a Super-D and I’m going to get up in that as soon as Barry thinks I’m ready. The thrill here is that this is something that I can do without hitting the lottery or getting sponsors or anything else ridiculous. (And so can you!)

I had Airspeed Aerobatic Team tee shirts made up a few months ago, mostly as a lark. I actually felt a little disingenuous making them up because I wasn’t really an aerobatic enthusiast at the time. But after the July 8 session in the Citabria, I really think I like aerobatics. It gets the goosebumps going again. At the very least, you should find a qualified instructor and certified airplane and go do some upset recovery and spin training. And get a loop or two in just for fun. You might find that you like it. You may even find it addictive.

I thought that all of that “I need my vitamin gee” stuff was bravado and hangar posing. But it’s not. Not most of it, anyway. It’s genuinely wonderful stuff. Is there no end to the wonder of flying? Are we not the luckiest generation in history?

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!

You Can Fly Ace!

This is a regular blog post. Show notes and links to audio are in other entries.

You can fly Ace! Ace is the iconic mascot of the soon-to-launch, a social media site for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. Facebook and MySpace too clunky and non-pilot-oriented for you? You need to get on! When’s the last time you saw a space for type ratings in a social media profile? That and a lot more at has laminated Ace to the cover of his very own logbook and will be casting him to the winds at AirVenture Oshkosh this week. Pilots take Ace up for a flight, log the flight in Ace’s logbook, and then pass him along to another pilot. The idea is to have Ace flown in as many different aircraft, by as many people, and under as many different circumstances, as possible. And, under the right circumstances, you can give Ace an endorsement (if you’re a CFI/CFII/MEI, etc. and he has the requisite experience) or even a rating (if he accompanies you on your checkride). See more details in the inside cover of his logbook above.

Look for Ace in your neck of the woods. And, if you fly him, please sign the logbook and then pass Ace on as quickly as possible! And then put an entry in the “Where’s Ace?” group at so they can track him.

Want an invite to the beta? E-mail

Oshkosh Fever Nearing Peak

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Oshkosh fever is nearing peak. I hit Target to pick up the requisite foodstuffs and Papa Joe’s for the beer (two kinds of Leinie’s and a six of Sam Adams Boston Lager for starters). I took the sleeping bags to the Birmingham Laundromat to wash and dry them and I cleaned out the car in the Laundromat parking lot.

New tent, a new cot for Cole, and a pile of new equipment. And I haven’t even assembled the musical instruments that will be going with us.

Dan Gryder asked me to sit in on mando for the Tuesday night DC-3 bluegrass jam. Cole and I were going to leave Tuesday night, get a hotel in Waukegan, and, long story short, arrive at OSH Wednesday morning. Instead, in order to make the show, I think we’re going to launch around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday with the idea being to arrive at OSH before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Pounding out the work stuff to make sure that I can do that in good conscience.

Follow me on Twitter as StephenForce. I’ll be sending out the GPS coordinates for Firebase Airspeed as soon as we get settled. We’re camping with the EAA Radio folks.

See you there!

Oshkosh Fever Begins to Build

This is a regular blog post. Please see the other entries if you’re looking for show notes or interview audio.

93 days to Oshkosh! Am I obsessing early?

I picked up the new hardware for this year’s Firebase Airspeed a few weeks ago at Costco and the weather was nice enough this weekend that we set it up and slept in it last night. Partially to figure out how the tent goes together, but also to get Cole in the tent and make sure that he’s accustomed to sleeping there before we hit Camp Scholler in earnest.

We also cooked out. Velveeta Mac and Cheese – the official Airspeed meal of choice for Oshkosh.

We’ll podcast and post our GPS coordinates once we get settled in and will be delighted to see any visitors who decide to amble by.

We’re planning on Wednesday through Saturday again this year, but might expand it a little one way or the other. I’ve been in contact with EAA Radio and might be doing some volunteer work for them, both in pre-production and onsite during the event. It comes down to what Fareed and his crew need and what I can provide. Watch this space!

A Mooney, Some Camping Gear, a Pillow, and a Shopping Bag Full of Charts – Going Places with Ron Klutts

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Ron Klutts and I have carried on a correspondence for more than a year and we finally met in person at AirVenture Oshkosh this summer. Ron and a friend had flown all the way from Palo Alto and had made a two-week ossyssey out of the OSH trip.

So when I thought about doing a show on going places (far-away places) Ron naturally came to mind. In this episode, we talk about long-distance GA flying. How to plan, what to take, how to pack, and other lessons learned from two nearly trans-continental trips.

Also check out Ron’s appearance on The Pilot’s Flight PodLog – Episode 9.

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