Airventure is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. This year was no exception. I walked over 60 miles in 7 days. Every muscle in my body is sore. Even my eyelashes are exhausted. But it was so worth it! Here are just a few of the many memorable moments from the past week.
Visit to the upper deck of the UPS 747-8
The 747-8 has long been one of my favorite airplanes. Several fly into the cargo airport every week, but somehow I’ve never been able to see one up close… until now. UPS brought one of their brand-new 747s to Osh. Mike from the Flying and Life podcast interviewed the captain, after which we were not only able to tour the cargo area, but we were allowed to visit the upper deck, including the cockpit! Yeah, I freaked out a little. OK, a lot. I couldn’t help it – after all, she’s THE QUEEN!
Proficiency Center and Redbird Sim visit
Members of the media were given special access to the Pilot Proficiency Center on Thursday morning. I had never been in there before and was eager to check it out. I was impressed by the variety of simulators that were available, especially the crosswind simulator which my friend Glen was using when we arrived. Each of the pilots in my group were assigned to different instructors and selected different scenarios to try. As a non-pilot I really enjoyed watching them. I found I understood more than I thought I did about what the different gauges and readouts are for.
The Airventure 5K
I am not a runner. The only time you’ll catch me running is if there’s a plane flying over that I really want to see. Or if I’m being chased. Yet somehow I found myself signing up for the Airventure 5K. Needless to say, I walked. So did Pilot Pip and Captain Al from the Plane Safety Podcast. Not only that, we detoured for donuts mid-race. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t finish last. We’ll have to try harder next time! (I did, however, manage to be the slowest finisher in my age group.)
Planes, planes and more planes
EAA does a wonderful job of including all aspects of aviation at Airventure. From hot air balloons to model airplanes to drones – you can find them all at Osh. But let’s face it – airplanes are the stars of the show. And this year there was an exceptional number of amazing planes to see, including surprise visits from the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels. Even one of the Canadian Snowbirds stopped by. It is impossible to choose a favorite air show performer, but the A-10 demo team is near the top of my list.
This really just scratches the surface of my Airventure experience this year. I could write thousands of words and still not cover all the things I got to see and do. However, there was one Osh moment so special that it deserves a post all its own. I won’t spoil the surprise but let’s just say it involves good friends, an airplane and the words: “Rock your wings.” Details coming soon – stay tuned!