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On the Road to Oshkosh

By Dan Grunloh, Editor - Light Plane World, EAA 173888

Dan Grunloh

If you are among the lucky people to be at AirVenture this year, look around the crowd. Imagine all those people “on the road” to Oshkosh, by land and air, all at the same time. We know what it feels like to see more and more airplanes in the air and on trailers as we approach Oshkosh. This year we expect quite a few special visitors and long distance light plane pilots to drop by, and some will share their experiences in the forum tent. 

Meet Arty Trost, who plans to fly from Oregon to Oshkosh in an open-cockpit Talon. Read about her planned flight here in the May 2011 issue of Light Plane World. Arty has scheduled a session in the ultralight forum tent to share her photos and experiences from this and other long distance flights. To learn more, check out her forum listing.

Long distance flying is a theme this year with talks by Walt Snyder, who has crossed America four times in an N-numbered Quicksilver. Walt is no neophyte to aviation and he shows what can be accomplished with proper planning. Read “600 hours on a porch swing,” about his flight to AirVenture in 2009, and check his forum listing for the times for his talk titled “Quicksilver Over America.” If you are a trike pilot don’t miss Mark Poliak talking about how to plan and pack a trike for long distance flights. It’s best to simply go directly to this complete ultralight forum tent schedule and see them all.

Other expected distant arrivals include a covey of Revo trikes coming from Zephyrhills, Florida. They will also stop in at Trikefest July 22-24 at Cushing Field southwest of Chicago for what has become the largest trike gathering in the U.S. The pre-Oshkosh activities culminate with a group flight to AirVenture on Sunday afternoon. No catalog of long distance flyers is complete without mentioning Mark Beierle of Santa Margarita, California, who has been flying examples of his designs to Oshkosh and to Lakeland, Florida, for as long as many of us can remember. See Earthstar Aviation and read an archive article about a 1995 flight in the June 2011 issue of Light Plane World. Mark will fly to AirVenture 2011 by internal combustion power, but he is coming to share his experiences and feelings about flying with electricity. He is flying up to one hour duration with his current design and seems to love it. Don’t miss his talk, “Electric Flight Is Here and Affordable.”

This is all inside the forum tent. Outside we have more. Fixed-wings, trikes, hot-air balloons, powered parachutes, gyroplanes, a collection of Quicksilvers, flying sessions throughout the day, and a team of volunteers who want to get you excited about aviation. It’s no wonder so many people are on the road to Oshkosh. If you can’t make it this time, keep trying.

If flying into the ultralight strip, don’t read only Page 19 of the AirVenture arrival 2011 NOTAM that describes how to fly into the ultralight area. Also peruse the other sections so you know what is going on at other airports and with other arrival procedures. Just a few years ago a group of light plane pilots encountered tailwinds and arrived too early in the afternoon to land because the afternoon air show was still in progress. The leader checked his sectional and noted a nearby airport, Fond du Lac, was uncontrolled, so the group landed there only to be greeted by vehicles with flashing lights. They were told to relax as they were not the first to land there unaware the airport has a temporary tower while the NOTAM is in place. It was just another bump on the road to Oshkosh.

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