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Cessnas Arrive in Mass at AirVenture for 10th Anniversary Flight

A record 74 Cessnas arrived at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh on Saturday, marking the 10th anniversary of the C2O formation flight.

By Barbara A. Schmitz

  • Cessnas arrive in mass
    Flightline Operations directs aircraft during the Cessna mass arrival.
  • Cessnas arrive in mass
    Flightline Operations directs aircraft during the Cessna mass arrival.
July 19, 2015 - Thunderstorms delayed the Cessna mass arrival to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh on Saturday, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the visitors once they touched down.

A record 74 Cessnas traveled from Juneau, Wisconsin, to Oshkosh for the C2O flight.

Organizers Craig Chipley, Gil Velez, and Rodney Swanson said the 2015 trip was the 10th anniversary for the group, which began out of a desire for people to park together on the AirVenture grounds. “At Oshkosh, if you want to park together, you have to come together,” Velez said. “It’s like a family reunion, but every year your family grows.”

Velez said the number of planes and people participating in the formation flight continues to grow steadily. In 2014, 54 Cessnas took part in the flight.

This year, the group held 14 to 18 training clinics throughout the country, giving people a chance to train and practice for the formation flight. People participating represented 30 states and two Canadian provinces, he said.

Swanson, of Dothan, Alabama, said the mass arrival allows people to come together as a group, as well as polish their flying skills. “I’ve gained friends because of this,” he said. “I’ve been to 40 or 50 air shows, and after a while, they lose their newness. But when you share it with friends or with children, it’s refreshing.”

Ted Beumer, of Pensacola, Florida, agreed. While he said he enjoys the EAA air show, he said he loves the camaraderie of the people involved in C2O. He admitted he first joined the group because he was a little uneasy about flying in to Oshkosh on his own. “The first time I saw the NOTAM it was as big as a book. I liked the idea of me just following someone in…”

But as he quickly made friends at the formation clinics, it’s been the friends that keep him coming back each year.

There is plenty of time for camaraderie with group meals planned most nights, and daily breakfasts made by the members themselves, Velez said.

John Culp, of Denton, Texas, is a first-year pilot and decided to give his father a ticket to AirVenture as a Christmas present. “He’s been a pilot most of his life; I figured it would be great to have some father/son time.”

While his father, Charles, flew in to Oshkosh this year, John said he already told his dad that they will be back next year. “And I want to be the one who lands the plane at Oshkosh next time.”


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