Well, the plan worked perfectly. Sort of. I have been to Oshkosh several times. I used to go there as a kid with my family. That is where my Dad fell in love with the Christen Eagle II prompting the several years of aircraft building that soon followed. Well, Oshkosh (Airventure for all the new folks) 2016 was one for the books. I flew my Christen Eagle there (first time flying into OSH) and parked at IAC, very different from the RV10 area. It was so cool doing the RIPON/FISKE approach and the ever popular “Rock your wings!”
My wife, her first time to Oshkosh, had a little different arrival. We have an almost 5yr old daughter, Gianna, and our 13 month old son, Dominick. How bad could the July heat & humidity be for a toddler. Well, probably not the best idea, but I had to get my wife to Oshkosh for the demo flight and approval for the empanage kit. So they (my wife, kids and in-laws) drove 2 days in a 38′ RV to camp in Camp Scholler. Now for the best part, none of us have ever been in an RV. As I am typing this, I am realizing how much my wife loves me…to do this. I am forever grateful to have such an awesome wife!!! They arrived and we had an OK week beginning of the week. It had its ups and downs; Good fun, tired babies, long waits for the trams, A&W root-beer floats, awesome planes, awesome people, humidity, but hey, we are in OSHKOSH!!! With my plane!!! And the hopes of buying the next aircraft kit adventure!
So Monday afternoon we headed over to the VAN’s Aircraft Tent, all the demo flights were booked until Friday (damn, we are leaving on Thursday). But wait!! I am told that if I come first thing in the morning I would be able to get the lunch time flights for Wednesday. I did just that. In the meantime I convinced my wife to take the Sheet metal 101 class. She is really good at this.
Well, Wednesday came around and my wife had had just about enough of Oshkosh with two kids, (I did help as much as I could). So she was not in the best mood heading to the demo flight. On top of that, a huge storm was heading to OSH and planes were being tied down, tents were closed and people were running!!! I was thinking, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! Well, we went to the VAN’s tent anyway, Mike, the BEST DEMO pilot in the world came up, checked the weather and said: “Lets go.” I was so pumped. Now, my wife had to just:
- enjoy the flight,
- not get sick (she has gotten air sick every freaking time I have taken her flying)
- tolerate the HUGE storm that was heading our way.
Well, I wanted her to sit where she most likely would be 99% of the time, in the right seat. So, I actually sat in the back and let Mike do the entire demo flight. I already know the plane is amazing, I had to have my wife believe it too.
We taxied to 36R and it was pouring rain. I kept thinking; “please go, please go, please go,” we go cleared for an immediate right turn out. Mike poured the coals to it, lifed off in about 400 feet with the 25kt headwind and turned toward the lake.
Despite the wicked weather, it was a silky smooth flight. Then all of a sudden, a clearing, the sun shown through over the wavy lake below and we had a great flight. We came back and Mike made the smooothest touch down. Almost, like he knew he had to prove this to my wife. We joked on the taxi back that he would rather go flying and try to avoid the weather, than push the plane back to the tent and tie it down. When I asked how my wife enjoyed it…..ALL SMILES AND THUMBS UP!!!! She didn’t get the slightest bit nauseous and started to ask questions about the build process. SUCCESS!!!
A picture is worth a 1000 words so here is 3000