I awoke fairly early this morning, looked out the tent and saw this...
After breakfast, I went out and talked to some of the people.
Nate Gifford, from Worthington, Mass., and he flies for Continental. He and a couple of friends from the Berkshires (who didn't want to be identified but we exchanged some Berkshire County connections) drove all night from Massachusetts, and pulled into line at 5:30 this morning.
Nate was in pretty good spirits; he's been coming here since the '80s and didn't seem to mind waiting in line much. His colleagues are on their first trip to Oshkosh.
This gentleman is from my neck of the woods -- Oakdale, Minnesota. Kirk Martenson is ex-Army where he flew helicopters and he's looking forward to evaluating some of the kit helicopters. He says EAA could've done a better job of posting signs that say "go home."
As he understands it, EAA is going to organize a caravan to the parking lot at at the University of Wisconsin Duluth, where they'll drop their trailers. What happens after that, I don't know, and this isn't official so don't quote me.
From looking at some of the shopping center parking lots, however, it appears that EAA is trying to line up space for these people to put up shop. Various parking lots along S. Koeller Ave -- the frontage road -- now sport mini-neighborhoods.
This group is from St. Louis, the president and vice president of EAA Chapter 32 in St. Louis (on the right). David Doherty and his son, William Doherty. David proudly points out he was born on the day the EAA was formed in the basement of Paul Poberezny's Wisconsin home.
The people on the left are all from Australia. Dave Looten and Rae Percival are here for his 60th birthday. They've been traveling in the states for seven weeks and are now taking in Oshkosh and all its, at least for now, inaction.
I asked David -- Aussie David -- for his favorite flying experience and he reports that it came just a few weeks ago when he flew over the desert in Australia and found everything to be green, which apparently rarely happens. Everything's green in Wisconsin, too. I told him if he got tired of making camp on a frontage road, the biggest ball of twine in the world is but a few hours away. He seemed appropriately unimpressed.
Last night, I had dinner with Darwin Barrie, and Glenn and Michael Brasch, and the pal I know only as "Tom the Camp Locator Shack Guy," and Jeff Point, who is the master parker of RV aircraft. Jeff says the "phrase that pays" this week is, "I've never seen anything like this before," and describes the situation as a "Biblical flood." He says at this point, organizers are just "making it up as we go." There's no long-term plan, because people are just trying to figure out what to do in the short term.
They can't even park cars for people coming in today (although AirVenture officially opens tomorrow) because the fields they use for the parking lot are too wet.
EAA officials have fanned out around Camp Scholler, telling people they can't drive their cars once they set up camp; they have to walk the half mile or so to a shower or the store or wherever. The cars are simply carving up the field.
That wouldn't be such a bad thing if the camp shuttle buses were running, but I haven't seen them yet and if they are running, they're going to have a difficult time because of all the big land yachts parked along the road.
And the owners of those rigs aren't sacrificing much. Even though people need to use the road, those that have living rooms that extend out the side, are deploying them, carving up more of the road. Thanks for taking one for the team, rich folks. Stay classy.
I did hear this morning from my favorite vendors -- Jerry Hansen and the gang from Trio Avionics, who were driving in to set up their shop. Hopefully, we'll be able to get together for dinner as we always try to do.
My friend, Warren Starkebaum, is due to fly over from Crystal Airport (Minneapolis) today. I left him a message saying "you don't want to be here."
Normally on Sunday, one can pass the time pulling up a chair by the runway and watching the mass arrivals. But there are no mass arrivals because there's simply no place to park them. There will be soon, Jeff hopes, but there are going to be large sections that simply won't hold the weight of airplanes this week.
The big fly-in of DC-3s has been canceled. They take up too much parking space on the ramp, space that has to be reserved for smaller planes.
(Click on the images to see larger ones and to see what's cut off from the smaller ones posted here.)