Oshkosh

DSCN0114Departure from Auckland was delayed by two hours due to some electrical fault and then on arrival the bags took an hour to get off the plane, as a result the 4½ hour layover at San Francisco was only just long enough to make the connection. I mistook the checkin time on the boarding pass for the departure time which only added ti the stress.

We met up with the UK party this morning, rented a car and got to New Holstien where the Cub pilots are congregating. All made a bit more difficult without a proper map - Avis give us a poor attempt at one which was mostly useless and didn't go far enough north.

After a chat with some of the pilots and making some landings we drove on a few miles and checked into the hotel in Chilton, a Best Western motel in the middle of not much and drove off for a quick explore. This resulted in little to report apart from a small micro brewery, the Calumut. Clearly the midwest has discovered beer. Last time I was here it was only dish water.DSCN0122

Back at the Best Western it has to be said that the air conditioning is loud!

Sadly one of our party has not brought his weeks ticket for the show and has lost access to the email. A problem which we can hopefully sort tomorrow.

My word it's a long way to Oshkosh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0381Dinner at the very near 7 Angels last night was deeply disappointing. Clearly 7pm is way too late to consider eating on a Saturday night in Chilton and the kitchen closes at 7:45. Actually it might have been better as the steaks were very poor. One of our party said said Americans can cook steak. Unfortunatly this lot have no idea.

Jet lag succumbed to the excellent sleeping tablets and after a breakfast of toast and a bagged omelette heated in a microwave, if indeed it was an omelette and not the burrito that you also microwave. We headed down to New Holstein to meet up with the Super Cub fly in.

Things were busy with the at the field but not having a Cub to fly ourselves in after an hour we packed up to go to Oshkosh, sort out tickets (after a minor cock up) and generally get the lie of the land.

The tickets were easily sorted by helpful volunteers but the stands were in various stages of set up, some exhibitors will clearly be working until late tonight.

I don't believe I have ever seen so many planes and campers in one place. This event is going to be HUGE.

IMG 0382The King Wok Chinese is over the road from the motel at Chilton but as it turns out it has no drinks, it's basically a take away. Back to the Chilton Inn the landlady recommended Roepes Village Inn about 5 miles away. She says that the others places are frozen pizza or burger places.

Roepes Village Inn turns out to be pretty good, certainly in comparison with the 7 Angels. They call it a "Supper Club" but essentially it's a family restaurant and very busy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0384Our first proper day at Oshkosh, the place is vast but very well organised. Took us about an hour to drive but only a few minutes to get into the car park, could be different at the weekends tho'.

We saw a tiny fraction of the things available but entered a sweepstake for a rather lovely Fairchild plane. I suspect winning would cause a problem with the IRS but I don't see much chance! Apparently the use a cement mixer - on a truck - to mix the tickets. We are still finding it hard to get a grasp on the layout as it's so large and very disorientating.

Sleeping well by resort to tablets but otherwise not so good.

What is clear is how big this show is, hundreds of planes, full on aircraft arrivals and departures and people still setting up stands and displays. There's a lot happening and all a bit bewildering

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Afterwards we dropped into the Chilton Inn for a beer and then returned for a bbq at New Holstien, it's pretty much all blokes of a certain age, very friendly and several now have our contact details :) One thing that appals us is that ine the US is seems the tax people want a third of any prize you win. Did they pay a third of the ticket price? I don't think so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 IMG 0370Again spent the day at the show and saw a presentation by Dick Rutan, brother of the aircraft designer extordinaire Bert, and the first man to fly non stop around the world. As you might expect a very interesting speaker.

I also saw a presentation about the Whitman Tailwind, a plane a friend of mine wants to build, it looks straight forward but the finish these guys get is incredible.

Cub Crafters (Carbon Cub makers) were doing demos at an airfield nearby so we took over there, we were defeated by the wind however when a huge thunderstorm approached and flying stopped for the day. I thought the wind would turn them over but not so. Anyway they bought us dinner (Cub Crafters that is) and we will come back tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll get a go too.

Anyway we then plan to have the afternoon at New Holstein tomorrow to watch the spot landing competitions.

 

 

 

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IMG 0397The weather is much better this morning and Cub Crafters are doing demo flights, sadly I didn't get a go.

Back at the show we hop on a bus to their Seaplane Base. This is very pretty and a number of seaplanes are heading in and out. Apparently flying from lake to lake is very curtailed by a pest called the "zebra mussel" and floats need to be cleaned before going into another lake.

We've purposely made this a half day and have lunch at Appleby's in Fond Du Lac an the south of lLake Winebaggo. Our server, Mary has a lot of trouble understanding us.

The STOL competition is very interesting, clearly most of the competitors have little or no idea but some of them, specifically a couple who have competed at Valdez in Alaska, know what goes into the secret sauce.

IMG 0408Overall a very pleasant evening rounded off by a Hog roast (without any obvious roast hog - it came out of a mobile kitchen) which was very good.

Above all I have tips from Ed the Valdez STOL man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0365The Super Cub flyin is over and we pop over to New Holstein to say goodby and thank them for their hospitality after which we spend the rest of the day at Oshkosh.

I attended a couple of seminars, one a loosely veiled pitch by Excellent Aviation to buy their video and excellent one by CC Milne Pocock, from S Africa on back country and mountain flying. He has some very good ideas which I need to have a go at.

I missed an iPad talk in the afternoon as a programme error sent me to a tent where they were on about camping in RV's instead.

One of the highlights of the day was the arrival of a B52 looking like a 747 on seroids. Amazing.

Today the threatened thunderstorm got us and it poured with rain for half an hour or so.
Finally we got back and had a good dinner at our old favourite - Roepes Village InnIMG 0394

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0418An early start got us to the show in time for a very good talk about Cub kit/plan options at 8:30 in the morning. The later presenter for a talk on STOL did not show up so I went to a talk on strip flying in NZ which failed to engage me as I rather felt I'd been there.

There have been several helicopters flying around all the time and we set off to get a ride in on, apparently for $49. It seems like the only way to see the scale of the place. Sadly the queue was over an hour so I passed and left it to Roger while I went to the other side in search of the B52 we saw yeterday at the large aircraft static display. I could not find this despite a long bus ride and walk so somewhat dejectedly I walked back. Given the size of the thing I can only conclude it had left!

The consolation prize was to be a flight in the Ford Trimotor later in the afternoon which I booke for 4pm.

By coincidence I sat down for lunch with an American Airlines pilot we met in New Holstein and afterwards watched the air show for an hour or so. (some more rain but this did not seem to effect the proceedings much except that the Tri Motor got cancelled because of the delay to the airshow - I got a refund.IMG 0404

The EAA had a dinner and drinks session for International visitors which, once we found it - not so easy - was so loud you could not hear a thing.

We left before the speeches and had a pint back at Roepke's Village Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0423Today was much busier with traffic backed up for 30-40 minutes to get in but we had decided to only hit the EAA Museum for the morning then go out to see Lake Michigan.

On our walk from the car park a man, Jim, gave us a lift in his Golf cart and then took us on a tour of the museums carpentry workshop - good equipment and a fascinating old guy. This was a highlight of the trip.

Apart from the planes the size of the Voyager cabin and how you could cope with 9 days in it is a mystery.

The afternoon found us at Manitowoc on the Lake Michgan coast where we easily found the Maritime museum and had a tour of their WWII submarine moored just outside. A bit larger than the Voyager but 80 men?

Dinner back at the Roepke's Village Inn, why change a good thing?

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IMG 0428It takes all morning and then some to drive to Chicago and then with even more difficulty we have to negotiate our way around downtown and they have a concert by someone I have never heard of and streets are closed and there are thousands of people out and about.

A brief(ish) double park to check in and dump the bags and we manage to find the Chicago Segway Tour people in the bowels of the Millennium park garage. This is a great tour although avooiding the hords proves more of a problem on a segway.

A quick bit of lunch at the very busy Gage restaurant (fantastic service btw) and we are off on our Segway. Rain does not stop play here but we are wise to this and have rain coats.

The evening takes us to the Miller Pub just down the road for the best meal of the trip (ribs) with a walk afterwards around the Millennium Park. This has the not to be missed "Cloud Gate" sculpture and other temporary exhibitions of equal stature. Impressive.IMG 0430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG 0435Our flight is scheduled for the early evening leaving us most of the day to see what we like. The lady at the Segway Tours had suggested the Art Institute opposite as being the No 1 in the USA and I wanted to see the Museum of Science and Industry as I went there over 20 years ago and was deeply impressed then.

Taxi's are reasonably priced in Chicago and we were at the Museum of Science and Industry just before it opened at 9:30. It really is a "pop" museum but there are many many interactive displays and it clearly engages young people and in fact us too. There was no way to see it in just a couple of hours but we made the most of it.

By noon we were at the Chicago Art Insitute and their huge collection of impressionist paintings. This too is a "must see". We were left feeling that Chicago is a place that would repay several days stay, Even our hotel (the Silversmith) was well appointed and located but make sure you are not at the front as the railway is just outside the door.IMG 0433

 

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