EAA Oshkosh 2012: Out and about at AirVenture

When I refer to Mr. T as a “walking aviation encyclopedia,” I mean it. The man can walk up to nearly any aircraft and discuss its type, manufacturer, engine, purpose, capabilities and, especially when rare, its provenance. This ability harkens back to his boyhood years spent categorizing all of these aviation details in handwritten and then typed form. Yes, I have the aged binder paper sheets to prove it (thank you, M-5!).

During this year’s trip to Oshkosh, T decided to put me through my paces with a crash course in aircraft identification. I’ve been infatuated with aviation, especially warbirds(!), since we started hanging out (oh wow) eight years ago but I can’t seem to keep all of the details straight. As we walked the rows and rows of planes, and watched dozens of them fly overhead, he quizzed me. Mostly I failed miserably, mixing up my bombers and carriers and fighters, but I can distinguish with surety the B-17 and B-29, as well as the T-6 and T-28. So there. Not quite an encyclopedia, but I’ll get there. Maybe. Until then, more photos!

C-46 Commando. While visiting Tinker Belle, I began my aircraft identification training. The “C” stands for cargo and this type of airplane was used to haul goods and people during the war.
B-17 Flying Fortress flying over. No big deal. The B-17 has R-1820 engines, same as the DC-3 and the T-28. (I am very proud to have written that from memory. I just hope it isn’t wrong!)
B-26 Invader. Now T explained that sometimes this is called an A-26, it just depends.
B-25 Mitchell and flight crew. The lady in the middle is the pilot.
During our arrival into Oshkosh, one of the planes had an engine failure and had to pull out of the formation. (Yeah, not scary at all…) With skill and precision, our photo ship pilot, Axel, pulled in from nearby and with just minutes before going over show center, completed the formation. (For reference, Mr. T and I flew just to the right of Axel’s “me” circle in the 5-across line abreast formation.)
Some spectacular paint jobs around Oshkosh.
On Monday, T and the 40-ship formation pilots (most of them, anyway) few in the day’s showcase along with a parade of most the types of RV aircraft.
Van’s unveiled a new aircraft, the RV-14, and also brought the RV-1 (the yellow one on the right) to donate to the EAA museum.
Love seeing aircraft overhead all day long.
Fightertown, where the big warbirds live. Admittedly one of my favorite areas of the airport, and not just because there’s shade and soft-serve.
The C-17 looked massive until the C-5 showed up a few days later.
We “enjoyed” strange weather… Searing 100 degree days with 90% humidity, and one day, a hurricane-esque storm that drenched most everyone and flipped over several aircraft. (Boo!)
I always enjoy the nose art.
Pilot M&M!
Mr. T and the object of his dreams, the P-51 Mustang.
I’m partial to the P-40 myself. I like an airplane with bite. (ha!)
Most all of the showcase aircraft are personal airplanes brought by volunteer pilots. Very few folks in the show make their living doing airshows.
On this day, we hid out under a wing near the flight line trying to escape oppressive sun rays. One thing I do not miss about Midwest living? Feeling so sticky all the time!
Everyday at Oshkosh, and for reasons I do not understand, people jump out of perfectly good airplanes. SOME of them (this year anyway) in squirrel suits. I don’t think so!
B-17 overhead.
EAA maintains one of the largest aviation museums in the world. Nearby are hangars with vintage biplanes and engines., as well as “KidVenture,” an activity area dedicated to small ones.
Right about here, T began teaching me about engines and the differences between radials, V-12 and jet engines.
Nose of a C-47 (military version of the DC-3).
If you look carefully, you can just see the nose art outline.
On display in the museum, a collection of nose art and jacket art.
Word to the wise: The museum is one of the few places you can get both air conditioning and toilets that flush in all of AirVenture.
Perhaps the most unique airplane I’ve ever seen… the Orbis flying eye hospital! This DC-10 carries an onboard classroom, simulation training center and surgery suite! A medical team uses it to travel around the world and provide medical care and training to people in need.
For the record, the doctors don’t operate while the plane is flying. (I know that seems obvious, but I heard several people ask the staffers.)
A Pitts Model 12 turned into a Mullicoupe (thank you T). After viewing the immaculate paint job and interior (including birds-eye maple floors), I understood why it stood in a prominent place on campus.
Hiding out under a wing to beat the heat.
Although we did different activities each day–touring the museum, bumming around the vendor exhibits, gawking at the vintage planes, listening to forum presentations, etc.–our days also featured a nice routine. Every afternoon around 3, we’d grab a cool drink or (heaven sent) ice cream cone and settle in to watch the showcase of warbirds and formations.
Happiness, thou art an ice cream cone.
T-34s. Now, I know how to differentiate between T-6s and T-28s pretty easily, but I get hung up on these.
Part of our daily routine also included meeting at “SOS” outside of the AirVenture grounds and figuring out dinner plans.
Some folks enjoy the bikini bartenders in the beer tent. Yours truly favors the hot roasted corn.
Wouldn’t be a trip to Oshkosh without a visit to Wendt’s for a pile of perch.
Lake Winnebago.
Goose and Cougar, friends from T’s formation flying.
Despite the lovely overcast, it was hotter than blazes that day.
THIS is what I’m talking about when I say I can’t find a vegetable in Oshkosh at least one that isn’t fried, covered in cheese, or fried AND covered in cheese. Lord.
You order your pile of perch by the inch. For the record, Kerry did not finish his TEN inches of perch.
Pretty sunsets in Oshkosh.


P.S. All photos by yours truly unless otherwise noted.

– The 40-ship Vans RV arrival
– Things you must know about EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh
– EAA Oshkosh 2012: The good, the airsick, the awesome
– Things I miss about EAA Oshkosh
– 2010 Oshkosh B’gosh! part 1
– 2010 Oshkosh B’gosh! part 2
– 2010 Oshkosh B’gosh! part 3
– 2010 Oshkosh B’gosh! part 4
– 2010 Oshkosh B’gosh! part 5

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