Oshkosh bound: Cross country and formation flying

A couple weeks ago Mr. T and I enjoyed our six-year wedding anniversary. Six years! And T has been delighting in telling everyone we celebrated by him dropping me at the airport at o-dark-thirty, and me flying off with another man. Ha!

At the crack of dawn that Sunday, our friend Nick and I took off in his RV-10, starting the journey to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Nick was going up a week early to volunteer (so cool!) and I had a date with the cutest toddler on the planet. After a day and change of flying, Nick dropped me north of Chicago where I enjoyed five days of auntie/fairy godmother time.

On a balmy Friday morning (balmy being the very generous word for the burning but still swamp-like humidity conditions of northeast Illinois), T whisked me away in the RV-4. A quick 30-minute flight landed us in Rock Falls where we met up with 33 other pilots for a couple days of practice, for, drum roll please, T’s AIR SHOW PERFORMANCE AT OSHKOSH!! More on that very, very soon.

In the mean time, here are some photos from the journey… from Sacramento to Utah to Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and finally, Wisconsin. And a bunch of formation practice photos in between.


Shawna and Nick in the RV-10
We launched at 5:30 a.m. (ick), in Nick’s gorgeous RV-10.
Great Salt Late
Cruising over the Great Salt Lake.
Great Salt Lake
Nick’s RV-10 has three glass panels and tons of weather information, so I got good practice correlating outside conditions with electronic reports.
Midwest landscape
Somewhere near Alliance, Kansas where we stopped for fuel.
Missouri River maybe.
Trivia: On this trip, I learned the Missouri River starts up in Western Montana and snakes 2,341 miles around the U.S. before it finally dumps into the Mississippi River somewhere in Missouri. 
Puffball clouds
If taking cloud pictures is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Mississippi in Dubuque, IA
We stopped in Dubuque, IA, a charming little town on the Mississippi River. Can’t wait to go back.
Fairy godmother time
Some of my favorite summer days were spent with this cutie playing blocks, stickers, stuffies, playdoh, cappies, mah-bles, and trains.
RV-4 and formation flight
Formation pilots making a grand entrance at Rock Falls. Mr. T’s RV-4 pictured in the foreground.
Photo ship with Jawbone and Tankerbelle.
Sadly, the official photographer couldn’t make it, so I was drafted for photo duties. SO enjoyed flying in Jawbone’s 300 horsepower “super six” as photo ship.
32 Vans RVs on the ramp
Practicing for the Vans RV-6 30th anniversary formation flight at Oshkosh.
32 RVs on the runway
32 ships ready to depart in formation at Whiteside County Airport (SQI).
Vans RVs in formation, planes
32 Vans RVs in formation over the Illinois countryside.
RVs flying in formation over airport
Plane to plane photography in an RV is TOUGH. Used black fabric to reduce glare which was oh-so fun in the swampy heat.
RVs in formation
Naturally, the weather barely cooperated. Ceilings were mostly too low for us to get a proper angle to look down on the formation.
32 planes in formation over Whiteside County airport
SO proud of this shot flying over Whiteside County (SQI) airport. The airport is run by a wonderful family–father, daughter, grandkids.
Mass formation of planes with smoke
The problem with my mere three hops as photo ship? I’m now a little bit hooked on trying to get the perfect shot. But I can’t wait for our normal air-to-air photographer to come back–Dulette, I’m just keeping your seat warm!
Formation flying over the countryside.
Gorgeous (if I do say so myself). 
Colorful home built airplanes
I love the beautiful variety of the RVs, many of which are home built airplanes.
Formation flying Rock Falls, IL
Flying over Rock Falls, IL
Vans RV-6 30th anniversary
The brilliant pilots who gathered from across the country to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Vans RV-6 airplane by Dick Van Grunsven. A TON of planning and practice went into this formation extravaganza which culminated in a mass arrival on the Sunday before AirVenture began, an exhibition flight on Tuesday, and an airshow performance Thursday (again, stay tuned!).
Formation brief.
Formation flying requires lots of planning, practice, and talking. Briefing and debriefing, and then more briefing and debriefing. And diagrams. FFI Check Pilot and West Coast Ravens pilot Bob “Nasty” Mills is standing at the front with the white envelope.
Stu "Falcon" McCurdy
Stu “Falcon” McCurdy of Falcon Flight acted as flight lead for the 34-ship formation.
33 ships in formation
En route to Oshkosh!
Formation flight into Oshkosh.
The 45 minute flight to Oshkosh was, um, exciting. Low visibility and oblivious traffic (like the Cub who just toddered through the middle of the formation apparently unaware of the 34 airplanes nearby) got my heart rate up! En route, the formation breaks up into 4-ship elements that take space so that pilots don’t have to fly so close together.
Formation over Oshkosh
And it was just my luck that conditions over the runway were massively hazy during my prime picture-taking time. Hence, my only good over-Oshkosh shot.
RV Super Six at Oshkosh
Delighted to be on the ground at Oshkosh. Jawbone is taxiing us to the Homebuilt parking area where the airplanes were on display.
Under the wing of the RV-4
Annnnnnnd Oshkosh begins. Me and T hiding under the wing of the RV-4 to beat the heat.

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