Escape from Oshkosh

Gorgeous views in the Wind Rivers but had to climb to 13.5K just to clear the rocks!

There comes a time when—no matter how much fun you’re having—you have eaten your limit of brats and cheese curds, and it’s time to leave the annual pilgrimage to cheese country. This is usually based not only on what you’ve accomplished, but also (mostly?) on a glance at the weather for the trip home. I was ready to hang around until Saturday morning, but having turned in the rental car Thursday night and gotten an early morning ride in to the show on Friday, a glance at the weather situation said it was time to move!

With my tie-downs pulled and the wet canopy cover stuffed in the forward baggage compartment, I turned on the master switch at 0559 CDT, heard the ATIS come alive at 0600, hit the starter at 0601, and was rolling off the grass and on to the pavement of taxiway Bravo by 0602. Chatted with tower because there were no flagmen yet….”RV at the intersection, follow the GlaStar down the under-run for 18R, cleared for takeoff when you get to the numbers”. Followed by the tower…“Hey RV…is that Paul Dye?” I just can’t get away with anything.

That left turn in South Dakota? One lonely (but intense) thunderstorm right smack in front of me meant I visited Newcastle instead of Thermopolis for fuel.

There was weather moving in from the west, drifting southeast, so I asked to scoot out east over the lake, and when clear of the Class D I turned north, headed for Steven’s Point, then on to an overnight with family in central Minnesota. A nice way to wind down from the intensity of the week known as AirVenture.

Crossing the entire state of Wyoming in one hop is easy in an RV with almost 800 mile range.

The next day proved just what you can do routinely with an RV-8. Have breakfast in central Minnesota, and lunch near Lake Tahoe! Stop twice for fuel, look at a (very) little weather, diddle with the autopilot knobs, and listen to an audio book along the way. If I’d tried to airline it, I’d have started with a three hour drive to the Twin Cities, and ended with an hour drive home from Reno – on top of getting to the airport early and waiting two hours in Denver for the next plane.

The last (and third) leg of the day was short – with building bumps at 11:00 am climbing out of lonely Wells (NV) but the familiar peaks of the Sierra drawing me homeward.

But I would have gotten further into the audio book! And I would have missed out on seeing the gorgeous Wind River Range! Somehow I have missed that all these years.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


  1. It’s a very nice narration! This text brought me back to the time I enjoyed flying single-engine birds over USA and South America.


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