'Twas the Week Before Oshkosh


No, sorry – not going to do the poetry thing. I’m way too busy getting ready for the big show – and the big trip! About 1500 miles to fly across this great land of ours – and that is just a warm-up for a week of visiting, trying out new equipment, seeing new designs, and maybe even pulling a few rivets (EAA is building an RV-12 in a week this year – with the help of many volunteers!). We’ve got new airplanes to see, old friends to visit with, and new friends to make – all in a week’s time. Truth is its longer than a week for the dedicated fanatics, and we’ll be leaving in just a couple of days to get there to watch the setup. You can even watch it now if you go to the EAA web site and search for their web cams. It was beautiful this morning, and the grass is green – just waiting for thousands of airplanes.

It really is Christmas in July for airplane nuts – there is so much to see and to do that you’ll never even begin to get to everything. Whether you’re shopping for parts and accessories or just planning to pitch your tent by your airplane and let the show come to you, the week will come in with a mighty rush and end before you’re ready… but every day will be packed. We’ll have a team of Kitplanes contributors spreading out around the grounds to bring daily coverage to anyone with an internet connection. so if you get stranded on the way by weather, you still don’t have to miss the happenings – just go to www.kitplanes.com and see what’s happening until you get there.

Above all, no matter how many times you’ve done this, please fly smart, avoid putting yourself in a place where you have to use you superior skill to get out of a place where a momentary lapse in your superior judgement tightened the pucker factor. And of course review that NOTAM one more time. Arrive at Ripon with plenty of fuel in case you don’t like what you see – then come back when the fur ball has passed. The arrival is just like weather – if its bad now, it will be better soon.

Keep that head on a swivel and enjoy the coming week – we’ll be looking for you!

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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.


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