500,000 people from 60 different countries, 10,000 + aircraft of all shapes and sizes, blistering sunshine, 100 degree temperatures, seminars, courses, trainings, airplane accessories for sale, AND airplane shows running constantly! That describes OshKosh, Wisconsin for a week every July. How we missed this event all these 40 years of being in the aviation business is beyond me!
But, alas, we attended this past week for 4 days! I almost OD'd on sensory overload! At one time I found myself riding a tram along with 30 other folks, the motor grinding, the driver shouting out stops, airplanes playing dodge ball in the sky, music playing everywhere. Added to the ambiance was the smell of jet fuel and oil which permeated the whole place! Men of every shape and size are drawn to this event like a magnet! Their eyes bug out and they almost drool at the instruments of flight. I could actually hear the hearts of men pounding with excitement every time ANOTHER plane fired up. Every guy there could tell the type of plane, the tail number, the date it was in production, it's purpose and when it was retired. THAT was very impressive!
The number of women attending could fit into the air conditioned ladies room ALL at the same time. (That room was the ONLY one with AC that I found, all week!)
Many folks fly their own personal plane to OshKosh, park it in a huge field and live in a tent for the week right there under the wing of the plane. The small airport becomes the busiest airport in the world for those seven days. Some drive their camper or RV into a designated spot and instantly form a community of like minded folks. Stores, bars, drinking water tanks, bicycle lots, cooking grills and coffee houses pop up almost immediately between the rows upon rows of mobile homes. Thousands and thousands of bicycles become the method of transportation to the "main event" and parked in a "bicycle lot" only.
The grounds are divided into sections for various types of planes. There are the WWII war planes, vintage, experimental, yellow cubs, sky diving, hospital planes, the home built kind, foreign, modern, helicopters, etc. It went on for miles! And the vendors that supply all the necessary accessories for all these planes took up another huge portion of the grounds.
Languages from several foreign countries could be heard everywhere! We met and ate with five of the cutest young men from Argentina. How they found their way to Wisconsin is an inspiring story!
Did I mention food? There was a huge Johnsonville semi-truck remodeled into the "world's largest grill," hamburgers, bar-be-cue sandwiches, ice cream, and brats! Man-food!
What an experience!
After severe meltdown and de-hydration the first day, I swore never to return. I sat in the AC hotel for day two, but then decided to "man up" and get back into the game!
There are plans in the works to RETURN NEXT YEAR! There's even talk of a TENT!!!!! Are you kidding me???
Oh, my! I'll have to give this some serious thought! Maybe I can fa-niggle a grandson or two into going. Male bonding, that's what we'll call it!
It was the Wright BROTHERS that started all this mess you know!