Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Well I guess this draws the blog out to the final one from me. Derwood might just reply at some stage.
The trip back to LA was easy. Again a great trip on southwest. The crew really are a riot. The are encouraged to let their personality shine through so some of the PAs are great. E.g. "we're waiting for everyone to get their touche in the couche so we can push" or " sit back relax and enjoy the flight.. Or.. Sit bolt upright, nervous and tense, we're going anyway" .. Or.. " please turn off your iPods, iPhones, blackberries, crack berries, raspberries, strawberries, George foreman grills, gameboys, game girls, epiladies, anything with a switch on it!" .... Or ... " badda boom badda bing, that's our ding, give your neighbour a hug, give your seatbelt a tug, we're off". Etc etc etc. Makes it's fun.
Yesterday had us do the normal bus trip into Santa Monica for a bit of shopping and yet another visit to church (the Apple store). I confirmed what I already knew - I can't shop for women. I tried to get something for Vicki but with a couple of minor exceptions failed miserably.
After the shopping we jumped back on the bus back to the hotel, got changed and caught another bus out to the airport. Luckily old carrot skull had a lounge pass so we spent a few hours waiting for our plane. In the lounge we ran into a couple of other crew. Phil had also been to Sploshkosh ( it's new nickname after the rain before we arrived) and Dudley had been up visiting family.
Fortunately we got our upgrade request (more luck) and with a few tips from Dudley we arranged for 2 more bedding packs each in order to make the bed a bit softer. That was the ticket. I got about 7 reasonable hours sleep and Derwood had to be woken up for breakfast!
So all in all a very enjoyable highly successful trip. It's given me a bit of a wild idea but that's for some other time.
Will I go next year? Not sure. Maybe, but I need to let this trip sink in a bit first.
The 747 is about to descend into Auckland now so in the words of the announcer at KOSH..... "I'm outta here"

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The lucky trip

As I sit on the in the back of an old 737-300 next to old Fanta pants I reflect upon our trip as. Bit of a 'lucky' trip. It has worked out exceptionally well for us in pretty much every way so far. Right from our Auckland departure we got our upgrade to business class. We had Pretty good bus service to nd from the hotel to Santa Monica. When we had checked in early for southwest flight on. Whim it worked out well since it assured us seating next to each other. The flight crew on the flight were super friendly and gave us drink vouchers which we used on this flight to feed old Fire Bucket here some Heineken. The hotel at Milwaukee had very friendly staff ( mostly gingas I'm reminded) who drove us to the RV place.
The road was very easily navigated and on arrival we went straight to a site with power which is very unusual.
We had a lot of luck in how we chose to manage our time and how it worked out while at Oshkosh. We were certainly in the right place in the right time to see the departures, a sight I will NEVER forget.
Minor hiccup on the way back.. Got a bit misplaced but it actually made the navigation to the hotel easier.
Once again on the Southwest flights we got seated together. All fairly lucky really. And I wonder how things would have turned out if our luck was running a little differently.
I just hope I haven't jinxed it now and signed up for a flight in steerage back home!

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Sunday, August 1, 2010


When I was packing my bag to leave home I couldn't fit my camera bag in so I removed what I needed and packed just that. I realized I had left my tapes in Auckland a couple of days in to the show.. Bugger.
My Ginga mate has been practicing photography and borrowed a great lens from Bill Henwood. Cheers Bill, very kind of you.
Anyhow, Derwood has taken some really exceptional shots so hopefully when we get back we can put all of this together to make a really nice album.

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Who pulled the chain?

Last day at Oshkosh. Affectionately renamed sloshkosh after the wet conditions of the start of the show which we fortunately missed.
Late Saturday had quite a few aircraft and RVs leaving. I guess people who have long distances to travel still have work on Monday. What a stupid thing work is sometimes.
When we got up I had a quick shower. I ran us out of water and blocked the waste all in one hit. Darryn had to use the campground showers.
Once underway we grabbed a coffee and some fruit (including a New Zealand export Braeburn!) and headed off to get a ride in the Trimotor. On the way over we noticed the aircraft had emptied out. About 1/4 or less remained with steady departures. I felt like it may have been a mistake planning on staying for Sunday.
Anyway. We went and payed for our Trimotor ride and jumped on board. Wow.. What an awesome experience.

The flight is basically a big circuit out over lake Winnebago, back to the south of Oshkosh town and back on a close left base for runway 18 at Oshkosh with a split are turn to land. What a delightful old machine. Enjoyed every second of it and it also gave us a good view over Oshkosh.

For a day that had started out disappointing it was going really well so far!
Next I ran into Bill Nut departing for home in his Falco. I quickly chatted with him then went through the hangars looking to see if there were any last day sales. It paid off. I bought a new lightweight traveling cover for my plane.
Next we went over to the EAA museum. There was so much aviation history in there. It was really good although I confess to skimming it a bit. Easy to do after such an aviation 'load' over the previous days.
When we got back to the flight line the airshow was underway. We were expecting a similar display but once again it had a lot of new content. A really good show. But wait. The best was yet to come.
While the show was going all the exhibitors and fly-aircraft were preparing to leave. The SECOND the show finished they were starting up and departing. We happened to be standing at in intersection of 4 taxiways. From behind us the que was stacked up two wide, to each side there was a sincle file and they all had to get down a single file taxiway then line up on the runway two wide and two deep and departed down each side of the runway in 5-10 second intervals. The activity at the intersection was the highlight of the day. There was a lady ground marshaller who was absolutely fantastic to watch. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. With no radio comms at all she sorted out the whole mess by just waving her battens but in true American fashion. It was yet another site to behold.

Actually it was totally bloody outstanding I'm really pleased we stayed to watch it.

On the walk back to the van the place was quickly becoming a ghost-town. Even the announcer went from full stream talking to "we're outta here, see ya next year"- click - silence.
All the hangars were empty and most tents ether empty or gone completely. It was like someone had flushed the place!
The RV park had about 2% of the original capacity so we decided to set heading for Milwaukee and enjoy a comfortable night in the hotel. After a nice shower and something to eat here I sit blogging.
Another full, highly enjoyable day!

More to come in a few minutes.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW!

What a day.
We woke up to a grey overcast and a threat of rain.
After the morning ritual we headed off to try to get a ride in the ford trimotor. With the low base nothing much was happening so we split up. Darryn and Geoff went down to the flight line and I went for another look through the hangars to get some replacement strobes for my aeroplane.

In the afternoon we met back up down on the flight line to watch the airshow. The clouds were burning off and conditions soon became perfect for an outstanding airshow with incredibly polished acts and some exotic machinery that we will never see in our neck of the woods.

After the show we met up at Harvey for a beer and a yarn. Lots of fun.
Just on dark we went down to the flight line again to watch the night show. It's impossible to explain. Suffice to say it was the most amazing spectacle I have ever and will ever likely see again. First a jet powered glider then an Ag Cat doing night aerobatics with huge pyrotechnic trails off each wing and dropping fireworks. Just totally totally brilliant. Awe inspiring.

Followed by a fantastic ground based firework display viewed over the top of two DC3s in full period paint schemes. It could easily have been a celebration in the 50's. It ended with a massive explosion and a sheet of flame about 3 - 400 meters long and100' high. Bloody fantastic.
It's going to be hard to go to sleep any time soon to go into the final day.

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Lt Dan

Spent an hour or so last night in the theater in the woods listening to the Lt Dan band. Lt Dan, if you can remember was a handicapped war veteran in the Movie Forest Gump. Played by Gary Sinese, he also leads the band playing bass guitar. It's a kind of show band I guess. They play at various military camps largely overseas.
It was a pleasant night before starting to get a bit cold.
Had a reasonable night sleep. Woke up to grey overcast with rain threatening and forecast. We'll see what it brings. Derwood was out just after 6am taking photos.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Maaaaarrrrrrmmmmm. My feet hurt!

Started out much better today. Both Derwood and I had a good sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for the massive undertaking.

The plan of attack was to start out outside and around mid day when the sun is way up. Move inside to the shops.
So off we went.
We slowly worked our way over to the couple of Falcos that were here and ran into a couple of guys to talk to.

After a few plesantarys we headed off to cover a couple of the hangars for some shopping, or at least, looking. There is just soooo much stuff. A homebuilders heaven really. I feel for Derwood a bit since looking at a bag of clecos for a non builder has got to be a tad boring.
After a few hours of that we had a bite to eat. (yuk) and went back to the Falco park for a bit.

We ran into Dan, a Falco owner from Switzerland who uses my forum a bit and during a brief chat with him the show started. With some military kit that I will never see anywhere else I imagine.. Over some loud explosions a chap came up to me and introduced himself as Alfred Scott. Funny how he spotted me in the flight line out of all those people.. I was close to the Falcos but so was a few hundred others. He says he thinks I look like Bill Clinton. He took me over to meet Susan Arruda and gave me a free tee shirt. Susan started to give Alfred a nudge to leave since they were leaving today so with that Darryn and I headed back to the hangars. I saw a few things I wanted to buy but by the time I got back to them the hangars were closing for the night. Oh well. Whatever. There is always tomorrow although the plan is for it to be more of an airshow day for us tomorrow. There has been a steady build in the number and type of aircraft arriving so I think with tomorrow being the weekend it has to be a great display. F15's, F18's an F16. C5, T38, Osprey, A10, KC135, F86, etc etc etc etc.. It's going to be a great day. There was a tiny bit of rain today but hopefully it will come right tomorrow and my feet will be happy again ready for another hiding!

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