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« OSH13: CampBacon Starts To Sizzle - Opening Day Tomorrow! | Main | AirPigz OSH13 Fundraiser #3 - Buy A Book So I Can Eat At Oshkosh (7 Books) »

OSH13 Will Be The Best Oshkosh Ever!

(click pic for hi-res)  Proud lineup of Cessna 195 noses at Oshkosh 2010

 It's a bit of a tradition now for me to make that statement... that this year's Oshkosh will be the best one ever. What's the reason it's the 'best ever' each successive year? Because the best Oshkosh is the one you can experience RIGHT NOW! Avgeek memories of past Oshkosh weeks are awesome, amazing, and many are truly unforgettable, but the ability to experience Oshkosh in the here-and-now always trumps the memories for me.

 I've got memories like way back at Oshkosh 1977 (I was 16) and had just started building a Pober Pixie from plans. I was there all week but had also arrived early. Right up near the main gate was an amazing Starduster Too that really caught my attention for its seemingly perfect craftsmanship. I got to talking with the owner Roger Rourke and quickly wound up being best friends for the week with him and his wife. They were really nice to this young avgeek and I have never forgotten that. I spent a lot of time hanging out right there that week, and after looking over the other contenders, I was confident Roger would win the big award. He did. Grand Champion Homebuilt Oshkosh 1977.

 Then there was the next year, 1978, when the Quickie showed up a few days before Oshkosh started. It was parked up near the main gate, near where Roger's Starduster Too had been the year before. Wow, I spent a lot of hours before Oshkosh even started looking over that freaky-cool 18hp flying machine. It was kinda cool to see it sit there relatively alone at that point... and then to see it swarmed by people all week long!

 There was 1982 when I flew the Breezy homebuilt up from Indiana. I parked it in the showplane camping area just south of the Theater in the Woods. Back in those days we could push the airplanes right in around the trees. It just couldn't get any better than camping like that with a homebuilt at Oshkosh, especially at only 20 years old! These days they don't let you park so close to the trees - I understand the reasoning, but it sure made for the perfect camp experience.

The Breezy I flew to Oshkosh in 1982, camped in the trees (see full post here)

 How about 1984 when Burt and Dick Rutan gave us all something to talk about when they brought the Voyager out from Mojave to show us in detail what they had in mind for flying around the world non-stop and unrefueled. The airplane was parked on display where we could look it over... Burt gave talks on the airplane and the world-flight plan, and Dick put on some flight demos in front of a huge crowd. I'll never forget seeing the wings flap when Dick would induce a little pitching for fun - I actually have an old VHS video of that!

 This is somewhere around my 35th or 36th Oshkosh, and the list of great memories goes on and on for me. Some of them are from spectacular aircraft doing amazing things. Some of them are from spending great quality time with great quality people. Oshkosh isn't a 'show' that you stand there and take in... Oshkosh is a living, breathing experience that each and every one of us has the amazing opportunity to be part of. If you're coming to be wowed by some big, special, or rare airplane, I'd like to ask you to instead come and be wowed by what opportunities for learning, sharing, and growing Oshkosh provides. Don't just come to Oshkosh, BE Oshkosh.

 This coming Monday (July 29) the somewhat surreal experience of being surrounded by thousands of aircraft and way north of a hundred thousand avgeeks will begin again. Back in the 80's I used to call this surreal aspect Okshock, but then this incredible gathering of aviaotica has always been oddly the most important week of my life each year. I'm sure it will be again this year. 

 I hope to see you there : )  #Okshock


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