Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 1

For several years Nancy and I have talked about making the pilgrimage to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the EAA AirVenture. We decided that 2006 would be the year we’d actually make the trip. Since we’re going that far east, we decided to head all the way to the east coast and visit Washington, DC and New York City. I’ve been to both cities before (although it has been almost 20 years since I’ve been to DC) but Nancy has never been to either one. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 1

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 2

Day 1: Nampa, ID to Minneapolis, MN

Our actual track for all three flights on the first day of this trip. We went from Nampa, Idaho to Minneapolis, Minnesota with two fuel stops along the way.

A journey of several thousand nautical miles begins with the first take off. Our wheels left the familiar patch of runway of our home base at Nampa, Idaho (S67) at 7:00 am MDT as we headed east towards our first refueling stop: Sheridan, Wyoming (KSHR). After that, the plan was to make another fuel stop in Brookings, South Dakota (KBKX) before reaching our overnight stop at the Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If all went according to plan, we’d be landing at Flying Cloud about 8 hours after our first take off, which would be around 4:00 pm CDT. As you’ll soon find out, not everything went according to plan and for a while there, we didn’t think we’d even make it beyond Wyoming. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 2

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 3

Day 2: Flying Cloud, MN to Oshkosh, WI

The blue line shows our ground track from Minneapolis, MN to Oshkosh, WI. The magenta line is our planned flight route.

After checking out of our hotel on Sunday morning (July 23rd), we returned Elliott Aviation’s courtesy car and then rented a car from them to drive to Oshkosh, WI. Next we contacted ASI Jet Center (just a few buildings down from Elliott Aviation) to make arrangements for them to work on the Mooney on Monday when their maintenance staff returned to work. ASI had front desk and line people on duty on Sunday, so we could at least talk to someone in person to make the necessary arrangements. I left a write up of the starter issues with ASI, and told them of our plans to drive to AirVenture in Oshkosh. The people working on Sunday had no way of knowing whether the maintenance folks would be able to work on our airplane in time for our planned departure on Wednesday morning (July 26th). We crossed our fingers and headed out for Oshkosh at a much lower cruising altitude than originally planned. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 3

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 4

AirVenture — Day 1

 

Airplanes, helicopters, and jets–oh my! AirVenture 2006 is in full swing and there is literally so much to see that we didn’t even get close to the runway until mid afternoon. There was a real sense of community as everyone took in the sights and sounds of all things aviation. The stunning air show was a perfect finale to our first day of AirVenture. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 4

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 5

Phil rolls the DA40 into a 50-degree banked turn

AirVenture — Day 2

Diamond DA40 Flight

The first item on today’s agenda was the Diamond DA40 demo flight. Phil jumped into the pilot seat, the Diamond Rep filled in the right and I made myself comfortable in the back with our camera. The instrument panel was super crisp and clean without the patchwork of updates that is typical in most mature (don’t say older) airplanes. It almost didn’t look real. The demo flight departed from the Appleton airport, which is just a few miles north of Oshkosh. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 5

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 6

Next Stop: Manassas, Virginia

The dark line shows the route from Minneapolis, MN through Dayton, OH to Manassas, VA. The magenta line shows the route from Minneapolis, MN to Des Moines, IA.

On Tuesday night, we planned our flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Manassas, Virginia with a fuel stop in Dayton, Ohio. This was a new route, since our original plan was to fly from Appleton, Wisconsin to Manassas, VA, but the airplane never made it to Appleton as planned. I chose Dayton as our fuel stop on the way to Manassas because it’s a fairly large airport that has good maintenance facilities available. Since we just had maintenance done on the Mooney, I was being extra-conservative in our flight planning. The chances were slim for us to have more mechanical problems during the trip, but I didn’t want to be stuck at a small airport with limited facilities just in case. We could reach Dayton in slightly over 3 hours, and Manassas would be another 2 hour flight from there. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 6

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 7

Watching the Weather

On Wednesday evening, I downloaded this 12-hour forecast map of what we could expect for Thursday morning’s flight.

Our hotel in Des Moines had internet access, so on Wednesday evening I was able to get a good idea of what Thursday morning’s weather would be for our planned flight to Manassas, Virginia with a fuel stop in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 12-hour forecast (for 7:00 am CDT Thursday) showed a stationary front draped across the southern border of Iowa and stretching across Indiana where it turned into a cold front. Light to moderate rain was forecast across the bulk of our route. This wouldn’t be a beautiful VFR flight, but IFR was still a possibility. In the morning we would have to check again to see if that cold front was positioned as forecast, and what kind of weather it was making. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 7

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 8

Fort Wayne, Indiana

The low gray clouds and cool air at Fort Wayne were quite a change from the bright blue skies we left behind in Des Moines, Iowa just 3 hours ago. If you read the previous part of this trip journal, you know that we had to do an instrument approach to find the Fort Wayne airport through those clouds. Two linemen from Mercury Air directed us to a parking spot and promptly took our fuel order. They had both tanks filled up before we even made it in the door of the FBO building. Now that we were on the ground in Fort Wayne, it was time to check the weather for the next leg of our trip: Manassas, Virginia. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 8

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 9

Washington, DC

We spent three days exploring and admiring as many sites as possible in Washington, DC. Naturally, a good portion of our time was spent in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum as well as its companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. No long story to share, just a few select pictures. Enjoy!

I think I could have spent 3 full days at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and 2 full days at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center which is a bus ride away near the Washington Dulles airport. Don’t miss out on the treasures stored at the Udvar-Hazy Center. It’s worth the bus ride. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 9

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 10

More time in Washington, DC

The blue line shows the ground track of our eastbound trip across the United States.

When we originally planned this trip, we intended to visit New York City after our stop in Washington, DC. Shortly after arriving in Washington, we decided to spend an extra day in DC and skip the visit to New York City. We’ll save that for our next trip east. There were so many things to see and do in DC, and we didn’t want to rush ourselves. Also, we were both looking forward to the luxury of staying in the same hotel room for four consecutive nights after spending the last week bouncing from hotel to hotel. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 10