Oshkosh 2003 - 100 years of Flight
The Wright Broghers first flew in powered flight December 17, 1903


It is said that getting there is half the fun. I agree because for me, getting there includes flying, going places I've never gone and meeting people that have common interests. All components for a great experience.

After I took off from St. Louis, I was planning on flying to Janesville for fuel. However the winds from the approaching front caused a bit of a slower trip so we chose Rock Falls - Whiteside-Bitton (SQI) to pick up fuel instead. I had already used this as a waypoint just in case. I took on 10 gal of fuel, looked at radar and decided to head on to the big show. On the way out, I found out why they named the town Rock Falls. You can see it too in the picture just to the left of the bridge - a Rock Fall. 

Well, we headed north and soon found the weather we had seen on the radar. We were crossing the front ahead of the main weather. This was just junk to fly under. At this point we were at about 2000 feet. 



This is a bit more of the same but at this point I was flying at 1800 feet. I flew for about 45 minutes under the crud but the plane didn't care. I had some light turbulance that they called moderate in the convective sigmet but they couldn't have been correct. What was really amazing was what was going to happen next. 

I went from the picture above to the picture on the right in about 2 miles. It was pretty cool. I thought about climbing up but Ripon was only 40 miles away so I just stayed at 2500. It is interesting what Mother Nature is capable of and how it all works.




This plane was perfectly clean when I left. I know because I cleaned it on Saturday morning! Sorry bugs, but this is what happens if Mother Nature makes me come down to your level. 

Yes, this is proof, I made it to Oshkosh. The sign in the back delares that we have arrived at AirVenture. This is the 100th year of flight and I expect we will see a number of planes that otherwise wouldn't have flown to Oshkosh. I guess we will just have to see how the week goes and see what I can find to put on the site.

Thanks Deb for understanding another year. 



This is a picture of Steve and Linda as we are setting up their booth. Steve is the VW engine conversion expert and a good friend.  

This was my view as I approached final on runway 9. This is also where people sit to see if you make a great or horrible landing, I dissappointed them and made a good one. The look of the parking will change as the next two days come and go. It will be completely filled either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning. At that time, they will have to start diverting planes to other airports unless they are a show plane. A show plane is one you built yourself, a restored classic or a military plane such as a B17 or P51. 


The "big show" actually starts on Tuesday morning and they expect over 100,000 people to be in attendance. There will be between 10 and 12,000 airplanes on the field and the motel, hotel, college dorms, spare rooms and back yards for campers are booked up for over a 50 mile radius.


Visitors to the convention this year will include Amenda Wright and Stephen Wright who are decendents of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Also, Neil Armstrong who on July 20, 1969 first set foot on the moon and Chuck Yeager who was the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound will be looking at the planes and making presentations. Looks like it will be a good week. I wonder if they will stop by and say hi at my plane? 


 Steve was asked to become a "Timeless Voice of Aviation." His interview is on Sunday.

This is some of the workmanship on a Hughes racer replica. It was extremely good! Even with the compressed jpg you can see the reflection of the wood wing structure from above in the highly polished alumnium. The quality of most of the show planes is amazing and something to admire.  



This is a beautiful example of a Ford Tri-motor. The other thing you see here is that another plane is landing on a separate "runway" to the side. Actually the runway the second plane is landing on is a taxiway that is used as a runway only for this airshow. In addition, as you sit at watch the tower will move a plane from the left to the right runway during final and the pilots demonstrate their skill as the tranfer and then land time after time after time. This is not only the buisiest airport in the world, it also has a number of rules waved so they can get this many airplanes to land in such a short amount of time.  

As we were heading back to cover up my plane's canopy for the evening, Chris and Owen arrived from Canada. They flew 5 1/2 hours of air time to arrive at the big show.

Pictured to the right is Owen. I was told as Chris presented him with a custom shirt that the saying on the shirt

 "Yes, it's a real airplane.... Shut up" is his saying.  



This is Chris's plane and this is the first time Chris and Owen have flown into Oshkosh. It is always an experience and one they will never forget. Now for the show and they will both help out at the KR forum on Wednesday.

This is Monday evening as we were leaving and the plane were everywhere. There are planes camped as far as you can see. I think it will be a great show. 



This is a picture of the Wright Flyer replica. This is where motorized flight began. They will test fly the plane this year with a large production.

The show opened and the booth was filled. This was a good day and typically the first day if for lookers. It looks like the attendance will be up this year since the airport is so full. It is always interesting seeing the technology that goes into a new VW conversion. There is a difference in what goes inside the engine. 



Steve presented one of his four forums. This was on Selecting a Non-Certified Engine for your Aircraft. 

This is Chris's plane and below you can see the picture of his interior and engine installation. 





This is Owen's plane and again you can see the picture of his interior and engine installation. 



My plane is all over my site, however I have also put a picture of my interior and engine installation too so my plane won't feel left out. 




More planes at Oshkosh, again they go on and on and on and on. Too cool for a plane lover. My wife told me I needed more pictures of people so I'm trying to do this. No, the guy walking bent over isn't my attempt.... They follow. 


What can I tell you, we had the biggest crowd. I guess we had at least 100 people and I hope someone counted. This was great since last year at the 30th anniversary of the KR we only had 50-60. People were interested and we had fun. Of course I got to talk, Mark Langford gave a great talk about the building process, Owen talked about his plane and Chris talked about his as well. We had a very active question answer sesson that varied from building techniques to engines. I think everyone enjoyed the video we took of the landing sequences as well. 

Tomorrow, Thursday, morning I think they are all coming to the KR's on the field so we can answer more questions. 






Steve presented another forum. This time he built up a VW conversion and actually ran the engine at the forum. He started at 1 with standing room only and then finished at about 5:20. He missed our KR forum because of his..... what's up? Anyway, he had lots of interest and when it all finished, the engine ran. On Thursday afternoon late while he's doing a late forum on another topic, I get to tear apart the engine. I'll have a good time and I know he will too. 




After a night of storms, I found out that my cover didn't totally seal out the water. Well I guess 6 inches of rain would mean that that could be a problem. I found some water in my plane and gues what...... Steve decided that a picture of me cleaning out my plane would make a good addition to my Web Site. Well, Steve, I guess you caught my best side or at least a side most people don't see.... Tonight I taped with an entire roll of electrical tape to seal up the plane. The reports were we would have rain with 45 mph winds so I sealed it up real good so I don't have to be in this position tomorrow.

I didn't get a good picture of Owen but I did of Chris. Sorry Owen... See you in Red Oak, Iowa. Thanks for the fun. 

Since Chris and Owen were going to head south and then east to go home, they found out they needed to leave NOW. So, they checked out their planes and then headed off into the wild blue yonder. Eah - Canda talk.... 


Oshkosh has been busy for Great Plains Aircraft. I simply help out if Steve goes to lunch or as you will see if there is grunt work to be accomplished. Regardless, there was lots of activity in their booth and lots of people interested in the VW with a crankshaft they can trust their lives to. Anyway, they've had fun and I've been having a good time out on the flight line talking about my airplane. 

Remember that engine Steve built up? Well guess who got to tear it down in the parking lot as he was presenting a forum on VW Conversions? I had fun because it has bee about 18 years since I built my engine with Steve and now I got to remember how I actually did it. Besides, I got lots of interesting looks as the people were leaving. I thought about working up a line such as - I just sold an engine if I could deliver it tomorrow and I figured the parking lot was as good as any to build one. But, I figured I would get arrested so I told them the truth. Steve built the engine in 4 hours in a forum and ran it and my job was to tear it down so he could build it again on Saturday. Oshkosh has great forums and the opportunity for learning is wonderful. 



The airshow performers are very good. They pick the best and they get the job done.  

This is also an amazing airplane. After a fast pass, the plane comes in, hovers, does a 180 while hovering, backs up and then lands and taxi's away. We make great airplanes in St. Louis.  



The crowds got pretty big on Friday. My plane is about 10 rows down. I don't think you would ever pick it out in the crowd. 

Every day they perform a missing man formation in honor of the people that have died in past conflicts when flying and for those that have lost their lives in airplane accidents. The place is completely quite while this is going on. The crowd is over 100,000 people and completely quite. Great respect for those that have gone before. 



I spent lots of time with the cowling off of my engine. I was honored each day I met many people who came by that had either built KR's or who were building them. John and Gary, in the middle, I've known for almost 20 years through my KR days and Oshkosh is the place friends meet. None of us knew we would be there.  

Questions about temperatures come up from time to time. I was just flying along thinking about the plane and thought I would take this picture to show the typical temperatures I indicate when I'm flying. 190 oil temp, 350 cylinder head temp, 1380 exhaust temp, 40 pounds oil pressure, 13.6 volts and 1 amp positive current. 

These are pretty typical and I took this about 1 1/2 hours after leaving Oshkosh, so they were stable.  



I left Oshkosh a little after 8:30 after idling for too much time waiting for the line of planes to take off. I flew down to Canton, Illinois in 2 hours. I filled up with fuel and put on 10 gal which is pretty typical for me, 5 gallons an hour. I looked at the weather on the radar they had and there was a big cell that had developed over Springfield, Illinois. This helped since I knew that I would have to fly a bit west to get around the cell. In the picture to the left, you can see the rain. I was on the edge and got into it for about a minute so I turned direct west and got out of it and then headed back south. 

I make my way between a controlled airspace and the 2,000 foot veil on the last 20 miles heading home. At this point I'm at 2,000 feet, under the 3,000 foot ring, about 1/2 mile south of the controlled airspace and 1/2 mile north of the 2,000 foot ring. The view is great. Just a little later, the Arch appears out of the haze and I'm almost home. I landed and taxied to my hanger at 12:00 sharp.

Until next year.