Georgia and I returned to AirVenture this year after missing last year. We left home the Friday afternoon before opening day and drove the three hours to Sleepy Hollow Farm where we had a water, electric and sewer site reserved. That electricity was welcome when the temperatures reached near 90. Ahhh..air conditioning.
Once the Kodiak was tucked into it’s site and hooked up, we had dinner and started to get everything arranged for our ten day stay.
After a leisurely start, we spent most of Saturday shopping in Oshkosh. We went to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed and for Georgia to shop their fabric section. Walmart stores near us don’t carry fabrics but Wisconsin stores do.
Then we visited a quilting store that Georgia had heard good things about and got some dinner out. On the way back to the trailer we made another stop at Walmart to get some groceries for the week. It was too hot out to leave them in the truck so we couldn’t buy them earlier.
We finished getting the trailer organized in the evening and turned in early.
The Sunday before the big show is a good day to go to the grounds.
We had breakfast in the trailer and didn’t go over to the grounds until about 10 AM. The parking lot is always pretty empty on Sunday so we got up close. This is the only day we would take the truck. Once the show opens the road past Sleepy Hollow to parking becomes one way. We can get to the lot easily but to get back we have to drive way around. It isn’t worth the hassle (or the $10 a day) since we are so close anyway.
We traded our online tickets in for weekly wrist bands and entered the gate. The EAA merchandise tent is right inside so Georgia bought her traditional AirVenture tee-shirt and pin to commemorate the 2015 event.
We made our way slowly down Celebration Way, which is the main roadway, and stopped near the end for lunch at one of the many food vendors. Then we continued on to the Boeing Plaza.
This year, for the first time, a B-52 was on display. To get it into Whittman Regional the lights had to be removed from the sides of runway 36/18. I wish we had been there to see the landing but it happened before we arrived. Now the giant aircraft was sitting on the plaza. It really is huge!
We explored the grounds a little more to get our bearings then went back to Sleepy Hollow for the evening.
AirVenture 2015 opened for real on Monday. I was on the grounds by 8 AM with the intention to go to an 8:30 forum on drones and aircraft sharing airspace. It was going to be held at the brand new Aviation Gateway Park. This is a new area that will focus on aviation innovation and education.
When I got to the location, I found people gathering for a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting. I decide to hang around and see that before the forum. The ribbon was cut by EAA Chairman Jack Pelton and Piper Aircraft CEO Simon Caldecott.
After the ceremony I went into the forum tent but, the drone forum didn’t happen. No one showed up. After 10 minutes or so everyone left.
I walked next door to the innovation pavilion and immediately found a home for the week. I would get back here at least once every day. I was fascinated by the displays in there and especially by the drones.The first thing I saw when I walked in though was a very large ATV/Powered Parachute called the SkyRunner that I immediately wanted – until I saw the $120,000 price tag that is. If someone wants to give it to me I would still take it.
One end of the pavilion had bleacher seats that faced out into a drone cage. This was a giant net structure where the drone demos could be flown safely. Right from the first demo flight that morning I was hooked.
I saw three drones fly that first morning and wanted them all. They were the:
Is there a drone in my future. I was very tempted to take one home with me.
I, reluctantly, left the drone cage to go back to the trailer for lunch. After that, Georgia went to the grounds with me for the first afternoon airshow.
Highlights of this first show included the Airbus A350, a Marine Harrier, warbird mass arrivals, glider pilot Luca Bertossio‘s silent and graceful display of aerobatics without power and many more of the world’s top airshow performers.
When the airshow was over we made the trek back to Sleepy Hollow and, after baking in the sun for hours, the coolness of our cozy trailer felt great.