The true spirit of Oshkosh

I’ll be writing about EAA AirVenture (“Oshkosh”) over the next few weeks, but today is the last day of the actual gathering. The true spirit of Oshkosh, I think, is best captured by this story from EAA:

Ken Swain, EAA 102241, flew his VariEze, N4ZZ, into Oshkosh for the 45th year in a row this year. From life in the Air Force to flying for United Airlines, and now in retirement, Ken’s aircraft has been a constant.

Ken has proudly owned his VariEze since Burt Rutan first released it, even flying it into Oshkosh just two years after the prototype was shown.

“In 1976, Burt showed up in the homebuilt prototype,” Ken said. “Once, again, he was mobbed. The plans were out there, and a couple of really fast builders showed up in 1977 along with Burt, and in 1978, there were at least 14 … and I was one of them. That was my first time [at Oshkosh].”

“The first three years I stayed [at UW-Oshkosh], and every year since, I’ve stayed in the campground,” Ken said. “I’ve seen the way the campground has evolved …. That’s changed a lot, and yet it hasn’t changed. The society of campers is its own extra convention separate from the daytime convention. It has to be experienced, and not just one or twice, but over a number of years to understand. It’s a whole other vibe.”

This guy hits every note. He built his own airplane from plans. The plane is a Rutan design. He camps with his plane. Let’s just hope that he came in on Sunday rather than a day early. The weather for the event was perfect, sunny with highs around 80 degrees every day. Saturday, July 23 was a different story:

What it looked like in the Garmin Pilot app around 7 pm Central:

I’m not sure when they arrived, but here are a couple of guys who got two tents and two full-size bicycles into an A36 Bonanza:

Also a candidate for the True Spirit of Oshkosh award, a family that rebuilt a 1938 Staggerwing… twice (second rebuild necessitated by a hangar fire):

5 thoughts on “The true spirit of Oshkosh

  1. I’ll be hitting “Refresh” frequently awaiting the full debrief! Don’t forget to cover any drone technology that may have been part of the show.
    JJD – Watching from the sidelines

  2. The fiberglass layups & foam cutting required to build those was quite intense. Had a neighbor who spent years building a fiberglass airplane in his garage before giving up. Who knows how bad the recession would be if owning a home still required being smart enough to build something.

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