I’ve been rather delinquent in updating this site lately - sorry about that.
Terry and I had a great trip to EAA Airventure (a.k.a “Oshkosh”). We were airborne at 08:00 on Saturday, 23 July and made it to Manitowoc, WI by noon, via a fuel, lunch and Customs stop in at Sanderson Field in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. We spent the night in Manitowoc, staying with one of Terry’s sisters.
We had planned to fly into Oshkosh early Sunday morning, to beat the usual Sunday afternoon rush. But, the weather had other plans, with a bunch of thunderstorm cells moving through Oshkosh first thing in the morning, with the leading edge of the ceilings arriving at Manitowoc before the trailing edge was finished pounding Oshkosh. We waited anxiously for the weather to improve in Manitowoc, and rushed to the airport around 10:00 when the weather report suddenly showed an 8000 ft ceiling. But, as we arrived at the airport, I could see a lot of very low cloud around, and it was clearly not suitable for VFR flying, despite the nice report. Sure enough, a few minutes later the reported weather was revised to 600 ft ceiling. We waited. And waited. And went for lunch, and waited some more. We finally gave up and went back to the sister’s place, as Manitowoc was still bouncing between 400 and 600 ft ceilings, while the rest of Wisconsin enjoyed sunny skies. The problem was that Manitowoc is on a bit of a bump protruding into Lake Michigan, and the wind was blowing moisture in off the lake.
Finally around 14:00 the skies opened up, so we rushed to the airport and headed for Ripon, to start the special arrival procedure. I switched to the Fisk Approach frequency, and was dismayed to learn that one of the arrival runways was closed and that they were putting all arrivals into holding patterns around Green Lake and Rush Lake. We joined several dozen other aircraft in the Green Lake holding pattern.
Shortly after we arrived in the Green Lake hold, they started accepting arrivals again, which meant that they first started emptying the Rush Lake holding pattern, followed by emptying the Green Lake pattern. When they empty the Green Lake hold, you are supposed to continue single file around the lake until you are heading NE, then proceed to Ripon. But, it seems that there were quite a few folks who decided that they were special, and the procedure didn’t apply to them. These special idiots all turned directly towards Ripon, so the sky was full of aircraft proceeding from various parts of Green Lake, all converging on the same point. Grr. We managed to avoid everybody, thanks in no small part to Terry’s great work at pointing out other aircraft that I hadn’t seen yet.
After we passed Ripon, and were following the railroad tracks towards Fisk, a Piper Cherokee came up from the south and parked himself 300 ft off our right wing tip. He should have gone to Ripon first, rather than trying to break into line, and I don’t think he even saw us. I didn’t want to break out of line due to his incompetence, so I proceed on, while watching him like a hawk. Fortunately the Fisk controller was on the ball, and instructed him to turn right for the runway 36 arrival, and we were told to continue straight ahead for runway 27, which provided separation between us.
Things got crazy again as we approached the airport, with one guy wandering all over the sky looking for the downwind leg, and a Gulfstream business jet on an IFR arrival which forced several VFR arrivals to go around. We landed around 16:15, did a long taxi to HomeBuilt Camping, and set up camp in extremely hot and muggy conditions. You can see our landing on YouTube - we were instructed to landing on the green dot - it looks like I missed by about 50 ft.
More to follow soon.