Sunday, December 3, 2023

AirVenture 2023 - It Was A "Hot Mess"!!

 As I put in the title.....the best way to describe this year's AirVenture 2023 experience is that it was, indeed,a "Hot Mess!"  But, it was still a great show! And, as the saying goes...."The worst day of AirVenture is still way better than the best day anywhere else!!"

The "mess" started pretty much from the very first day that Bryan and I showed up at Camp Scholler.  Bryan arrived on the Sunday before the Sunday before the show - literally a week and a day prior to the show.  We went to "stake out" or normal camping space only to find out that it had, sort of, been staked out by someone else.  However, those stakes and ropes had been pulled up and rolled into a ball and shoved out of the actually corner that we like to park in.  Huh!!

As we stood there pondering the situation, a new friend showed up.  Shawna had been camping nearby for a few days before us and said that one group had staked out "our" corner, but that the next day EAA Security came by, rolled up the stakes and the ropes and re-opened "our" corner.  She said that they had done that with several staked out campsites along the old fence rows that make up "our" corner.  Oh well, I guess if that's the case, let's move into our corner!
Bryan parked there a few days before I was planning to pull my rig to Camp Scholler, so we "staked out" enough space for me and a few tents too.  Well, guess who paid him a visit the next day!?!?  EAA Security removed our stakes and ropes and said; "If you are going to reserve space for someone, you have to post their camping credentials in the reserved space(s)."  Really!  What this really meant was you had to PAY for the extra days that you're "reserving" these spaces for your friends or family!!

----------- CAUTION!  -------------  SIDEBAR RANT!!  --------
C'mon, Jack!!  Really!?!?  What about: " The airplanes bring us together, but the friendships keep us together" concept?  The new enforcement of this policy in the middle of a farm field near the south gate (which typically fills up dead LAST during the "influx") seems to fly in the face of those of us trying to keep our friendships going each year at AirVenture!!  I don't complain about paying $35/day to park in farm field with no RV hooks ups or any services - but this paying full rate to stake out space for our friends & family rubs me a little wrong!  Please revisit this "policy". 

OK!  Rant over.  Ultimately, I paid for an extra day and Bryan and I got to park next to each other with a "common" space between our front doors.
Back to the "Hot Mess."  So, it was pretty hot, humid and wet this year.  It rained (showers, not steady) almost every day during the first 1/2 of the week.  One good storm showed up at 1130pm when many of us had already turned in.  Thanks for waking me up, Dave, so that we could batten down the hatches!  Overall, the roads got a little muddy, but that's nothing new for AirVenture and it wasn't even close to the severity of  "Sloshkosh".

Another "mess" that we encountered this year was our neighbors to the east.  This is the first year I have ever encountered such inconsiderate, rude, rule breaking neighbors!  That just doesn't happen at OSH!!  As a group, everyone is ALWAYS considerate and abides by generator hours, and quiet hours.  Not this group!  I won't be upset if they aren't near us ever again!  Ugh!!

So, continuing with the "Hot Mess" theme, there were also several cool new aircraft and vendors that made their debut at AirVenture this year.  Here are just a few, in no particular order:
This is the first time I remember seeing the DreamLifter at AirVenture.  It might be the first time ever, I'm not sure.  It's a big aircraft!  There was a LONG line to go inside.  Speaking of big.....
I don't know if the Super Guppy has ever been to the show, but, it's the first time I've seen it in person.  They can get some big stuff inside that!
OK, so Boeing is not new to AirVenture - after all, the big piece of concrete in the foreground is called "Boeing Plaza."  But, this temporary building/structure/facility is!  It's HUGE!  Like two story huge!  And, it was mostly air-conditioned!  I think they had 2 full motion flight simulators in there! 

This pic is from Monday morning on the day after AirVenture 2023.  Look all the shipping crates lined up to be filled, already!!

Here is an aircraft that I've not seen at AirVenture before:
I have been told that it was a Reno racer at some time in it's past.  It's a beautiful airplane!
My favorite airplane, with oldest daughter.  Just something about the F4U that beats all the rest!
If you've never seen this man and machine do their thing, you need to!  Just type "Steven Henry Highlander" into your favorite browser and look for STOL videos.  You'll see!!
In the theme of "Hot Messes" my friend Nicky got her indoctrination to AirVenture with an AirCam ride with Dave.  Thanks, Dave.
The youngest daughter got hired at NetJets this year.  So, the two oldest daughters had to stop by their booth to brag about their little sis - and score some "swag."

This is a fairly new aircraft to AirVenture.  It's the SW-51 all carbon fiber aircraft.
When you walk up to the plane you can see every rivet, every skin line and every fine feature of the plane's surface.  But, it's all fake!  It has all been meticulously carved into the molds used to make the carbon fiber pieces of the plane.  It's pretty incredible to see and comprehend!
The Bally Bomber is for sale!
It's a bird, it's a plane.......actually, it's an RV!!  A DC-3 RV:
Like every year, there were many awesome flight displays at the daily airshows.  Here's a small sample with the only privately owned Soviet Mig-29 fighter that I've seen (it was also at AirVenture last year).  This year it flew with the MiG-17:
And, these guys are always fun to watch:
And, here's some Buck Rodgers stuff for you:
Again, going with the "Hot Mess" theme, this year's fireworks displays were more on the messy side than the hot side.  The weather for Wednesday's show had low ceilings and a strong west wind, so everything was trying to blow to the east and a lot got lost in the clouds.  Then, on Saturday, there was myriad technical glitches and the "Big Bang" didn't go off until after everyone gave up and started walking out.  But, the fireworks are normally outstanding EVERY year!  So, I'll give them a pass this year.  Here is part of the Wed night finale:

Overall, AirVenture 2023 was another great show.  We were down several of our normal "crew", but the show must go on!  Everyone still had a great time!
See ya next year!

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