Oshkosh Travel Guide
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15,000 people saw the Disney movie "Planes" before you, but how can that be? The 3D animated film, which follows the (mis)adventures of a cropduster airplane named "Dusty" in his quest to become a race plane, doesn't debut until this Friday, August 9.
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What are you doing this weekend?
Waitdon't answer, because if it's not "heading to Oshkosh, Wisconsin," then it's the wrong reply. What's so cool about Oshkosh, exactly? Well, all this week runs the "world's greatest aviation celebration," called EAA AirVenture, and this weekend will see the bulk of the tens of thousands of participating aircraft in the skies and on the ground at OSH. The impressive numbers of flying machines and visitors (nearly half a million!) bestows upon Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport the title of busiest control tower in the world for the week of the festival.
Although we flew in last year, this time we road-tripped up from Chicago to see if doing Oshkosh in a day would be possible. And it totally is. Three hours driving each way, $35 in gas, a pit stop to buy cheese curds, $10 in parking at Oshkosh and lots of listening to Sirius radio was all it took to spend the day amongst fields of aircraft (from brand new Honda private jets to vintage warplanes) and under loop-de-loops of the nearly constant aerobatic action.
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It has always been said that the state of Ohio is the "birthplace of aviation" (it also happens to the birthplace of your intrepid editor. Coincidence? I think not). Still, head some 40 minutes north of the state line and up into Michigan, and you'll hit a town that serves as the birthplace of the automotive industry.
It's Dearborn, MI, the international home of the Ford Motor Company and former location of Ford Airport, site of many firsts: first U.S. airport hotel, first concrete runway, first U.S. scheduled passenger service, first contracted airmail service, first radio control for a commercial flight and first U.S. passenger terminal. Though the airfield is no more, the planes that earned their wings on it are, somewhat miraculously, still flying.
Around 18 of the 199 Ford Tri-Motors originally produced still have the sun glinting off their corrugated metal wings, the wind through their three radial engines. And two of these 18 were present at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, offering rides for $80 per person this past weekend. You know we had to.
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Admit it. You'll ogle aircraft at any available opportunity. We understand. There is help out there for you...in the form of yet more airplane porn from our day at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012.
In addition to the slew of pro photos and slick video, we of course shot from the hip with an iPhone 4S, uploading to Instagram all the live-long day.
Understanding that not everyone has Instagram (get it & get it now!) and it can be trying to keep up with all images in a constantly flowing stream of visual candy, we've included most (but not all!) of our Oshkosh Instagrams from this past weekend. Check 'em out:
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Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Wittman Regional Airport has no regularly scheduled flights. And yet it manages to rack up over 90,000 landings every year. It has no impressive passenger terminal. And yet it counts visitors in the millions. What OSH does have, you see, is EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a massive aviation celebration that swamps the tiny town for one week every summer.
At 8am this past Saturday we landed right in the thick of things, arriving on one of Southwest Airlines' newest, shiniest Boeing 737-700s after a quickie flight up from Chicago-Midway International. Here we could type a slew of fawning adjectives to describe our day (not even a full day!) spent zipping from the expansive cockpits of military transports to reclining in the slim leather seats of private props, but luckily a simple worda word we maybe whispered and shouted a thousand times at OSHsums it up: awesome.