Friday, July 30, 2010
How does one begin to describe the largest aviation event in the world? If you've never been here words can't do it, and if you have been you, you already understand it!
This years' AirVenture has been different than others in recent memory because of the crazy weather. On Friday, 23 Jul Oshkosh received over 5 inches of rain. That turned much of the grounds into lakes and any aircraft that had not arrived before the rains were asked to wait and come in on Sunday. Many aircraft diverted to Fond-du-lac or Appleton airports with others going to the many smaller fields that surround Whitman Field. Other folks stopped enroute or didn't even leave their home bases.
The same fate was true of heavy campers and all mobile homes. Because of the soggy conditions, anyone arriving after Friday morning was not allowed into Camp Scholler. Because of that one saw all paved roads and almost every parking lot in the area filled with folks waiting for the OK to get set up in their normal spots.
This didn't slow MAF down from setting up our display, but it did affect the airplane we were to have on display. More about that in a bit.
The main theme of this year's AirVenture is "A Salute to Veterans" and one of the events is the celebration of the 75th year of the Douglas DC-3 (the military version is known as the C-47). MAF is celebrating its 65th year and to celebrate that we went back to our roots. The very first airplane used by MAF in mission service was a cabin class Waco, flown in Southern Mexico by our first pilot, Betty Greene.
As this type of plane is actually quite rare, we began a search for an owner who would be willing to "lend" us their plane to be on display at our tent. Due to the faithful efforts of Rob and Teena Ray, who attended various Waco club functions, Terry Chastain along with his daughter Terri, flew this beautifully restored Waco (see picture above) to Oshkosh and parked it at our site.
They had originally planned on arriving on Saturday but delayed a day due to the weather. They left on Sunday as we were told that "show" planes (ones on display on the vendor sites) would be allowed to land.
After getting close and trying to come in they were told they wouldn't be allowed in so detoured to a local airport. Finally on Monday they arrived and we got them parked on our site. The picture above is of Jack Erdman (an MAF Advocate) reading about the Waco from the banner we installed in front of the plane.
There's another story about the plane having to leave early, but you'll have to contact me directly to get those details!
We continue to be amazed at the people the Lord brings by the MAF tent. We have made many great contacts and had the chance to share our faith with a few as well!
And as always, the MASA folks have done a great job of feeding and housing us. We certainly couldn't be here without their help.
So THANKS to all who have helped make this year's AirVenture another wonderful success!
Until next time,