Top Letters And Comments, June 11, 2021

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Oshkosh: Remember, We Haven’t Done This For Two Years

I’ve flown into Oshkosh several times–and flying a turboprop, most of them have been IFR. Even cancelling some distance out and proceeding VFR is not a good option–trying to mix it up with aircraft of far differing speed capabilities–won’t do THAT again!

IFR arrivals (IF you can get a slot) have their own issues. Usually, the approach is scheduled for runway 27 if possible–leaving the parallels to accommodate more arrivals. There is nothing quite like breaking out of an overcast and facing multiple VFR targets–even with in-cockpit traffic info, there are too many to keep track of–and it would require another set of eyes in the cockpit to keep track of them. Tower is no help–too busy to call traffic.

Perhaps the worst was breaking out at 600′ on short final, and catching a glimpse of a B-17 at 10 o’clock off the cross runway–dare not go lower, and not enough runway left to land on 27–can’t break into the tower frequency to declare the missed approach, so kept it low until able to contact tower. “We saw the conflict and the missed approach, maintain VFR if able and we will call your base for 27 again.”

IFR departures also a pain–lots of traffic if constrained by ceilings (again, need a second set of eyes!)–I always feel better when entering clouds–and even better when handed off to Center.

For those reasons, we’ve decided not to be “part of the problem” and instead, take the motor home to KOSH–we stay for a week anyway.

Jim Hanson

The craziest zoo I ever saw was in 2018 – it was the year where the weekend had lousy weather until Sunday afternoon, and everyone was trying to get in. It just happened that I had planned to depart on Sunday several weeks earlier, so I arrived at OSH just before closing time. This was obviously pre-pandemic, but everyone was certainly behaving as though they hadn’t done it in at least two years. The sky around Green Lake was a jumble of planes doing pretty much whatever they felt like, with a small handful actually trying to follow the NOTAM procedures without getting left in the dust. Supposedly changes were made for the following year to fix that, but I can’t go every year so I didn’t get a chance to find out. I was planning to go last year, but we all know what happened with that one.

If this year is no worse than 2018, then that would be a success in my book. I’m still not going, but that’s mainly because I have to make my go/no-go early in the year, and at the time it didn’t seem likely I would have been fully vaccinated by then. There’s always next year, and I suspect it will probably be the better year to go anyway.

Gary Baluha

Control Towers Don’t Do What You Think They Do

Wow! As a 38-year ATC kinda guy (63 years pilot), I say, “Good one!” You covered it! Oh, you did leave out the part about its ok for towers to let two airplanes to use the runway at the same time under certain conditions.

Hey, even as an ATC guy for my first 8 FAA ATC years, and having flown much longer, I too didn’t know VFR towers didn’t separate me in the air. I’d been a radar guy up until then. I transferred over to LGB tower in ’75, heyday of VA flight training. My first day in the tower I looked around at the patterns, airplanes up the, well you know. I told the controller I was watching, how in the hell do you keep them all separated, you must be having deals all day long. He said son, “we don’t separate airplanes in the pattern. That’s their problem. Hence, no deals”. I said, “Damn, I didn’t know that. I think I can do this.”

And so it was. With LGB usual 3 miles in fog and smog, I frequently found myself saying this. “Cessna 23 Zulu, report the green tank, three miles east, for a straight in runway two five right. Four more aircraft reported inbound to the tank.” And that was my sequencing and separation for those five airplanes. Nothing more I could really do for them. Somehow, it all worked because L.A. basin pilots had the “big flick” back then as to how it all did work. I will say that sometimes when they would report the green tank in 1, 2, 3 order, by the time I could actually see them on final, their sequence had changed to 3, 2, 1. Somehow, it all worked though.

Oh, during my years, a controller “deal” would first require the controller to be decertified and then spend three days in “the hall of shame” (classroom study for a new check ride recertification).

Roger Anderson

Poll: Are You Flying Your Airplane To AirVenture?

  • Been there and done that. No. Flying to AirVenture VFR is scary. Too many people who haven’t read the NOTAM or can’t follow instructions. Amateur hour. I would only fly in IFR.
  • I am really mulling this over a lot. I have not done anywhere near the flying I used to do because of the pandemic followed with the time it took to be fully vaccinated. This makes me leery of being in close proximity to other, likely to be in similar circumstances. I just attended a major car show in southern Illinois. More than expected attended making show participation chaotic combined with far less food vendor participation because of lack of manpower. I suspect Oshkosh will be dealing with similar issues. Flying for me at this point, is still up in the air.
  • Driving. Can’t carry enough creature comforts in the plane!
  • Attending by car Wednesday-Saturday.
  • Driving my pickup truck and leaving the Skyline in the hangar. Too old to sleep on the ground and air traffic is too intense.
  • Flying into Waukesha and then driving.
  • That depends on re-opening of the US/Canada border.
  • Going to AirVenture, but will not fly my plane due to weather risks.
  • Don’t fly to AirVenture, haul a camper.
  • Flying to GRB to avoid ATC slots.
  • I live here and just enjoy watching the arrivals.
  • Coming to AirVenture but coming commercial.
  • We still have a crazy and expensive hotel quarantine rule in Canada even if vaccinated. So unless that goes away it’s a no go situation.
  • Going commercial.
  • Drive and camp in Camp Scholler.
  • The last thing in the world I’d want to do is fly to OSH during the week of the show.
  • Not done building it yet, so no.
  • Jumpseat to ORD and then pick up a rental car.
  • Flying mass arrival with the Cherokees.
  • I’d love to, but age and health dictate otherwise. I’ve been to 6 of ’em starting in 1974.
  • Driving my camper van, staying at Scholler.
  • Still under lockdown in Canada.
  • Never again. Controllers were great but saw too many poor command actions by other pilots.
  • Flying but landing at Green Bay not Oshkosh.
  • Will be there in my camper as a volunteer.
  • European visitors currently banned from U.S.
  • Volunteering, there for 10 days – too long for the club plane.
  • Going but not flying.
  • I’ve flown in several times–we take the motor home as we are there all week.
  • There will be 100,000 people there, 50,000 who will not be vaccinated. I want nothing to do with that mess.
  • Flying to Stevens Point and will bus over.
  • No, but I’ll watch the fun on Flight Aware and the screen full of compliant aircraft.
  • If I still had an aircraft, I would in a heartbeat.
  • Probably taking the camper trailer instead this year.
  • Too far…
  • I would like to, but other issues will prevent that for this year.
  • Waiting for Canada to get less stupid so we can fly down from Alaska.
  • Driving to avoid the craziness.
  • Flying commercial.
  • I’m driving my truck full of camping gear.
  • Driving up via car or possibly RV.
  • I prefer open skies to crowds.

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