Stephanie and I planned on flying into EAA AirVenture with the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group this year. We had already tied down her returning Grand Champion 172K Skyhawk at Oshkosh several days earlier and reserved a spot next to it for our Bonanza also. Unfortunately the weather did not smile on us for the Saturday B2OSH formation flight from Rockford. Instead five inches of new rain fell on the Oshkosh Airport. The Bonanzas to Oshkosh formation flight was scratched and it was now every man for himself getting to Oshkosh. By the following Monday AirVenture was accepting arrivals again and it was going to be busy!
We started from Madison only 60 miles south but during the short trip both runways at Oshkosh were closed twice, once for the Blue Angles. We chose to hold to the south rather than join the mob circling Green Lake in the hold. Thirty minutes later we decided to head up to Green Lake and enter the hold per the current instructions given from the ATC guys at Fisk. Fortunately we had ADS-B IN and we could see the mob circling Green Lake but Stephanie noticed an empty spot in the circuit and I maneuvered our Bonanza into it. While lots of people were getting sent around the Rush Lake hold at Fisk due to spacing problems we were cleared directly to runway 36R for landing! The situational awareness of ADS-B traffic was a big game changer for us this year. It helped us locate the gap in the mob circling Rush Lake and it helped us maintain the required spacing on the traffic in front of us.
It was a bittersweet event at our Bonanzas to Oshkosh event this year as we had lost two of our long-time members. Robert Mark died in an airplane accident in early June on his way to perform a missing man formation flight. We all knew Robert as he has been the MC at our big Sunday party for years.
Wayne Collins, our Bonanzas to Oshkosh founder passed away peacefully earlier this year. Wayne was 94 years old. Last July, at the age of 93, he flew a perfect Right Wing position in the lead element of Bonanzas to Oshkosh XXIX (29). Wayne lived a full and rich life and flew his Bonanza around the world twice. I feel privileged to have known him.