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July 25, 2005 at 5:21 pm

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I dropped Justin off at the airport on Sunday morning and he won’t be back until the end of the week. I’m home alone, in other words, and that does not bode well for gently weaning myself off World of Warcraft!

Justin’s in Wisconsin at the largest airshow/air fest in the world, . It’s so big, it’s really only referred to in one word — Oshkosh, or one syllable, Osh. It’s a 24-hour, multi-day airshow, international convention and festival all in one. It celebrates all things aviation, and draws in excess of 750,000 people from 70 nations. To visualize the size and scope of this event, consider one salient fact: During the air fest, a small airport in Wisconsin becomes the busiest airport and busiest airspace in the world! Forget DFW, LaGuardia or Hobby — this little airport dwarfs them all during the week Oshkosh is in town!

As many as 10,000 people fly to the air fest in their own aircraft, in addition to 2,500+ exhibitors and performers, thereby creating the world’s most challenging air traffic and

situation. Not surprisingly, the most experienced FAA flight controllers and ground controllers in the USA vie for positions as official Oshkosh ATC (Air Traffic Control) and ground control volunteers during the event.

And the procedures for landing so many aircraft will set your hair on end:

To handle the volume of aircraft arriving at Oshkosh, it’s actually required that pilots land on their assigned segment of runway because at any given moment three or more planes land simultaneously on the same runway! For example, a Cessna 172, a Mooney and a Champ might all be on final approach for the same runway. The Mooney might be instructed to land at the far end of

the runway, while the Cessna 172 behind it must land on the middle of the runway, and the Champ following it would be asked to land on the last third.

Hair raising? You bet. Fun? With practice, sure! Did Justin rent a plane and fly himself there to experience it first-hand? Hell no!

I’m a little bummed I’m not attending with Justin, but he quite litereally is working his ass off and will no doubt miss much of the attractions due to covering the event for

(GA News), a widely circulated aviation news magazine.

I’d like to join Justin when we’re both spectators and have the freedom to really absorb the event, rather than when one or both of us have a “to do” list a mile long of photos that need to be taken for each day’s coverage. It’s a terrific gig for him and I am immensely proud of him for the work he continues to do with GA News, but I know he’ll be running himself ragged this week.

Added @ 10:30 PM:

Justin just emailed me several photos from today.

He sounded excited and happy with the first day’s photos. He got to see the White Knight and Spaceship One – the privately-funded,

privately-developed high altitude space vehicles that won the “X-Prize” back in January.

When they first flew, it was televised live on CNN and other international news, so seeing that in person must be amazing!

When he’s back home, I’m sure he will post a small collection of his photos on his

website.

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