Oshkosh AirVenture float base


Oshkosh AirVenture float base
(Oshkosh 5)

FTLComm - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Richard is a pilot for the National Park Service and lives and works in Alaska. I asked him to step into this image (top of page) because he is very much what the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture 2003 event at the Oshkosh float base is all about. Richard and other officials were there to see what is the newest in water based aircraft and the star of this year's show was the Russian Beriev Be-103.

To get to the float base we took a tractor pulled shuttle to the end of the line then boarded a school bus for the ten minute ride past farm fields to the edge of Lake Winnibego to the Oshkosh float base. The distant rumble of war birds was covered by the progress of the bus but the picture above shows the scene toward Wittman field as the days air show was in full progress.

It was another hot day and the ride in the bus was a pleasant rest for weary feet but it was a surprise with the bus pulled into a deep forest and a sign showed the way through the woods.

It was like walking through a deep jungle with aging trees and a chip covered walk way that obviously had already had thousands tread their way.

The float base is almost a fairy tale setting. A pair of wooded bays, a farm field to the East and two the North the endless reaches of water stretching toward a thundercloud filled horizon. Unlike the unbearable heat of the main centre of activities around the airport, the float base is an island of tranquility. The rattle of aircraft and motor boats moving aircraft into position but other than that it was the sound of softly spoken words and the stillness of the forest that surrounds the setting. It was are 5:30 when when arrived and supper was already

getting underway.

The Russia Beriev Be-103 which is the subject of the next story on Oshkosh AirVenture, was in the air crisply passing over head and then landing on the North bay and then taking off once more.

This $670,000 (US) amphibian is a beautiful flier landing like a very disciplined goose and taking off like a sleek duck.

But the setting with several hundred float and water planes as well as Ultra-lites was breath-taking.
I have merged two pictures (above) of the inner harbour and parking area for those of you who do not have a recently installed version of QuickTime. To see the 360º virtual reality panorama below if it does not appear download and install QuickTime, it is a simple and useful free upgrade to your computer.


Inside the cockpit of the Be-103 you can see the face of the design engineer who was with the team demonstrating the aircraft and telling its story to Richard and others who were fascinated by such a sophisticated and detailed aircraft that has no other competition This aircraft is a six place water or runway aircraft built to military specifications and standards.

There were a whole range of displays around the site for floats, home built water aircraft kits, accessories for flying off water and the hovercraft seen below.

A whole camp ground of people were tucked into the woods and beach area and the food

concession was serving a special meal as we made our way back down the forest path to the bus parking area.

But the Oshkosh experience is one of people. As we road back on the bus a fellow from Detroit told of his upcoming adventure as he had answered an add in Idaho to go out and be a part of a project to build seven aircraft at once. This was to be his opportunity to build his own airplane.

A young man on the bus told us of his experience of having been at the event for a full week earlier as he was a volunteer and his role was to assist in parking the thousands of aircraft that came in. He has just finished his flight training at the University of Minnesota.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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