|The granddaddy of them all, Bonanzas 2 Oshkosh, marks 24 years of gathering at Oshkosh in 2013.
March 14, 2013 - The group that formally invented the concept of group arrivals to AirVenture Oshkosh is once again preparing for its annual migration to Wittman Regional Airport.
Bonanzas 2 Oshkosh (B2OSH) made its first flight in 1990 and has been flying together almost ever since. (During 2010's "Sloshkosh" pilots flew in as singles, not in a group.)
"We have about 30 registrations in now, which is about par for the course in mid-March," said Larry Gaines, who once again will assume the position of flight lead. "We expect 100 to 120 aircraft as in previous flights, with a scheduled arrival slot of 1 p.m., Saturday, July 27. Staging airport is again Rockford and the pizza party starts as soon as aircraft are tied down."
B2OSH will also again help the Mooney Caravan train its pilots for that group's annual group migration to Wittman during the several formation flight clinics taking place throughout the country in the coming months. Most of the regional formation flight clinics are scheduled and posted to the B2OSH website. Bonanza owners wishing to participate can register online as well.
"We are also going to have a combined Caravan/B2OSH clinic at Mojave, co-hosted by B2OSH's Stephen Blythe and the Mooney Caravan's Director of Training Dave Marten, active duty USAF, and an instructor at Edwards Air Force Base's Test Pilot School.
"I doubt there is a better training scenario anywhere in the world where a civilian pilot can learn how to fly in formation with other aircraft," Gaines asserted.
Regarding the flight clinics, Gaines said historically the focus has been on wingman training. "Over the past three years we have noted only one minor issue in the quality of wingman performance in the B2OSH flight, so this year we're going add more substantial element leader training," he said. This should produce better spacing between elements of three aircraft, producing more consistent spacing when landing.
Gaines said his wingman in the lead element will be B2OSH founder and flight lead Wayne Collins and his successor (Gaines' predecessor) Elliott Schiffman.
B2OSH has truly become a "can't miss" event for many families in the group, speaking to the tight bonds - family - created over the years, Gaines said. "We've witnessed each other's kids grow up, go to college, and, in one case, join the Air Force." He said. "The small kids currently in our group look forward to Oshkosh as much as mom and dad.
"I personally am honored to follow in the footsteps of Wayne and Elliott and I am quite proud of the awesome friendships and camaraderie our efforts have enabled and fostered."
And that is what Oshkosh is all about: great family fun, a reunion atmosphere, camping together, and enjoying the shared passion for all things aviation!