On a normal day Oshkosh usually lands a plane a minute. Last year during our mass arrival, they landed 75 Cessnas in about seven minutes. General Aviation used the E/W runway and the mass arrivals used the N/S runways, which allowed for normal operations during the mass arrivals of 125 Bonanzas, 75 Cessnas, numerous Moonies and Cherokees.
Bonanzas to Oshkosh is the longest going mass arrival group and paved the way for the rest of us. The Bonanza guys trained the Cessna guys who trained the Cherokee guys for formation arrivals. Moonies originally had a 2 line system going that was just an accident waiting to happen. In 2009 they were required to use the 3 element formation like the other groups use.
The origin of the Cessnas mass arrival traces back to a group of pilots, searching for a way to fly and spend time together. The ultimate goal was to share mutual passion for Cessna aircraft and have a good time camping together during the whole week of the EAA AirVenture.
The founding pilots determined the only sure way to accomplish these goals was or organize a mass arrival as it had been done by other pioneer groups like the Bonazas to Oshkosh and the Moonie Caravan.
They form a flight of 3-aircraft elements. The lead is always #1, left is #2, and the right is #3. They fly 2,500 feet between each element. The planes take off with the slower planes going first, and gaps before launching the faster planes, in order the have all the planes arrive at OSH at the same time.
After initial take off the 3 planes in the element join up in their formation, first about 6 wing spans apart and then moving in to about 4 wing spans apart.
The final type of formation near OSH is trail formation. Trail formation leaves 500 feet of spacing between aircraft and is used for final approach and landing. The lead (#1) of each element makes a radio call for the element to transition into trail formation. This is the only radio call made during the flight; the rest of the element coordination is by sight.
The most important part is safety which can not be overstated. Everyone needs to know the person next to them has had the proper training.
To make sure everyone has the same training there are clinics all over. The Bonanzas will be training at Centennial June 9-11th. Cessnas will be at FNL May 27th. The Moonies will be in St. Louis, Mo., and the Cherokees will be Jefferson City, Mo. There is the possibility to cross training with a different group if you can not make it to your appropriate training, with prior permission from both groups.
The Cherokees stage in Waupaca, northwest of Oshkosh. The Bonanzas stage at Rockford, Ill and will arrive 2 hours later. Cessnas stage in Jeneau, south of Oshkosh and come in at 2:30. The Moonies get in Sunday from Madison all by themselves.
Traditions in Oshkosh have developed over the years. The Bonanzas leave “adult lemonade” for the Cessnas. Cessnas share popcorn, candy, and movies with the Bonanzas in their hospitality tent. The Moonies fly a formation over Juneau in the morning before the Cessnas leave for OSH.
This year will be the 80th Anniversary of the Cubs. Five years ago they had 70 cubs show up. The whole south forty was yellow.
We look forward to seeing you at AirVenture this year.