As you may know, I do not spend the bulk of my time in an office, head down, fingers poised over the keys, waiting for inspiration to strike. Rather, I prefer to get out and do things. Actual experiences make for better imagining when writing time rolls around.
This week I’m off seeking those experiences. You might even call this an adventure, but that would be an incorrect term. I’m seeking a little AirVenture in my life this week. That’s why I’m headed for Cheese-ville, just north of the Harley-Davidson factory in Madison, where cows roam free and wind turbines line the bean fields. If you’re looking for me this week, you’ll have to book a trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. That’s where I’ll be hanging out.
AirVenture is the largest aviation-oriented gathering in North America. If you’re into aviation at all, this is a must-see event. You’ve got to go at least once in your life. Maybe twice. Or more. It’s that good.
Whether your particular penchant is for WWII era warbirds, classics, golden age dream machines, home-built experimental aircraft, ultralights, helicopters, seaplanes, or just the regular old run-of-the-mill Cessnas and Pipers you see flying overhead every day – AirVenture packs them in and runs them through the pattern for seven big days. You can’t see it all in one visit, but you can sure have a great time trying.
Of course it’s not all about sitting in the grass and watching. Aviation is not a passive undertaking. There are classes you can take, and workshops you can participate in. If you want to learn to weld, or stitch fabric onto a wing, wire an instrument panel, use your iPad more effectively (and safely), start a flying club, buy an aircraft, insure an aircraft, or pretty much anything else that has to do with flying some sort of machine into the ether – AirVenture has something for you.
There aren’t many events I would honestly say this about, but…AirVenture is pretty much indescribable. Sure, I can put words to what floats my boat, but that’s not necessarily what lights your fire. Aviation is personal. Some what to fly low and slow, some seek high and fast. Some want to carry a lot of weight and others want to go as bare-bones as they can. There is no wrong path to follow for those of us who have been bitten by the bug.
My regular column for General Aviation News has already been written and submitted. 863 Magazine has accepted my next piece, as well. I’ve got the decks cleared and my desk packed as I get ready to launch off into the great wilds of the American midwest, seeking nothing more than an AirVenture experience. I’ll renew some old friendships, stumble upon some new ones, and rub shoulders with some of the men and women who fascinate me so.
Whatever you do, don’t let life pass you by. Find your own AirVenture, whatever it may be, and embrace it like the fountain of youth that it most certainly is. For while we all have to age, we don’t all have to go willingly. Me? I intend to live every moment, whether it’s on the ground, in the sky, or skimming across the water. This world, these people, this opportunity to see and feel and experience what’s going on around us is too amazingly unique for us to pass it up. So go. Find your bliss and become a part of it.
If there’s anything to give five stars to and tag with the line, “Highly recommended,” it should be the life you live. So live it. Full bore, eyes front, with senses ablaze in wonder.
This is going to be something else.
Words to live every damn day by, if you ask me.