Osh Kosh B'Gosh
People sometimes marvel at seeing photos of me on social media, in multiple locations, all in the same week — “you sure get around!”, I’ve heard. It’s true, I do ‘get around’, thanks to my husband Bert, who is basically obsessed with wings and rotors! He has been a private pilot since 1985 when he first began lessons at the UC Berkeley Flying Club. Flying has been his passion, and joy, and Bert has logged thousands of hours in the air. He flies a helicopter, twin engine planes and a light twin engine jet — and is happiest, and truly at home, while in the cockpit. A bizarre concept to me. My dad always told me that pilots were ‘a different breed’, and he spent many hours with several of his best friends who flew…wondering - like me! - what the fascination was. "They can talk about flying and airplanes all day long with one another. Things none of us who are non-pilots can really relate to. It's just how they are Jane, you have to understand”, he would laughingly console me. I have finally, over time, and as an empty nester, learned to enjoy the perks! We don't fly in his plane everywhere we go- but it certainly makes it easier to visit more places! Bert had always dreamed of attending the largest airshow in the world, AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After his first experience several years ago he came home and told me he couldn't wait to bring me. Really? Well.... this year we were invited to go to Oshkosh with another pilot and his wife. They had reservations at the airport hotel for us, and an invitation to a special fundraising gala in a large airport hangar at the show. (This was my way to go, because most attendees fly in on their small planes and camp on what seems like miles of lawn surrounding the airport, which I didn't think was quite my scene.) So, last week the four of us hopped into Bert's little twin engine jet and flew to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for a few days of AirVenture.
Outcome: I loved it! I marveled at seeing all the little planes in expansive fields with tents under their wings. It was like an airplane city. I was thrilled to see my first nighttime air show, with a frighteningly spectacular reenactment of Pearl Harbor, complete with pyrotechnic bombs. That evening culminated with blinged-out, lighted airplanes performing aerobatics …followed by a fireworks show called one of the best in the Midwest. I was also captivated by the huge C-5 Air Force transport plane, and Bert surprised me with a private tour of the plane with a friends who actually flies it ! The last night of our trip we enjoyed one of the most beautiful and successful fundraisers I've ever attended, held in an amazing airplane hanger and museum. The evening was in support of 'The Young Eagles', whose mission is to inspire our youth to learn to fly and pursue the path of aviation. We met interesting pilots from all over the world and were thrilled to spend time with Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, the pilots who landed Flight 1549 safely on the Hudson River — and their lovely wives, Lorrie and Barbara.
This was an adventure I will always remember, and I was glad to be able to share time with my husband in the midst of something that truly brings him joy. He was like a kid in a candy store! I am grateful that Bert’s passion for aviation has brought us fabulous and unique opportunities and experiences, and AirVenture gave me a new appreciation for his love of flying. It is a sound reminder that our passions can always lead us to amazing new places!
Commanding the cockpit of the Airforce C-5!
Walking through the huge C-5 Transport cavity
Bert admiring the Icon A-5, a small seaplane that has wings which fold so it can easily fit on a trailer behind your car!
The Monstrous C-5
Enjoying the fundraising gala for 'The Young Eagles'