Finally! 5:15am we check the weather, and there’s a cell of thunderstorm activity to the south of us, and clear to the west- we’re goin in to Oshkosh! The plane is rolled out and on the taxiway by 7:15am, and we’re off the runway by 7:30, with a brisk wind from the west. With the three days of delay getting into Oshkosh for weather, we assume that everyone and their brother would be doing the same thing we are- trying to get in before the crowds.
But as we hit all of our check points at Ripon, the railroad tracks, Fisk and finally into the downwind at Oshkosh, we’re very suprised at the light traffic levels. There were two aircraft ahead of us in the pattern, and none behind. We rocked our wings a couple miles out and dove for the green dot when instructed, although there were no other aircraft on the runway when we came in, just about 7:55am. Chris landed just ahead of his ‘dot’, and groused about getting it right next time, but he did a great job as usual, planting the old girl onto the runway and making it stick.
02766 was parked adjacent to the Marine Corps Pacific Theater re-enactors area, with olive drab tents and jeeps parked everywhere. We had an easy time checking in, with the help of Warbird director Connie Bowlin- thanks Connie!
Tommy Rozga, son of Tom Rozga, arrived soon after with the bazooka crate stuffed into the back of his van. We hoisted it out and soon had the bazookas installed on the wing struts, much to the interest of passers-by.
Tom Sr. also showed up on Sunday, to get the lay of the land before his presentation on Monday morning. Annalise, daughter of Tomand Gloria, husband Allen, daughter Melissa, husband Steve, another Rozga daughter, Maryellen, and friend Mary, along with a grandson Jason and his wife also showed up on Sunday to check out 02766 before the big day.
We’d made arrangements with the Warbird headquarters that Tom Sr. and his wife Gloria could get a ride from the nearby Hilton Hotel, direct to the Warbird headquarters, so they wouldnt need to walk the 1/2 mile in from the parking lot. The Rozgas were planning to bring at least 50 family members and friends to hear Tom Sr. speak, so we were busy helping Tommy get parking passes, tickets, etc.
Jim Busha, editor of the EAA Warbird magazine and full-time police detective, interviewed Tom Sr. for an upcoming article in the Warbird magazine, while we made arrangements with the EAA photographer for a air-to-air photo shoot with 02766. Things were coming together!
The day passed quickly, there was much to do. But we had time to visit again with Sam Tabor, owner of Air-Tab Restorations (a great L-5 expert) and his wife Sheri, who had piloted their restored L-5 and Cub onto the field on Saturday.
By 7:00pm we all met for dinner at a local restaurant, and heard some more great family stories before heading to the hotel. By now I’m looking at another night of 4 hours of sleep, after updating the web blog. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz