Day 2 on my trip to Oshkosh. I woke up to a peaceful, quiet morning. No breeze to be felt. The sun was absent through a deck of scattered cumulus that extended as far east as I could see. I went to the pilot's lounge to brush my teeth and drink some coffee while checking the weather for the next leg of the trip. The plan was to fly to Brookings, SD (KBKX) and the only thing really concerning with the flight would be the heat. It was forecast to be in the 90's which typically means one thing: rough air.
The tent takes up less space than the sleeping bag and pillow.
The wind at KBKX was 020@13 which was definitely favoring runway 35, however the temperature was 34° (93°F) so I opted for the much longer and wider runway 30. Besides, there were some other aircraft in the area already announcing their intentions for runway 30 and I didn't want to be that guy. The wind was slightly gusty and the runway was hot so the landing was a little tricky, but I got her settled on and taxied in for fuel. Upon shutdown and exiting, I'm body-slammed by the mid-day heat and quickly ask the lineman to top off the tank because I needed to get out of it. Inside the lounge, I immediately broke one of my own rules and downed an entire bottle of ice cold water. I typically don't drink anything until the final hour of a flight leg so I won't have to worry about nature calling mid-flight. I was so hot and my clothes were glued to me so I didn't care.
Total flight time for this leg: 3.3 hours
Total flight time for this trip: 9.6 hours
The final leg for the day was the worst. All was fine departing Brookings and heading east. It was clear blue skies for about 45 minutes and then the cumulus began to form. Nothing severe, but it was definitely happening and it was taking place to the north, south, and directly in front of me so there was no way around it. The next two hours were like trying to tame a rodeo bull. I flew about 1000' AGL because the cloud bases were around 2000' feet. Any closer to them and the air would be rougher. I had countless chances to corkscrew up through these nasty popcorn balls and I would have much prefered to cruise the calm air on top of them, but at the same time I was not willing to risk getting trapped on top of a solid layer. My very first cross country in the Tailwind involved a scary lesson with midwest afternoon summertime weather and I have relived it in my head many times over they years as it's an experience I will never forget.
I eventually arrive in Watertown, WI where I meet up with numerous other Tailwind owners. It's 82° and the humidity is thick. I step out of the plane and within 60 seconds I'm in a full-blown, dripping sweat. Keith Klos makes his way across the ramp and is the first to greet me. We make our way back to the FBO where a dozen or so Tailwind owners introduce themselves to me. I know most of them only through the keyboard via the Tailwind Group so it was kinda fun to now have faces to go with the names. The FBO (Wisconsin Aviation) opened their hangars to host dinner and drinks for all attendees (there was a large gathering of Stinson drivers as well), but not before they opened their locker room to allow some of us to take showers. I turned the water as cold as it could go and stood under that heavenly rainfall for at least ten minutes. After 7+ hours in the air, it was well deserved (and needed).
Following dinner, the Tailwind owners made their way to the ramp as a group to look at everyone's airplanes one-by-one and admire the unique features of each one as well as provide ideas and inspiration for those who were still in the planning or building phases of their projects. N11018 got instant compliments for it's polycarbonate doors which quickly turned into praise for the fabric at the empennage, specifically the transition area where the vertical stabilizer meets the fuselage. Most builders cover these areas with two distinct pieces of fabric. Since N11018 was covered in a facility that builds Super Cubs, it was done "Cub" style.
The way most do it.
The way Cubs do it.
I'm in disbelief that I didn't take more pictures, but this was the only picture I took on Day 1 at Watertown about 8:45pm.
Total flight time for this leg: 3.8 hours
Total flight time for this trip: 13.4 hours